Saturday, January 26, 2008

Nokia 6555b: the pleasant surprise, and its iSync Plug-in

The euphoniously named Nokia 6555b was to be a brief engagement after my divorce from the Motorola RAZR.

Ahh the RAZR. A pretty thing, but beneath the smooth face a twisted psychopath with a borderline personality disorder. Mercifully the memories are fading.

The Nokia isn't angular and slim. It's a bit lumpy in the pocket frankly. And yet ...

It's warm. Comforting. Smart. Most everything has been well thought out. (Note to Nokia: The quick dial UI fails when two numbers for the same user are entered. You're missing an iconic indicator to distinguish the user-number relationship.)

And, rather to my surprise, I was able to easily sync the Address Book with my OS X Address book using the free Nokia 6555 iSync Plugin by Code Crazy (see [3] to obtain).

Even the Blackberry won't sync to the Mac using Bluetooth, though it DOES have a nice, standard, USB cable. I have to buy one of those $5 Motorola Micro-Mini USB adapters for the Nokia so I can travel without the charger. Yes, it will apparently charge from the micro-USB port. It even has a standard 2.5mm earset jack. A good alarm clock. Vibrate mode. Even some sample games for the kids.

You know, maybe I'll wait a bit on the iPhone. We've turned Emily's Blackberry Pearl into a proto-Android, and it works pretty well that way. So we have a data phone with Google Maps, Google Talk, Google Mail and some other odd Google things.

And ... EDGE on the BB, it turns out, is damned slow. The iPhone deserves better. I'll have to keep carrying my Tungsten E2 for a while anyway -- the iPhone doesn't do tasks or much of anything without a data connection.

The 6555b doesn't need an expensive data plan to be happy.

This could last until iPhone 2.0.

Or beyond. After all, GSM does facilitate polygamy ... [but see the March 2009 update! Evil.]

Update 2/4/08:
  • The phone continues to work well, but at times the battery has drained faster than expected. I'm going to turn off bluetooth and see what effect that has.
  • I installed an old 64MB memory card (2GB is $25, this was lying around) which enables mounting as a mass storage device via USB (below) on a Mac [1] (On a PC it's supposed to enable sync with Windows Media Player and to work with Nokia's desktop apps.).
  • I ordered the Motorola micro USB (EMU) to mini USB adapter ($3.50 + $6 shipping from an Amazon affiliate). I found with this cable that while the phone does not display a charging icon, it does indeed appear to charge when connected to a Mac. [2] This cable also supported USB mounting [1]. It did NOT, however, support iSync connection via a USB cable. So my iSync connection is Bluetooth only.
  • More on music and AAC support on this phone.
Update 2/18/2008: I really don't like the startup/shutdown fanfare; I've learned to palm the device to suppress them. Can't figure out a way to turn 'em off. There's more than a few things on the phone you can't do anything with, such as assign some useful function to the Push-To-Talk button AT&T promotes heavily.

Update 3/5/2008: From the comments: "To disable the startup jamboree, go to menu/settings/phone settings/startup tones and turn it off. easy!". A great tip. There's a similar setting on the same menu to disable the shutdown song. Now I don't have to smother the phone between my hands when I'm flying.

Update 4/24/2008: Contrary to my initial impressions, it doesn't charge via the USB port, at least when I use the Motorola adapter. I'm also finding more holes in the UI. Muting is pretty awkward, for example. It's also easy to end up in a UI state where you want to exit out to the primary phone screen, but there's no way to do that without closing the call (there's no universal "escape" button.) I continue to be annoyed by the hard-coded buttons designed for services I don't want, a sign that Sprint was too involved in the phone design.

Update 3/24/2009: There's a dirty little secret to all Nokia phones. They have a particularly evil approach to unlocking. I'm not buying Nokia again.

Update 4/15/09: I've made my copy of the Code Crazy iSync Nokia plug-in available. See [3], below.

[1] Settings:Connectivity:USB data cable:Date storage.
[2] In the past I've found that a Mac or PC won't power a USB device unless it has some device driver integration. It might be that installing a memory card, and then mounting via USB, is required to provide USB power. I have not yet tested with a USB charger.
[3] The Code Crazy domain is gone and the associated iSync Plug-In seems to have vanished. I've made my copy available, though of course if the author asks I'll remove it. A couple of people have tried this and it didn't work for them. I used it with a G5 iMac and 10.4, I no longer use it. It is probably not compatible with Intel machines and/or 10.5.


Anonymous said...

Hi. I like (I don't love) this phone.

To disable the startup jamboree, go to menu/settings/phone settings/startup tones and turn it off. easy!

I use windows, and sync with outlook. All my contacts and calendar with alarms sync up great!

My problem is that when I plug in the USB cable, the default connection is "music sync." I then manually change it to "usb calbe" sync, and it works great. I'd love the default to be the grown-up one, rather than the kiddie mp3 one. This is not a kid's phone anyway!


JGF said...

I have a Windows machine too, maybe I should play with Outlook sync. Great comments, I added the jamboree note to my original post.


Anonymous said...

I have had a lot of trouble with this device and music. One day it was recognizing the music files and working like a charm...Then today. Nothing I restored the phone and i formatted the memory card and dragged the music back onto it. but alas nothing, Someone anyone please help. I will check often!

Anonymous said...


I've tried to use your Plug-in with my 6555 - but it does not work i.e. my iMac 2,4 Intel Core, 10.5.4 does not recognize it via bluetooth ??? :-(

markzero said...

I don't suppose you have a saved copy of the plugin? Codecrazy's website is 404 :(

It's definitely a quirky interface. But I got a refurb for free with contract renewal. And my previous Moto had its own issues, too. :)

Tarver said...

Those UI gotchyas are driving me crazy, especially those UI states when I am doing something else, someone calls, and I can't do anything with the phone to escape the app or go to speaker. The phone keeps swallowing keypresses. When initiating a call, you have to wait until it connects (sometimes just rings, sometimes the other party has to pick up) before you can turn on the speaker phone. By then, the backlight has timed out -- since there seems to be no way to extend the timeout period beyond 15 seconds.

Ed Brannin said...

For the record, the iSync plugin linked in [3] worked for an initial sync (importing address book cards from the phone, at least -- there wasn't any calendar data) on my 10.5.6 Intel Macbook.

Anonymous said...


The iSync plug in worked for me except that everything was an hour off (early). Any suggestions?