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Old 16th June, 2010, 02:43 PM
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Importing Contacts on Dell Streak without GMail

So, you've got yourself a nice new shiny Dell Streak to replace your existing four year old cell/mobile phone. For whatever reason, you don't want to use GMail to transfer your contacts onto your device, probably because your existing handset doesn't support it. You can't use Bluetooth to transfer them, as Android hasn't quite caught up with the rest of the world. You also don't want to spend all that time retyping those contacts into your new device. So, what can you do?

Well, if your existing handset supports the VCard format, you might just be able to transfer information that way. My old P990 was happy for me to select (mark) all contacts, and then send them as email. This gave me a vcf file that contained all my contacts. Other phones might have different ways to create a file.

You will need a few bits and pieces for this little soirée:
  • The Android SDK from Android SDK | Android Developers (Don't worry, you only need a little bit of it)
  • A file with the Vcard details in it
  • A useful app called "importContacts" from Android Import Contacts (It's the binary one at the bottom of the page)
  • A PC (I used Windows XP, so this will be XP centric)

Here's an overview of how we go about things:
1. Get a vcard format (.vcf) file from your phone
2. Download the importContacts binary file (ImportContacts-0.0.4.apk)
3. Download the Android SDK, and execute the binary file.
4. Install the importContacts file on the handset
5. Copy the vcf file across to the handset (onto the SD card)
6. Import the contacts!

As far as getting your contacts in vcf format, you're on your own with unfortunately. I don't know how your existing mobile/PDA might work. I'm also going to presume you can download files from the Internet.

Once you have downloaded the Android SDK, you need to execute it. When you do, it will open up and give you an error - how friendly. You will need to dismiss the error and the "Choose packages to install" dialog. You go to "Settings" and tick the box that says "Force https://... sources to be fetched using http://...". That will fix the error.

Go back to available packages, and make sure the "Usb Driver package, revision 3" is selected. You don't need the rest. Select "Install Selected" to get the drivers installed!

To get your Dell Streak ready for install, you will need to change a setting or two. Under "Settings -> Application Settings" is a tickbox marked "unknown sources" - this needs to be ticked. Also under the same screen is a "Development" option, which leads you to more tick boxes - we want to tick the "USB debugging" one. Once you've done this, you can connect the handset to the computer.

You'll need a command prompt window now (Start-> Run and then cmd.exe under XP). Change folders to where you unzipped the android SDK to. Inside that folder is a tools folder - this is where you need to be.

To install the "importContacts", you need to know where you downloaded the file to, and to run the "adb" program, something like:
Code:
adb install "c:\Documents and Settings\aidan\My Documents\Downloads\ImportContacts-0.0.4.apk"
This installs the importContacts program on the phone.

Next, you can copy the vcf file onto the SD card. I placed the file on the root of the removable drive that appears when you connect the phone in "transfer other media" mode.

Lastly, you can disconnect the USB cable, open the application menu and run the "Import Contacts" program. It will ask you to choose the file - I found you had to tap on the filename itself. Then you can select "Import", at which point it will import the contacts for you.

Sorted.
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Old 16th June, 2010, 06:36 PM
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They made it so easy! ":O}

Thank you Aedan
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Old 16th June, 2010, 08:25 PM
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I didn't know this device existed until you posted this. Seams to fit somewhere between iPad and iPhone.

I know I'm really loving both of my devices, particularly the iPad, how are you finding your new toy?

I'm finding the tablet lessens the frequency that I need the laptop. When I first got the laptop, it was sort of like that. I would use the laptop for light work, and use the desktop for heavy lifting. As the laptops improved in performance the heavy lifting the desktop did became very limited, until now its main use is SMP folding, and mass storage.

The tablet is sort of the same thing, it does the majority of the work, and leaves the heavy lifting to the laptop.

Is Nutter getting along with it?
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Old 17th June, 2010, 03:40 PM
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If only it were as easy as my last few phones to transfer contacts... Both Apple and Google have a fair way to go with interoperability in my view before they've caught up to where some vendors were five years ago.

The Dell Streak (né Mini 5) certainly seems to be an interesting device, in a generally positive sense of the word. There's a few things, as I've already alluded to, that have annoyed me. This includes the inability to import/export contacts in the standard VCard format without having to revert to third party functionality, as well as the lack of any form of encryption for sensitive files, and the frustrating use of a proprietary connector (Hey, sounds like Apple here).

I haven't looked into the dock for it yet, which offers power, USB and an HDMI output (720p). That could certainly be useful for those times in hotels.
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Old 20th June, 2010, 01:57 PM
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How are you finding the Streak?
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Old 20th June, 2010, 05:20 PM
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At a guess, I'd say by remembering where he last left it.....(ducks)...
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Old 21st June, 2010, 07:41 PM
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If that fails, it's usually in the last place you look...

( No wonder no one comes here anymore! ":O}
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Old 22nd June, 2010, 06:41 PM
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So far, it seems pretty good. I'm generally pleased with it, and it has performed well so far. The screen is nice, even in sunlight, which is a huge step forward over my last device. Battery life is in the order of a day and a half, dependant on how much it gets used and in what weird environments it may get used in. This is an issue when I'm in a location with a lot of test cells, as the battery life tends to drop a bit. That's probably not a consideration for 99.9% of the population though, as it's unlikely they're going to be in that position. It does fit in a pocket (jeans or suit), despite some people's comments.

Some people appear to have paired up a Bluetooth keyboard to it - that seems a little overkill though. Dell's accessories are also a bit expensive. The HDMI docking bay seems to be about £60, which stops me from buying it.

My wife thinks it's good, as she can use the barcode scanner or voice recognition to order the groceries through Ocado.

If I didn't have one, I would buy one based on the experience that I've had so far.
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Old 22nd June, 2010, 06:43 PM
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It scans barcodes? Is that just taking a picture and analyzing the image
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Old 23rd June, 2010, 06:30 PM
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Many of the newer barcode scanners actually take a picture; it's the most efficient way to process the 2D barcodes, and it also works very well for the linear barcodes.
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