VCF (SNS) to CSV to VCF (non-SNS): My nightmare moving contacts from webOS to Android

by admin on Aug 19th in Palm Pre, Troubleshooting

With webOS on its way out, I got my daughter a new Samsung Epic 4G.  It arrived two days ago and it seemed like a gorgeous phone.  However, the question was asked how she could get her contacts from the Palm Pre to the new Samsung.  Good Question.  Online I found a secret code (dial ##66623# on the Pre) that would create a vCard file of all her contacts on her Palm.  I then copied that file from her phone to the computer, then from the computer to the SD card for the Samsung.  I then imported all 591 contacts into her phone.  Needless to say, I felt quite proud of my accomplishment. 

Unfortunately, the pride (and success) was short-lived.  Apparently, the Samsung, while importing the contacts, treated them all as SNS (Social Networking Sites) contacts and therefore un-editable.  Not good.  My daughter’s gracious response was that she would just re-enter them…not acceptable in my mind!  So I hit the search engines to find what I could do.  Here’s the process I went through, so if you need to do this, you can get it done faster since I’ve done all the stupid stuff and figured out the actual process for you…

The vCard file that the Palm created was a single file with all the contacts in it.  This created an issue for many of the options listed on the web which dealt with vCard files that contained only a single contact.  However, here the steps:

  1. Convert the vcf file to csv.  There are several software packages as well as websites that will do this.  Watch out, since many of the ‘free download’ versions are just that–free to download but will only do 5 contacts unless you buy the full version!  I went with an on-line process that worked fine.
  2. Convert the csv file to vcf.  Sounds a bit recursive, but by doing this, the contacts lost the ‘SNS’ tag.  When I opened the original vcf file, I couldn’t determine what if any part of the record reported it as SNS…  Again, I used an on-line service to do this.
  3. [Author Update: When doing this for my next three phones, this step wasn’t necessary] For some odd reason, the resulting vcf file threw an error when it was being imported on the phone.  It showed that there were two odd ascii characters at the beginning of the file that wouldn’t allow it to import.  I then opened the vcf file in notepad, but saw no odd characters.  I then tried WordPad–still no odd characters.  For some reason, I then tried OpenOffice Write.  (assuming Word would work as well)  Sure enough, two odd characters at the start of the file.  Deleted them, resaved the file, re-imported, and all was good!

My daughter now has all 591 contacts (which are also editable) on her new phone, and I learned way more than I ever wanted to about vCard files…ahhh, the joys of technology integration!

I have now upgraded all the rest of our Palm Pre’s to the Samsung Epic 4G, using this process to do the transfer of the data.  While it is a sad day to be done with Palm (probably forever), the Samsung is a gorgeous phone.

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