Yesterday I wasted half a day trying to figure out why my brand new Samsung Galaxy Portal (called a Spica in the rest of Europe or the GT-I5700 for the geeks) phone would not connect to the software provided with it called New PC Studio. It turns out that for the software to detect the device as being a phone you need to go (in Android) into Settings / Applications / Development and enable USB Debugging. Hardly intuitive. Even with the software recognising the phone, most of the basic functionality is not supported - I'm talking little things like syncing contacts and uploading or downloading media such as photos. The only thing that is supported is "Update Device".
This is actually important since the phone runs Android 1.5 but an upgrade to 2.1 is promised soon. Unfortunately when you check for the update it is more disappointment!
If you do want to transfer content then it can be done. Once you have connected the phone via USB you will see a device called "UMS Composite (F:)". This is actually the micro SD card inserted into the phone. If you try and open it you get this error.
However, the rather geeky solution to this is that when the phone is connected a USB logo will appear in the upper status bar on the phone. If you drag this down you will see a notification that "USB Connected". Clicking this message will result in the following message "You have connected your phone to your computer via USB. Select "Mount" if you want to copy files between your computer and the phones SD card".
Mounting disks is something I associate with 80's computer rooms - not connecting to mobile phones. What I find particularly disappointing is that none of the help I needed to trouble shoot all these issues came from Samsung. There was no notice in the packaging that the supplied software was incompatible with the device and nothing helpful on their web site.
This is a real shame because the phone itself is very good especially for the price - free with a £20 quid contract. Having already got an iPod Touch I was not interested in an iPhone and I already have a Blackberry for business purposes and whilst I have no doubt that the Nexus One will be superior it's not $529 better so this mid range Android phone is perfect for my personal needs. I just wish that Samsung had treated it's customers with some respect and documented the limitations and workarounds so that the experience of purchasing this lovely little phone would not be spoilt