After owning a Sony Ericsson K850i for 18 months (and under contract until June 2012), I thought it was time to get my contacts in order. Finding a seamless method to keep the phone, iPod Touch, and Hotmail contacts all synchronized wasn’t easy. My main stumbling block was me being a stickler for a non-Gmail email address I’ve been using since 1997, but a solution must exist.

I had to install the Sony Ericsson PC Suite which promptly gave the message:

Reading mobile phone’s contacts failed.

Few relevant Google results match my problem other than this post on sepcsuite.exe. It claims you need to install drivers (which the PC Suite does.) The error message is nowhere in Ericsson’s support pages.

A year ago, I disabled phone modem-related drivers because every USB recharge caused five “new hardware installed” notifications. Every time. So I re-enabled those in Device Manager and also reinstalled the PC Suite before my phone becomes recognized for syncing.

Google Sync supports over-the-air Gmail contacts but I don’t have a data plan so I’m not touching that given per-kilobyte pricing in Canada. Syncing by USB, Thunderbird isn’t an option; only MS Outlook. So my solution was to download a Hotmail .csv, import into MS Outlook Express (like I’d pay for MS Office), then use the PC Suite for the final sync.

Problem is I still had contacts on my SIM the software can’t remove. The Sony Ericsson K850i has no method on the phone itself to batch delete contacts from a SIM. I had to do that one-by-one or else there were redundant contacts for most people. Sony Ericsson’s OS has latency issues, so it was unbelievably laggy on 165 contacts. I’d wait half a second between deletes for the contacts list to (twice) refresh. Then PC Suite offered no option to only sync contacts with (mobile, work, or home) phone numbers. I had to manually remove entries under the software’s Contacts tab which has a phone number table in view. So in the end, I found no elegant solution to sync contacts.

For the iPod, I just had to import the Hotmail .csv into Gmail, then sync in iTunes with one click. The final result is a series of steps I don’t want to attempt again:

USB synchronize Sony Ericsson K850i