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The necessary apps to solve most Thunderbolt issues

So the day I purchased my Thunderbolt (while still at the store) I noticed that I was unable to connect to the internet via the cellular network.  I had a very solid 3G connection -68 dBm at the store – I chalked it up to the possibility that the SIM card had not fully activated or maybe it was just the rush of new customers.  I drove home and connected to my gmail account via WiFi.

Unfortunately, this was much more than just a slow connection, this was a broken switch (according to Tech Support).  My first three hours actually trying to use the Thunderbolt were spent on the phone with Customer Care, then to a Thunderbolt “specialist.” The specialist very candidly explained that he was no specialist; he would do his best, but that was all he would offer.  Clearly there was a checklist of steps that should be taken when the phone won’t connect.  I had already done most of them so we progressed to doing remote testing of my device.  Long story short, after three hours, I was no closer to being able to use my Thunderbolt.

I wasn’t sure what could be done remotely, so I fired up my HTC Evo 4G and WiFi tether and connected the Thunderbolt to the Wimax connection and searched the Android Market for a possible solution.  Low and behold, I came across this app.  Restart Connections allowed me to access the system and any time the 3G/4G handover fails (fairly frequently for me – 5 times in a week) I just use Restart Connections.

Turning off 4G LTE: the easy way.  Elijah wrote an article how to turn off the 4G LTE radio two days ago.  *#*#4636#*#*  Accessing the TESTING menu on the Thunderbolt.  While certainly this method works, I knew there had to be an easier way.  I remembered that I used to have an application on my Nexus One to quickly access the networking options.  Here is the market link for you, the app is named Network.  If you scroll down to the drop down menu below you will see the following options:

  • CDMA auto (PRL)
  • CDMA only
  • EvDo only
  • CDMA+LTE/EvDo auto
  • LTE mode

Read more after the break

To disable your 4G radio choose the top option – CDMA auto (PRL).  In theory your battery life should increase a good amount.  Even if you happen to be within an LTE footprint it will still benefit you to turn it off.

How about text input, specifically the keyboard of choice for many of us, Swype?  Can you use your beta account to install Swype on the Thunderbolt?  Absolutely.  I have found there are a few more issues than I would like currently.  Every fifth time I use Swype I am unable to actually swipe my fingers around the screen to type.

The solution is a simple one.  Choose to use another input method, when that loads up choose input method again and restart Swype.  It will work like it should.  I have also noticed that Swype is actually not nearly as accurate on the TB as it is with my Evo.  I’m guessing it is due to not being officially supported yet.

Last but not least –

One of the benefits of having a front facing camera is the ability to do video chats/conferencing.  I thought I would just download Qik and be able to use the nice front cam.  Well, Qik is in the market, but not with support for video chatting.  Sprint has their own version for the Evo 4G and TMobile has a version for the MyTouch 4G and Nexus S (I might be wrong on this).  I attempted to use the Evo version since I have an Evo 4G.  It didn’t work.  I have a good friend who owns a Nexus S, he grabbed his version from that and sent it to me.  I installed it with little hope that it would work.  It does work, mostly.

Did I miss any apps that you feel should be included?  You can find me on twitter as @cynikaloptimist

Image courtesy of Kinetic Carnival