Time has passed on the old Samsung Galaxy S, but even so, the device still has its loyal fan base that we dare say is still bigger than that of some of more recent Android smartphones. Even though the original Galaxy S i9000 has been launched more than two years ago, Samsung was keen to gain the most out of its success, and decided to launch a later version simply named Galaxy SL i9003. The small change in number has been reflected as an even smaller change in the hardware, if you are to believe that a change of the screen is no big deal. The L in the SL name came from the replacement of the AMOLED screen with one of the more common LCD models out there.

Fortunately for us, the rest of the hardware found inside the Samsung Galaxy SL i9003 is still the same as the one found on the original Galaxy S, and this means that the custom ROM’s and even the official ones should not differ too much between the models. Although this is good from a software point of view, Samsung obviously left the SL device trailing behind the original model, as it is only now getting the official Android 2.3.6 Gingerbread update. As always with these official updates, their roll out is being made gradually, from one end of the world to the other, and this might mean that some users will get the update way before others.

The goal of this present article is to provide you with an easy, fast and secure way of updating your Samsung Galaxy SL i9003 to the latest official Android 2.3.6 Gingerbread firmware manually, without having to rely on the availability of the OTA version. This particular firmware from Samsung bears the XXLE4 codename and comes with a lot of new stuff, including some that has been seen only on the Galaxy S II and S III up to now.

There is one more thing we need to discuss before heading to the actual guide, and this is the disclaimer notice: This software is not our creation so we must warn you that you cannot hold us responsible for any damage that might occur to your device by following the procedures in this guide. However, we will try to help you sort out any glitches or problems that might arise by following the steps in this guide to the extent our knowledge limits us. By going further into this guide you have accepted the risks and terms above. It is very important that you understand this little notice, as you will be the one that will actually apply the update to your device.

The XXLE4 Android 2.3.6 update comes in a form that can be flashed only through the Odin software, and this also makes it a good toll with which you can revert your device from a custom ROM to a stock one. That is right, if your Galaxy SL i9003 is running a custom ROM, applying this update will make it revert to the factory settings. This little trick can be seen a double edged blade, as some users might want to keep their root access, while others will gladly accept the official software. Fortunately for the first category, this firmware version has already been rooted, and it only takes a couple of steps to get back to your favorite apps after applying this update.

Now it is time to move to the first part of our guide, the one where we will discuss the methods you will use to preserve your personal data stored on your Galaxy SL i9003. Even though this is an official update, your personal data might still get wiped out during the updating procedure, and this requires some backing up prior to undertaking the procedure. Unfortunately, you will not be able to use the official Samsung KIES application to backup your personal data, as if the OTA update has not arrived in your area, the PC software will not recognize your device after it has been updated to the XXLE4 firmware. To this extent, we have gathered a couple of third party procedures and applications that will help you both backup and restore your data one the update has been successfully applied:

  • Text messages – We will back them up with the following application : SMS Backup & Restore
  • Phone Contacts –  You can simply synchronize them to your Gmail account or export them to the micro SD card as a .vcf file
  • Call Log – We will use the following application to backup your call log : Call Log Backup and Restore
  • Pictures, Music, Videos, and other files - Simply copy them to your microSD card.
  • Internet & MMS Settings – Write down all the settings from this path “Applications > Settings > Wireless and Network > Mobile Networks > Access Point Names”

These are all the procedures and apps you will ever need to backup all of your personal data from your Android device, regardless of its manufacturer, so please make sure you remember them for further reference.

Next up, it is time to discuss some critical requirements that both your Samsung Galaxy SL i9003 and your PC must meet before undergoing the updating procedure. These requirements, or rules if you want them this way, are in place to ensure that everything is ready as far as the software is concerned, and this in turn means minimizing the risks of this procedure. You can never be too careful with these software updates, as every a small line of poorly written code can bring chaos to your device. With this in mind we strongly advise you not to jump over any of the steps below:

Firstly, we will ask you to check if you indeed own a Galaxy SL i9003 and not the original model, as this update will not work on the latter.

  • The second requirements says that you must charge your Samsung Galaxy SL i9003 to a minimum of 60% or even to full battery capacity in order to prevent it from accidentally powering off during the procedure. Failure to do so might result in a bricked device and a lot of trouble on your head.
  • Make sure that you have the latest version of the Samsung KIES application installed on your PC, and that the drivers for your Galaxy SL i9003 are properly installed.
  • Please disable any antivirus or other security related software on both your Galaxy SL and your PC as these tools may block certain parts of the updating process from executing successfully.
  • Also make sure that the Samsung KIES mode is enabled from the following path: Settings -> Wireless and Networks -> USB Settings -> Samsung KIES. There should be a tick in the box next to it for it to be enabled.
  • The last requirement states that you must also ensure that the USB debugging option is enabled. You can find this particular option by following this path: Settings -> Applications -> Development -> USB debugging.

After successfully completing all the steps above, we can now safely move on to the last part of our guide. This last part is by far the most important one as it will cover the whole updating procedure from head to toe. We advise you not to skip any of the steps below and to double check before pressing any buttons, as a wrong setting may end up with dire consequences for your Samsung Galaxy SL i9003. With these things in mind let’s proceed to the step list:

  • In the first step, you will have to download two different software packages to your computer. The first one is the XXLE4 2.3.6 Gingerbread Firmware Package, and the second one is the Odin Package, which contains the application which we will be using to update your Galaxy SL. Make sure to save these files to an easily accessible location such as your Desktop folder.
  • In the second step you will have to extract the two packages downloaded at step one on your Desktop and open the Odin application found in the second package.
  • In step three, you will have to power off your Samsung Galaxy SL i9003 and restart it into Download mode. The easiest way to do so is to press and hold the Volume Up Button and the Home Button after which you will also have to press the Power Button. This combination of buttons should land your device into Download mode, and you will be able to tell if you are in the right place thanks to the big green triangle with a working droid inside it.
  • Next up, you must connect your Samsung Galaxy SL i9003 already in Download mode to your computer which is already running the Odin software we started at step two and wait a couple of seconds/minutes for the application to recognize your device. You can check whether Odin has successfully recognized your Galaxy SL by looking at the color of the ID: COM window. If it is yellow it is all in order but if it is not you will have to make sure that the following requirements have been satisfied:
  1. The USB drivers of your Samsung Galaxy SL have been properly installed on your PC.
  2. The Samsung KIES option from Settings -> Wireless & Network -> USB Settings has been selected. To do this you will have to restart your Galaxy SL in the normal way and then restart the last part of our article from step one.
  • In the following step you will have to press the PDA button in the Odin application and select the file named: I9003XXLE4_I9003XXLE4_I9003SERLE4_HOME.tar.md5. This file can be found in the first archive downloaded at step one. After doing so please take a look at the image below and made sure that your software looks exactly the same before proceeding any further:

[caption id="attachment_6202" align="aligncenter" width="396"]Odin Settings Odin Settings[/caption]

  • The last step you will need to undergo requires you only to press the Start button in the Odin application and wait a couple of minutes for the app to do its job and update your device. After the update is finished, you should be prompted with the usual language and location selection screen, and once you get there you can safely disconnect your Galaxy SL from the PC.

If the updating procedure fails, or if you get an error message during the actual update, you will have to make sure that all the latest versions of Samsung KIES and the proper rivers for your Samsung Galaxy SL i9003 have been installed on your PC, after which you will just have to restart the last part of our guide from step one.

If the update has finished without any incidents, you should now be the happy owner of a Samsung Galaxy SL i9003 running on the latest official firmware version dubbed as the XXLE4. All that you have left to do now is to enjoy your device, and discover what novelties this update brings. You might also want to consider that this will probably the last update your device will receive, and with this in mind you should carefully balance this against the ever evolving world of custom ROMs that already offer an Android 4.0 ICS alternative to this latest official firmware update.

Also if you have any more questions, feel free to ask us by using the button below:

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