Thomas (boggyb) wrote,

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Android FAIL

So I've been meaning to migrate from the Nokia 6210 Navigator to something that's actually supported these days, and the Gnu has given me his old Galaxy Nexus. Now while there's a collection of apps that I've been using and want to find replacements for, all I really need to be able to use it as a phone is to be able to transfer my contacts across to it. This ought to be easy as everything should support vCard these days, right?

I know better than to try sending the contacts via Bluetooth - last time I attempted that with an Android phone, you had to approve each and every single transfer. That said, that was a few years ago so maybe modern Android will be smarter. Let's have a go...

Nope, it's still unusable. I only had to approve the transfer once, but now I've got the contacts in whatever staging area Bluetooth uses I can only import them one-at-a-time. Which is stupid - the ten-year-old Ericsson T39m I had at university knew how to bulk import contacts over Bluetooth, so why doesn't modern Android?

Let's try the offline way instead...

Step 1: exporting the contacts from the Nokia is trivial. Fire up the PC client, wait until it's found the phone over Bluetooth, select all contacts, hit File, Export, and hey presto I now have a folder full of vCards. Simples! I could even do this entirely on the phone if I wanted.

Step 2: importing the contacts to the Nexus. Plug it in to the PC, drop the folder full of vCards somewhere, fire up the Contacts app on the phone, pick "Import from storage" in the menu, select "Import all vCard files"... and nothing happens. Well, that's not quite right, a "Cannot import vCard" message flashed up for all of a second or two.

Apparently the best way to handle a single bad file is to abort the entire process without telling the user which file was broken. Or giving them any way to skip the broken file and continue with the rest. And yes, I know it's only one (or possibly a few) files, because I can successfully import the contacts one-at-a-time. Presumably what I'm supposed to do is binary chop through the contacts until I find whichever file it doesn't like, which is tedious at best.

It never ceases to amaze me how rubbish modern smartphones are at actually being phones.

Edit: it looks like the import failed because one (just one) vCard contained a line like:


So basically if an email address in a single vCard has trailing whitespace (or possibly is encoded, because of course no-one would ever need to do that), Android's contacts app gives up completely. Sigh.

Edit again: ...and the import has blatted any * or # digits in the numbers. Because of course those can't possibly be significant.
Tags: android, fail

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