I recently purchased a Samsung Chrono R261 cell phone from my local Cricket store. Believe it or not, this is the first cell phone I have ever owned. I was not interested in buying an expensive smartphone because I already have a laptop computer (an HP/Compaq Presario CQ62 running Windows 7) and I really enjoy using it. For awhile I was using Skype and could make phone calls whenever I had access to a WiFi signal. But sometimes you just don't want to carry a heavy laptop computer around. So I gave in...
I purchased the Chrono R261 for around $59. It was the second cheapest phone in the store! But the plan offered unlimited national calling and texting for $35 per month. I did not purchase any additional accessories or services. Same phone is available at Walmart for around $25.
The disadvantage of the cheap plan is that I could not email photos from the phone because that would required purchasing an extra data service. My intent was to transfer photos to my laptop and email them. Without a data plan, the alternative is to use a Bluetooth connection or USB data cable (or so I thought). I ordered a generic Mini USB 2.0 Bluetooth adapter and a cable on eBay. The Bluetooth adapter was only 99 cents including shipping. The cable cost me $2.35 including shipping.
Bluetooth is a wireless technology which allows many mobile electronic devices to communicate with each other. It uses short-range, low-power radio signals.
I first tried the cable, but I just didn't see any way to do file transfers. So next I tried the Bluetooth method. After a bit of struggle (remember that I am new to this) I managed to transfer photos both from the phone to the laptop and from the laptop to the phone. Here's how...
Discovering New Devices:
For the sake of the folks out there who still don't have a smartphone and would like to transfer photos without purchasing a data plan, here is the procedure:
1. Plug your Bluetooth adapter into the USB port and let your PC discover the device. This might require running Windows Update to locate the correct driver. When the device is installed you will see the standard Bluetooth icon in the status bar.
2. You can right click this icon to open the menu options. If you select Open Settings, then Hardware, you can see the manufacturer of your Bluetooth antenna. Mine was made by Cambridge Silicon Radio Ltd.
3. Next we will let the computer discover the phone as a new Bluetooth device. Right click the Bluetooth icon again for the menu. Select Add a Device. Windows 7 will immediately begin searching for a new device.
4. Turn on your Chrono phone, then select Menu then Tools/Utilities (it's the toolbox icon and you can select it by pressing "7" on the keypad). Then select Bluetooth, then Bluetooth Settings, then Discovery Mode. The phone will indicate that Discovery Mode will be enabled for one minute.
TIP: The next few steps are time-limited to one minute. If the link fails because of a time out, select Try Again on the computer and then put the phone into Discovery Mode again.
5. Check you Add a Device screen on the computer and you should see the device SCH-R261 Bluetooth Phone appear. Select the device and click on Next.
6. Now two things will happen: The phone will prompt you to accept the pairing and your computer will display a code. On the phone, select YES to accept and then enter the code into your phone using the keypad. At that point the computer will configure the device.
7. From your computer, verify that the phone device is recognized by selecting Start, Control Panel, then Devices and Printers. You should see the icons for the Buetooth adapter and the SCH-R261 phone.
8. From your phone, verify that the computer device is recognized by selecting Menu, Tools/Utilities, Bluetooth, then Registered List. You should now see your computer name in the list.
Transferring a photo from the PC to the phone:
Now that the two devices are paired, we should be able to transfer files back and forth. Let's transfer a photo to the phone to use as a wallpaper. We'll select a JPG image which is 240 x 320 pixels in dimension for best fit.
1. From the computer, right click the Bluetooth icon and select Send a file. This will open the Bluetooth File Transfer window. Click on the SCH-R261 phone icon and then click Next. Browse to the Windows folder which contains your JPG file. Select the file and then click on Open. From the Bluetooth File Transfer Window click Next.
2. The phone will ask if you want to connect to the computer. Select Yes. The file transfer should begin immediately and the progress bar on the computer should show that data is being transferred. Bluetooth is fairly slow so be patient and allow time for the file transfer to complete. If it fails for some reason, just repeat the steps and try again. When successful, the computer will display the File successfully transferred message on the screen.
3. From the phone, verify that the file has been received. JPG files will automatically be placed in My Images. Select Menu, Multimedia (press the "4" key), then My Images. You should see the uploaded image - finally! To make this image your wallpaper press Options, Set As, Main Wallpaper.
I have confirmed that the phone does indeed allow the upload of animated GIF files. GIF files can be viewed as animated files in My Images, but they are unsupported as Wallpaper images.
Transferring a photo from the phone to the PC:
Now we will transfer an image file from the phone to the PC. You will use this method if you have taken a picture with the phone camera and want to move it to your computer. Keep in mind, the reason we are doing this is that we don't want to purchase the Cricket data plan - which is what we would have to do to e-mail the photo directly from the phone.
1. First verify that your computer can be discovered by your phone. From your computer, right click on the Bluetooth icon, select Open Settings. Make sure that Allow Bluetooth devices to find this computer is checked. Click on OK.
2. From your phone, select Menu, Tools/Utilities, Bluetooth, Registered List, then Add a New Device. We have already enabled the computer to be discovered, so now just allow the phone will search for devices. It should find the computer and display it in the list. Select your PC device and then Pair. The phone will prompt you for a Passkey. Enter "0000" (four zeros) and press OK. The phone will display the Pairing with... message. Your computer will display A Bluetooth device is trying to connect message. Click on this and you will see the Add a device window. Enter the pairing code for the device: also "0000" then click on Next. You should now see This device has been successfully added to this computer.
3. From your phone, navigate to My Images again. Select the photo to transfer and then select Options, Send, Via Bluetooth, then Done. From the Choose Device menu, select your computer then OK. Select YES when prompted with Connect To...
4. The file transfer should begin immediately. Maximize the Bluetooth File Transfer window again and verify the progress. When finished, you should see the Save the received file prompt. Select the destination location and then click on Finish.
Once a pairing has been established you can send more files simply by repeating steps 3 and 4.
Is there an easier way?
Would using the cable make this process any easier? When I connect the phone and computer directly using the USB interface cable the computer will recognize the phone but will only see it as a mobile modem device with the name Samsung CDMA Technologies. Can I transfer photos using the cable? No! Sadly, the Chrono is not a smartphone! There is no way to open Chrono picture or app folders and browse them like you would with a USB flash memory stick or some other USB storage device. When you connect the phone as a mobile modem, you can use it to connect to the internet when there is no WiFi signal available. Again, that would require you to purchase a data plan through Cricket and it is also important that your carrier allows tethering without additional charges. Tethering just means you are using the phone for internet access.
So what's the easier way? Buy a smartphone instead! The Chrono is great as an inexpensive phone, but doing anything else with it is very tedious. The only reason I went through the effort was to learn more about my phone - and to gain an appreciation for smartphones (Android or Apple iPhone).
UPDATE (April 13, 2014)
I did my first transfer after upgrading my laptop PC to Windows 8.1. I am happy to report that Win 8.1 allows you to open an image folder and transfer files back and forth using Bluetooth wireless. This is a major improvement! You now have access to an IMAGES and SOUNDS folder. There are some other cool features. You can easily transfer new ringtones to your phone. You can now remotely connect to your phone via Bluetooth to initiate a call from the laptop instead of the phone. You can also backup your contacts and save them as a .pbo or .xls file on your computer. Will experiment with these new capabilities over then next few days and share here later.
Online Help from the Samsung Website:
Cricket: How Do I Pair My Cricket SCH-R261 (Chrono) Phone With A Bluetooth Device?
© 2013 PDXBuys
PDXBuys (author) from Oregon on October 29, 2015:
Sadly I had to turn this phone over to Cricket to get an upgrade. The Chrono R261 was not compatible with the new network. It was a great phone - rugged and simple. I will miss it!
PDXBuys (author) from Oregon on July 31, 2013:
Ok, the Chinese Bluetooth adapter I bought for 99 cents was a bad choice. I had connection problems from the start. What to do? I found an old HP printer Bluetooth USB antenna in a junk drawer. Yes, also made in China, but it's HP so it's better quality. I plugged it into my laptop USB port -- the computer instantly recognized it and installed the driver software. The laptop identified my Samsung phone and displayed a connection code which I entered into the phone. Voila! Worked perfectly - and I have a lightening fast Bluetooth connection.