Sunday, August 14, 2011

Install Android 2.3.3 with root on Bell/SaskTel Galaxy S Vibrant GT-I9000M

I just spent a few hours trolling through a ton of information to upgrade to and root Android 2.3.3 on Bell/SaskTel Galaxy S Vibrant (GT-I9000M). Here's the rough order I did things. Hopefully this helps another user out there.

  1. If currently rooted and NOT running Android 2.3.3, un-root. 
  2. Connect phone to Samsung Kies and acquire latest update for phone. Wait, reboot, etc. You should now be running "stock" Android 2.3.3 with baseband version I9000UGKG3. You aren't rooted. If you don't have the 2.3.3 upgrade waiting for you, you need to spoof your phone's country ID - search for "Kies registry patcher" to fix this. 
  3. Go read this guy's post on xda-developers. Download the two files - the rooted KG3 kernel and Odin 1.82. 
  4. Turn off your phone. When it's off, press the up/down volume buttons at the same time (press in the middle of the button) and press the power button. If you see the little Android construction guy, you're in download/recovery mode. 
  5. Fire up Odin, follow the instructions in the xda-developers post. When you reboot, you should be running a rooted version of Android 2.3.3. 
Bonus instructions: Get latest version of Swype (if you like Swype. If not, you may want to try Swift Key). 
  1. Sign up for the Swype beta at
  2. Uninstall Swype completely using these instructions or use Titanium Backup to back up Swype then remove it in the "batch remove" section. 
  3. Re-download and install Swype using the instructions in the email Swype will send you. 
  4. (note: re-installing Swype will delete your custom words dictionary, it will have to re-learn all of your custom words).
As of today I'm rooted, running 2.3.3 KG3, with the latest version of Swype Beta installed. The one thing I still have to figure out is how to apply a lag fix, which might mean replacing the kernel.. but I am really not sure. 

This is not a complete set of instructions.. but hopefully it is a useful starting point for someone out there! 

Edit: Currently I can access download mode by holding down+menu+power at startup, and recovery mode by pressing up+down+power at startup.

Edit Oct 16/2011: If your phone doesn't appear to be rooted after running the above instructions, try searching in the market for the "Superuser" and "Busybox Installer" apps, run the Busybox Installer, and reboot. 


  1. Are you a swype fan? I've seen demos but I wasn't sure if people actually used it in everyday situations (plus I don't have any Android devices to play with it)

  2. @Derek - I love Swype. The version that shipped on the first batch of Galaxy S Vibrants was really frustrating, though. If you root & forcibly remove Swype, you can sign up for the Swype beta and get the latest version. It's awesome.

    Keyboards on Android are highly preferential, though. SwiftKey has a TON of fans, but I tried using it and found it incredibly tedious and slow (after becoming a very fast Swyper). I'm not saying SwiftKey is bad - it's awesome - but I am really glad Android users have a choice of keyboards, and I prefer Swype.

    tl;dr Try every keyboard once and find the one that works for you.

  3. I followed the procedure, install the kg3root.tar using odin 1.82, rebooted the phone, and it works OK (the phone that is)...

    But, when I then try the process of installing the it complains that the checksum is for the file is no good.

    So, I'm questioning if the phone is actually rooted or not.

    What am I missing here?

  4. Tried everything, followed the instructions step by step, multiple times. Did not root phone. Anybody else have this problem?

  5. Hi guys, looks like this isn't a full root. I don't have r/w permissions on a few key directories. Don't have the time to hunt for a fix.. sorry!

  6. Hey guys,
    My computer recognizes my phone when its turned on, but when I put it into download mode neither odin nor my pc will recignize it. Is this a driver issue or something different?

  7. I ran into one bit of pain that stumped me for a bit - you need to ensure you have the Kies SW installed on your PC, and NOT be in USB debugging mode. Otherwise Odin doesn't seem to find the device during download mode.

    Other than that (my own fault), great instructions, thanks!

  8. Wendell - Sounds like you're having issues like I am with the 3e version of the recovery bootloader (look for the 3e at the top of the screen). It checks for file validity. You either need a hacked 3e or downgrade to a 2e version. I'm still figuring that process out myself (sorry) - I'm in the same boat.

  9. Hi Brahm,
    not only the swype beta is much better, but dictation mode works pretty well too.
    thanks for your suggestions!