The Motorola Razr needs an address book

by brian d foy

I finally got a Motorola Razr. I know I'm behind the times, but I was waiting until I wouldn't have to pay for the phone. Amazon had a deal (and has had in the past) where I pay for the phone then get that money back as a rebate after my second month of service. T-Mobile can now officially offer the phone, and since I've been happy with them I went with them again.

The Razr is replacing my Nokia 3650, an ex-sexy phone. People were drooling on it when I got it, but I never really grew to like it. It's a bulky candy bar design (remember when i said last year I liked the bulky design? Yeah, that lasted like two weeks). The Razr is everything I wanted last year: it's a flip phone, it has bluetooth, it works with iSync, and it has a caller-id/time window. This is the phone I was describing while I looking at the Nokia. I could use it with Verizon, but right now it's not to long after the Tour de France where Telekom T-Mobile got a place on the podium and T-Mobile hasn't really annoyed me in the past year. It's thinner and lighter (3.4 ounces to Nokia's 4.6 ounces). It charges with a regular USB cable, where the 3650 needed a weird booster thingy I never figured out. It came with a 312 area code, so people won't have to ask where 773 is.

It took me a while to start playing with the Razr though. I needed iSync 2.1 (included with Tiger, which I still needed to put on some computers) to sync over bluetooth. I updated one of my bluetooth-capable Powerbooks to Tiger. I needed to get all my address book data to it since I did a clean install. I set up a free 60-day trial of .Mac and sync from another computer to .Mac, then .Mac to my new Tiger machine. Once I had the Powerbook sorted, I paired (which Motorola calls "bonding") the Powerbook and Razr. No problems there. I sync-ed. No problems there. Everything looks like it just worked.

Things aren't so sexy once I opened the Razr to look at the address book. I should have known something was up when I saw Motorola called it the "phone book". In the phone book there was a single entry for every phone number. Not a single entry per person, but one for every one of their phone numbers. Some entries showed up on five different lines in the phone book. That's annoying (and I later fixed it by going into the Phonebook settings and changing the view to only show the primary contact. I can cycle through the numbers by right clicking the joy-wheel thing). Each entry has a little icon on the right hand side: a little house, mobile phone, or office building. That doesn't really help me that much since some entries have multiple numbers in any of those categories. Just which cell phone entry does this little icon represent?

The horror doesn't end there. iSync didn't send over any of the email addresses. What the heck's going on? Oh, and where are the postal addresses? Why is the list sorted by first name (because there is only a name field)? Why do I have to edit multiple records just to fix a person's name? Curiously, while I'm doing this I'm listening to David Pogue rant about bad user interfaces. I want to cry.

The Nokia address book is actually pretty good. I didn't always like it, but at least it could show me all my data. Indeed, last weekend a friend called me while he was filling out some paperwork, and I was able to scroll through my Nokia address book to give him phone number, addresses, zip codes, and all sorts of other things. The Nokia address book is good enough that I didn't have to carry a PDA with all that other stuff.

Okay, so the Motorola phone book sucks. No biggie. I'll just buy some Razr app that's good. I start googling around. Not only do I not find anything to buy, but I find very few people complaining about the sucky software. Even after I figured out it is "Razr" and not "Rzor", I didn't have much luck. Is it like lots of other consumer technology things where people just don't realize how bad they have it?

I'm not really a power user. I don't care to much about listening to music, doing fancy multimedia messaging, or playing games. I just want a useable address book. I'm sure to get that sorted, and then I'll be happy. All the other software can suck, but give me a decent address book.

83 Comments

cksample3
2005-08-12 18:48:32
similar experiences
I too had a 3650 (I used to maintain a website devoted to it; http://3650anda12inch.blogspot.com) and just recently went for the new black Razr. The address book is very annoying. I wonder if a Java alternative would be possible...


Anyway, for some reason it didn't click in my head that the charger for the Razr was USB, so thanks for writing this. As soon as I read "charge via USB" I smacked myself in the head and ran over and grabbed my PSP's USB cable. Thanks!

brocklee
2005-08-12 21:31:05
I told you that...
...you would have preferred the T610 to the 3650 back when you were in Iraq. But you didn't believe me! You said the phone would spend most of the time in some bag of yours, so the form factor wouldn't make a difference. Next time, listen to me! :)


Speaking of which, it's next time already! Perl is a mess of a language. Drop it for some something better.

brian_d_foy
2005-08-14 00:31:22
I told you that...
Yeah, I know. I know.


The form factor really wasn't the reason I bought the Razr. I wanted a Motorola flip phone. I still don't carry these things directly on my person which is why anyone who calls me usually gets my voice mail. :)


I looked through the Motorola Java SDKs today. It looks like I can make socket connections. There has to be some catch though. Surely someone is selling what I need somewhere. I just have to find them.

brian_d_foy
2005-08-14 00:34:14
similar experiences
How is it that I'm following you around (virtually)? I'm thinking about writing my own address book if I can't find anything else. Mine would be really simple though: a read only sort of thing since I never edit that stuff on the phone (yeah, how often have you heard that :)
benlast
2005-08-15 02:49:16
Making your own phone book...
...is non trivial. You'd need the programmable layer (that'd be Java, on the Razr) to support:
* a decent amount of storage for the data
* a way to sync that data
* a way to dial numbers and initiate calls
* a way to label incoming calls with the details of the caller, as looked up in the address book.


If all of those are available from a Java MIDlet (especially an unsigned one), you have a bunch of security holes... thus I suspect you're not going to find your replacement address book app. It's non-trivial to develop one for the Series 60 phones (like the 3650) where there's a decent Symbian operating system in place, and Java is way more restricted.


brian_d_foy
2005-08-15 10:10:46
Making your own phone book...
Storage isn't a big deal. I have plently of room to store pictures and videos. :)


Syncing data is just file transfer. It would be great if I could do it over iSync, but I know that's not going to happen.


The SDK has a way to initiate calls.


I don't care too much about marking incoming calls. The built-in phonebook will handle that.


None of that really matters in my case, because I probably won't have the free time to do it.

lOl
2005-08-19 11:41:03
ContactManager app
I don't know how good this $5.50 app is, but it seems to have basic "real" address (i.e., street address, etc.) book capability:


http://motorola.handango.com/entertainment/PlatformSoftwareDetail.jsp?siteId=522&jid=8C8XA4395CA255BC44F36A724691245A&carrierId=2&partnerId=61&javaDevice=V3&productType=2&productId=69388§ionId=4740&catalog=90


I agree with what you wrote in your blog - nice phone, but crappy interface, I was hoping to be able to transfer all my Palm Vx info (via USB) to this phone (after spending the $30 on the lackluster PhoneTools S/W that should be included with the phone IMHO - I'm stuck with Windoze).


I'd be willing to pay more than $5.50 for a "real" address book ...


lOl

lOl
2005-08-19 11:56:36
ContactManager app
... at least $5.55 !
brian_d_foy
2005-08-19 13:19:11
ContactManager app
This looks like it could do the trick! It's odd that I have to create an eWallet to get this. I could fund it for $5, $10, $20, and some higher value, so I acually ended up paying $10 for the app.


Apparently it doesn't have an Import feature and expects me to type all that info again. I'll have to poke around to see if I can figure out it's file format (it doesn't seem to be straight vCard since it has certain limitations).

lOl
2005-08-19 15:35:16
ContactManager app
Right, that was the major drawback in the feedback I saw on the HelloMoto/Handango site from other users ... all info has to be entered manually :(
strickm
2005-08-21 17:13:21
It seems I am not the only one
I bought a RAZR v3 BLK this week. I too was greatly disappointed with the interface and particularly the "phone" book. However, before receiving the phone I really wanted a smaller, easier to carry phone than my old Nokia 6340i.


I could never remember to lock the keyboard with my old phone. I must have used up a quarter of my minutes each month accidently calling people. So, I really liked the idea of a flip phone.


I too discovered the trick to making the "phone" book more palatable, but you are correct, it does not fully solve the problem.


I have downloaded an MP3 and exchanged graphics via BT File Exchange, but the newest issue that I have not seen many people talking is the lack of full support for the Mac OS X Address Book applications' BT features. When you set up the connection between your Mac and the RAZR, you'll notice that the "Use with Address Book" selection is grayed out. Hence, the RAZR does not support (from Mac OS X) the ability to send and receive phone calls and SMS messages from within the Address Book application. I am not sure why that is because I was able to perform the same steps with a demo version of BluePhoneElite.


Is Apple planning additional RAZR support enhancements?


I would be great if someone developed an "address" book application in Java for the v3 that would sync using iSync!


We'll here's to waiting another 2 years before I can try and buy a basic phone with good BT support and a decent "address" book. In the meantime, I wish someone would marry the Motorola hardward designers with the Nokia software engineers to produce the perfect blend of both hardward and software functionality. If we could only put together such a team!

strickm
2005-08-21 17:16:47
One more thing....
When you sync the RAZR with iSync and then read the iSync log, why is there no mention of how many additions, modifications and deletions of records the RAZR sends the Mac?
scutter
2005-08-29 18:01:37
Will this work?
I'm not sure if you want a brand new phone book on the phone or just a way to share the data so it's more useful. Here's an app that is compatible with the RAZR with a whole lot more than what you are asking for...


http://www.datapilot.com/mac_features.htm

larry_roth
2005-08-29 19:05:37
e-mail addresses via iSync
It took me a couple trys to get e-mail addresses over. I found a setting in iSync--simply click on the Razr icon, click the Options... button next to the Synchronize drop down, and make sure you check Synchronize Email addresses.


brian_d_foy
2005-08-30 01:42:12
Will this work?
Actually, DataPilot seems to only support the features that your handset already supports. It doesn't add anything new other than editing the phone numbers, which I can already do in Address Book.


DataPilot seems to be about pulling data from the phone, not making the phone handle stuff it wasn't designed to handle. I want a real address book, not simply a bunch of phone number.


RobertChin
2005-09-15 00:47:45
Showing only one entry per person in the address book
Go to the address book. Hit the middle button (the one that corresponds to the four vertical lines at the bottom of the screen). It will bring up a "Phonebook Menu". Select "Setup". Hit the center enter button. Go to "View" and change from "All Contacts" to "Primary Contacts". You can then designate which contact is the primary contact for each person. I believe this information could have also been had by RTFM.
wpostma416
2005-12-02 08:58:13
developing contact manager for RAZR V3?
I am thinking of writing a contact manager for my RAZR. I have done a bit of web-thumping and so far I have come up with the following details:


(1) The relevant J2ME SDK is easily downloadable from the MOTOCODER web-site.


(2) The first hitch is that I don't think I have any IDE that I can use. (I had jbuilder around somewhere, where did I put that?)


(3) According to their developer guide, the consumer phones, which is what I have, have the Java-download-via-usb-cable feature disabled. The only way to download is via a special WAP-enabled gateway server on the internet, which sounds painful. They say you have to contact MOTOCODER to get a handset with the java-download enabled, and you may have to order a different usb cable, or it might be the same usb data cable that one uses to sync your phone with phone-tools. I wish they had just allowed download of apps via bluetooth.


Anyways, if you're interested in doing this, maybe we can collaborate.


Regards,


Warren Postma

AWM
2005-12-22 06:07:49
Razr phonebook
I have one of these stylish, inept devices as well. I like that I can create my own MP3 ringer, but that's about it. I understand it needs a 3rd party driver to charge via USB. I have a Mac desktop and a PC laptop. I expected to be able to charge from the laptop when I bought it.


Aside from that, I have 600 or so contacts in my phone list. I am frustrated that it won't accept the second letter of a name to refine its search. I find myself having to press the down arrow button 20+ times for some of my entries. The lack of physical address infuriates me.


My Nokia 6610 crapped out on me, or I would return to using it. It misses some of the flash, but has MUCH better reception, better sounding speakerphone and a perfectly workable address book.


I'm intrigued by the new Samsung t608, but can't find any info about its address book on the web. I'm now cautious about this.


Anyone wanna buy a razr?

AWM
2005-12-22 06:10:40
Samsung t809
correction, Samsung t809 intrigues me..
anyone know about its user interface?
sostarob
2006-02-17 16:16:14
I will never buy Motorola phones again
Before my NOKIA 3650 I had a Motorola StarTec phone about 2-3 years ago, and I was very happy with it. I just replaced my NOKIA 3650 phone with the RARZ, and now I see the importance of a good phone/address book that can actually handle a real vCard format, which includes addresses, etc.


I was also very disappointed with that fact that Motorola is not including the software CD with the phone. I received the CD with my NOKIA and I did not have to pay $40 just like did with my Razr. (I finally bought the CD on E-bay for $10, because they do not deserve any money for it.)


I bought the software CD to the Razr, because I hoped that I might be able to synchronize my Outlook with the phone, although I might not be able to edit it which would be fine. It still not doing it, so what is the purpose of the software?


In summary, I still do not want to believe that the Razr's address book suck this much. It is a very cheap address book, and ones you had a NOKIA you will not want a phone like the Razr anymore, therefore I will return it.


Robert

AndieG in TX
2006-03-01 19:49:17
RE: Showing only one entry per person in the address book
Go to the address book. Hit the middle button (the one that corresponds to the four vertical lines at the bottom of the screen). It will bring up a "Phonebook Menu". Select "Setup". Hit the center enter button. Go to "View" and change from "All Contacts" to "Primary Contacts". You can then designate which contact is the primary contact for each person. I believe this information could have also been had by RTFM.


I did RTFM, but the book is very difficult to follow. I even downloaded the pdf from Motorola and did a search for address. I went through each page, but it doesn't really go into detail. I finally had to say "wow" when I changed the setting to primary contacts. Then I went to the contact and used the left arrow and the right arrow to scroll through the contact list.


By the way, when you are inputing the data, you have to sort of piggy back off the contact name, don't use NEW CONTACT for each phone entry of the person. It will create separate entries.


go into ADDRESS BOOK > click NEW ENTRY > click SELECT > Enter Name and Phone > choose TYPE of contact (home, work, mobile, etc) > scroll down to MORE > SELECT > ADD NEW phone number or e-mail address. Keep doing this until all the information is entered select DONE > you are put back into the address book.

Steve
2006-03-24 08:58:34
I totally agree with you dude...the address book on the razr pretty much sucks.
DazMan@yahoo.com
2006-03-31 11:16:57
Thanks for letting me know how to fix the phone book on the RAZR. That was a major problem for me. The RAZR would be a perfect phone for me if it had Nokia's contact management software on it. Plus would be nice if I could access EDGE on it. But alas I have my Nokia 6101 for that, it's a great phone, just no Bluetooth. . .
Klugey1
2006-04-01 23:26:31
I've been holding off from buying the RAZR simply because it doesn't seem to store Street address, State & Zip in the contacts. Has anyone figured this mess out yet?
Trent
2006-04-07 08:12:49
In regards to the t-mobile motorola razr phonebook menu view. Your post helped me to change the setting so each person had only one name and many phone numbers attached. I did it by Phonebook - phonebook menu - setup - view - primary contacts


thanks, Trent

Bukky
2006-04-13 13:28:24
I'm glad I found your site. 'Just spent 2 hours of my work time searching for a solution to this extremely annoying phonebook on this gadget. The manual that came with the book is just crap! Your hint was quite helpful. Thanks!


The Razr (was actually doing a search on 'razar' for about an hour) is a pretty cool phone, but I hate the ring tones provided and the phonebook is a MAJOR disappointment. -I guess the ringtones issues is because these phone companies are trying to make money off selling ringtones, but I just don't get how this phonebook application got to be implemented in a 2006 phone! It's a disgrace to the engineers who designed it.
That's all I have to say.

sco
2006-04-17 19:59:26
"I've been holding off from buying the RAZR simply because it doesn't seem to store Street address, State & Zip in the contacts. Has anyone figured this mess out yet?"


you need to "store to phone" instead of default "store to sim"



Earth
2006-04-18 14:58:31
One thing about the primary contacts "fix" to the phonebook, it doesn't work if your phone numbers are saved to your SIM card, at least it doesn't for me. I only get the "set primary" option for numbers stored to the phone.
D
2006-04-21 06:50:09
I just purchased the Razr and the phone book is terrible. I switched from the nokia 3600. If you find anything to fix the phone book keep us posted.
RB
2006-04-26 17:09:57
Here's another me too about the broken phone book. Hoping someone figures out how to fix Moto's brain damaged fubar.
Noy Hadar
2006-04-28 12:43:50
* Phonebook - I have to tackle this separately because most people think that you CANNOT have multiple numbers under one name. That simply isn't true. They are the type who don't care to read the manual it came with. On their defense like I said the menu system is bad that a simple feature as adding numerous numbers under one name is not evident. There are two steps you MUST do in order to refrain from the phone from displaying the same names multiple times in the address book.


Step 1: Under the Phonebook menu go to Phonebook Setup (find it!) and change the VIEW from All Contacts to Primary Contacts. This will refrain the phonebook from displaying the names multiple times.


Step 2: Under each names, make sure to assign a primary contact number so that this number is the one displayed when you view that name. If you want to scroll thru the list of numbers of, all you have to do is simply press the left and right keys (from the 4-way Navigation key...for those that don't read the manual it's that circle key with a center button).


Oh yeah, you can only assign multiple numbers to one name IF you save your contacts to the phone, not the SIM. And by doing this you expand the features by being able to assign photos, voice dialing and custom ringtones to EACH number (not just to each name).


SOURCE: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0006I2E1O/103-2883042-9683825?v=glance&n=301185

Nitin Kuchhal
2006-05-03 22:26:41
Hi,


What about the E-wallet application (like Safe in V3i)? Do you have any idea about where can i get a good simialr app for V3 ?


Thanks,

zipzow
2006-05-12 11:04:00
I'm glad to see others have the same complaint about the phone book. I went to the Cingular store to ask how to have multiple numbers to one name. The clerk said it was easy and then spent 20 minutes trying to figure out how to make it happen. In the end, they took my name and email and said they would research and send me a note. This was 3 weeks ago. I like almost all the other features except the contacts.
Simon
2006-05-16 19:43:34
I had the same problem as everyone with the phonebook on the V3. The solution that is listed on the forum works: phonebook menu - setup - view - primary contacts.


• However when I go to send an SMS message - each Contact with multiple numbers associated to it appear as separate listings again!!! I have to scroll for ever to find the contat I want to send an SMS too!
Please help.

t
2006-05-17 14:10:29
Don't forget, they also need to add an ability to sync with local time from the tower. I had an older motorola phone that did this (v500 I believe), why can't the great new razr? If you travel at all it gets annoying VERY quickly to have to manually reset to local time.
brian d foy
2006-05-17 14:28:59
I've never had a problem with my T*Mobile Razr and local-time syncing.
foxconn
2006-05-21 08:14:16
I'm having problems with my razr. For some reason some of my phone book entries don't show up. I think it might be cuase I stored some onto the sim card and for some reason it's not showing the sim card ones. I don't know right now.
ZackyZ
2006-06-03 09:48:55
Hey buddy, I too can't stand the Razr's "phone book"! I had this problem for over a year and cant' find an application to replace it. I particularly hate the fact that you can't search for a contact you have to scroll and scroll! It really SUCKS!
Ed
2006-06-03 17:08:58
Address Book
I purchased the razr also and the phone book takes some time to get use to. The only problem I have is all my contacts in outlook are listed at Full name ( first name then last name ) and filed as (last name, first name). When I trasfer then to the zazr v3. They all enter in as first name then last name. Do I need to change all my names in the Outlook Contacts or is there a way to reverse them on the telephone?
Ed@sektelcom.com
Barbara Clowers
2006-06-19 19:52:38
I bought 4 Razrs for my family (exchange tips, extra chargers). My kids like theirs but my grown daughter could not make the Data Pilot ($40) work with her Sony PC, ended up entering numbers manually. I have no problem using isync with the razr but I tried to limit what I transfer by using a directory called Razr. Than had limited success. I read on another site that entering the word Phone as the first work in the Note field will transfer only those entries. I haven't tried it but I will. I do read manuals and I cannot figure out what you can do with info stored in the sim card. I know the reason to store it there is so you can transfer it to another phone but if you can just sync the other phone why bother? Also, I thought the voice dialing was a big help for the lame phone book and problems are that you gotta say the name in 2 seconds and on my cingular phone I can only use 20 voice tags. Anybody else exceeded this limit?
Richard
2006-06-23 04:53:43
I just got a RAZR for 'free' with a small subscription fee (10 euro's / mo incl 45 minutes calling).


I must say I'm also very disappointed with its interface and capabilities. No adress book, no task list, no memo's, every phone number / email stored separately, incomplete calendar support. How hard can it be to do it right?


I'm sorry now I didn't opt for the more expensive T-Mobile MDA (QTek?) which can do everything. I'll go send a customer (dis)satisfaction report to them. Maybe they'll (re)boot the software development team.


Cheers,
Richard

Tony C
2006-07-16 21:20:14
Is there a number or email that one could use to bug those Moto people to redesign the address book? I had a siemens CT66 and the address book was perfect, I am very disappointed in the one on the SLVR.
wayneman
2006-08-01 13:40:13
The address book doesn't suck. The directions to use it suck. Here's what they don't tell you...


When you add a phone entry, you have to make sure that you select Store To Phone, no SIM. This allows you to select different Entry Types (i.e., work, home, main, mobile, fax, pager). After you finish entering the first number, cursor down to and select More to enter another number for the same person. Repeat as necessary. Enjoy!

Ask Bjørn Hansen
2006-08-12 23:30:21
Vani (the spouse-unit) gave up on her Razr and started using a Blackberry I had gotten but never figured out to use. Main complaint about the Razr (until the hardware fell apart, that is) was indeed the UNBELIEVABLY CRAPPY SOFTWARE. It's not just the phone book, but the whole UI seemed, at least to me, incredibly ugly and not-nice-to-use.


Sure, it was better than the Nextel branded Motorola phone I had ~5 years ago (to edit a phone book entry you had to go to "edit" and then press a number between 1 and 99, no searching - that sort of thing...), but come on...



- ask (happy Treo 650 user).


2006-08-18 06:55:25
After my Nokia 6200 died, I bought the SLVR, which has a similar interface at te Razr. I agree that the phone books needs help. The Nokia interface is much easier and simply works better. For example, the SLVR would not port over an entry from my Outlook that only had an address for someone (w/o any number). Since I use my "phone book" as my address book as well, this does not do me any good.


Also, does anyone know if there is a way to store notes for an entry? For example, I'd like to add my friend's children's names to her entry; or my bank account information the bank entry. (With my Nokia, it would sync that information from my Outlook contact entry. It was great - I had all the information I needed w/o carrying around a separate PDA or address book!)


I'm contemplating returning the SLVR for a Nokia...I've got 28 days left to think about it...

Janni
2006-08-23 07:56:16
I've just "down graded" from my bulky Treo 650 to the Razr, my old phone was just too much to carry around. I've downloaded AirSet (www.AirSet.com) to keep my calendar and contacts synced between Outlook on my laptop, Calendar/Contacts one the web as well as Calendar and Contacts on my phone. This has helped to limit the manual entry. The monthly price is around $7, but well worth it to be able to carry around my life on my Razr. The AirSet contacts can be synced with the phone contacts as well, but I'm running into a max limit of 50 on the phone, so I'm just living with all my contacts inside of the AirSet contact list. So far, I really like it, and you might want to give it a try.
virtuo
2006-08-24 15:47:04
Its nice to hear from people offering solutions for the phonebook problem. But still motorol phone software is a piece of junk. All my contacts from the old phone are in SIM. That was basic SAMSUNG model and it used to diaply pic for each type (home, mobile...etc.). And now i see one entry for each type. I dont want to neither reneter everything nor store contacts in phone instead of SIM. Being a software guy i really have no clue why it cant work with the numbers stored on SIM . And there is no Memos feature which really sucks. I can live with phonebook but not "no memos" . I would never use Motorola again !!!
fossie
2006-08-27 14:15:44
Wow, I know what you mean, I too just want a cell phone with a good phone book that I can use in place of my palm. It seems that the only option is to buy a palm/phone but the cost is like 400 buucks....oh well i guess if I demand something as complicated as a isyncing phonebook I am going to have to pay for it.
Bill Thorn
2006-08-31 05:51:22
Has anyone found software on the slvr, that can enter phone numbers via a computer?
Ravi
2006-09-01 18:08:21
How did you transfer the numbers from 3650 to the new phone ( I got a Samsung T509 and cannot do anything right to transfer). When using bluetooth, it does not carry over the home phone number