I’m in the USA quite regularly so it seemed sensible enough that I’d purchase an Android tablet that supported a local US data network. I had planned to cover a few Californian airshows so it made sense that I’d have reliable high speed wireless access to upload videos and audio to a few different websites.
I purchased the awesome Galaxy Tab at a Verizon store near South Coast Plaza in California about 5 weeks ago. They assured me that I would be able to activate the tablet locally but, obviously, the LTE modem would be useless. For that reason, they denied my request for a sim card saying that it wouldn’t be necessary.
Not having an Australian data-enabled device didn’t bother me at all. The very small amount of connectivity I require via a tablet (I still carry a laptop) could be accomplished by creating a portable hotspot via my Nexus’ generous 3G connection.
Needless to say, I got the tablet back to Australia and the welcome screen immediately called for a sim card. Bugger!
After five phone calls to the Verizon store over three weeks I had assurances from sales staff on each occasion that they would send me a sim card via express post. It didn’t happen.
Ken Pascoe happened to be in the area about three weeks after I’d made the purchase so he was kind enough to stop by the store and repeat my request. His little goatee must give him some sort of Jedi power because they gave him a sim card to pass onto me without requiring he make a purchase.
The above title should read “Activating a Verizon Galaxy Tab 10.1 LTE without connecting to the Verizon network”. The sim card didn’t help (the little activation message is a little misleading).
To cut a long story short, before the sim card made its way to Sydney in the post, I’d already departed back to LA. A quick trip to the Verizon store and they acknowledged that their ‘bloatware’ was poorly manufactured and required access to their network despite an outright off-the-shelf purchase. The sales clerk made about 30 attempts to activate the tablet before it sprung to life and activated the setup process (it wasn’t until I got back to Sydney I realised the reason it took so long is because he wasn’t following the correct steps). At the time, he claimed to be reading off the Verizon website… despite a reflection clearly revealing he was reading off a popular Android forum.
It turned out that my clueless sales clerk interrupted the setup process when he shut the tablet down. In doing so, and in combination with Verizon’s poor attempt at branding their machine, it introduced all sorts of errors. Solution? A factory reset.
It was clear that a fix for the Verizon setup issues was now known (I had spent virtually a full day searching and making phone calls a few weeks prior without success). A search of a Samsung help forum revealed the activation sequence.
In summary: the Galaxy 10.1 is awesome. Verizon is not.
After using the Galaxy, I’d be prepared to use my iPad 64GB 3G Wi-Fi tablet as a doorstep were it not required for a single application.
Activating a Galaxy Tab 10.1 without a sim card and without Verizon 4G access
Touch the top left corner, then top right corner, then bottom left (just above the android controls, and then bottom right (above the status tray) and last volume UP once. All five steps are done relatively quickly and in sequence. Your tablet will spring to life.
Thanks to Verizon, you’ll have a short message display every time you start the device asking you to install a sim card. They really can’t be blamed for this since the purchase of this particular product from their store suggests network-specific use. Their short sighted approach to a broader customer base, though, is appalling. It turned out my sim card was useful after all.