After my earlier post about Syncing the a900 with OSX I have received hundreds of hits from people searching for information about syncing their new a900 with their Mac. It has bluetooth and looks like a Razr, so why not assume it will work like users want it to? Unfortunately, Sprint does not seem to make Mac users a priority. Luckily someone mentioned that there were some hoops that you could jump through to get an a900 to sync with the Mac AddressBook. I asked what hoops had to be jumped through and tonight I got the answer via email.
Sam Noble sent me the following email that includes instructions for how to sync AddressBook with an a900. It is more of an export than a sync, but we can take baby steps if it means we can get these phone working.
Since your web page comes up fairly quickly in certain searches for sync
compatibility between the a900 and a mac (whether you own this phone or
not), I thought you might be interested in the following technique for
transfering contacts to the phone via bluetooth:
1) Export vCard from address book in vcard 2.1 format (can be changed in
2) Split the vCard that AddressBook creates into one-vcard-per-contact
with some tool like vCard Splitter (google for it)
3) Make sure that you have paired your phone and your computer. I think
the key is to initiate this from within the phone.
3) Using Applications/Utilities/Bluetooth File Exchange — this program
opens up a file selection dialog by default. Select all the
(individual) vCards that you want to send to the phone, and click
Using this technique I’ve been able to (so far) transfer at least two
contacts at a time from addressbook into my phone via bluetooth and I have
read that others have transfered far more.
I don’t know how to read the phonebook or clear the phonebook via
In the event that none of this is news to you — do you, by chance, know
anything about reading the current phonebook or clearing the current
phonebook on this phone?
I’m also a software developer and if I can get ahold of enough technical
information to make it happen, I’m not above writing a Sync Services
conduit for the phone so that this is just a little easier.
I shot Sam an email letting him know that I don’t have any answers for him yet since I have not yet decided on a phone to buy (and my contract runs out in Feb). I got the following additional tidbits from Sam:
If you get any tips about remotely
reading entries from the phonebook (either via bluetooth or the usb
cable) I am very interested in hearing about them. Frankly, I hope that I
can leverage the traffic that your blog gets into enough info to write a
rudimentary sync app for this phone.
A couple of caveats: it may be necessary to use the phone to set the
bluetooth file exchange directory before this works. If so, I don’t think
it makes any difference what directory is set as the target. Also, the
bluetooth file exchange app can “browse” your phone and allow you to
upload data in the browsing mode — while it’s okay to use this to put
music on the phone, you can’t get it to import a vcard into the contact
list this way — you have to use the “select files and upload them” mode
which doesn’t seem to be explicit in the OS X app. I just drag the
multiple vcards onto the icon in the dock and the “right thing” seems to
Incidentally, somebody on one of the sprint users forums originally
figured out that you need to use vcard format 2.1 and that the vcards need
to be physically separate files for the phone to recognize them as
The phone also can’t be closed and it can’t be in any menu screen for this
to work properly.
And I suspect (but have no data to prove) that this same strategy works
for the A920 as well.
If you have any additional tips here leave a comment and maybe we can get this phone to sync. I imagine some of what Sam talks about could be scripted using AppleScript to make it a little easier. I don’t know that it will ever work completely with iSync, but it is worth a shot. I still think Sprint should do the right thing and provide SyncML support for the Samsung a900 (and future phones), but that doesn’t seem likely at this point.