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Sat, 14 Nov 2009
Copy and Paste on the Motorola A1200 "Ming" Mobile Phone
This post is most particularly triggered by the fact that I have
*finally*, purely by accident and no thanks to the existing
documentation, figured out how to do copy&paste (not exactly a minor
feature on a "PDA" phone):
- to copy or cut you drag the stylus so as to highlight the text of
interest, and then without releasing pressure on the stylus, do a very
small circling motion. There will be a brief one second animation, then
a pop-up menu will appear, with the expected options.
- To paste, again do a little circling motion with the stylus at the
insertion point. And you will again be rewarded with an animation and a
After several weeks of use, some other thoughts.
- The big screen / stylus / QWERTY soft keyboard are wonderful for
- I would say, in general, the core functionality of phone / address
book / text message management are all excellent.
- The alarm works when the phone is turned off!
- There is a periodic unread message reminder, though it is just
a brief vibration and it is real easy to miss.
- When the battery dies, the phone shuts off silently, although it
does vibrate periodically near the end. Again, easy to miss that the
battery is on its last legs.
- Eats batteries. I have one standard battery that lasts much less
then 24 hours, another less then 48 hours.
- As I mentioned in my last post, the phone cannot charge an exhausted
battery. This is really lame.
- There are zero sound options, and the one ring tone is particularly
- Chinese input does do some prediction, but only one character at a
time. This may be a function of this being an old model of phone. (State
of the art Chinese input should be predicting multiple character words.)
posted at: 09:06 | path: /xHW/Motorola_A1200 | permanent link to this entry
Wed, 30 Sep 2009
Review of the Motorola A1200 PDA Mobile Phone aka. "Ming": So So
The Motorola A1200 is a Linux-based line of mobile phones targeted mainly at the Chinese market (the
only language options are English, Simplified Chinese, and Traditional Chinese). I chose this phone in
advance because it was Open Source (Linux-based) and looked like it would satisfy my main requirements: an
English system from which I could send and receive Chinese text messages, a touch-screen with handwriting
recognition to facilitate my Chinese studies, and the probable capability of installing my favorite Linux
I ended up buying an older, original model really cheap for 600 RMB (just under US$100) as the latest
models, the A1200e and the A1210 were being quoted at 1600-1800+ RMB.
A bad first impression:
- I tested the phone briefly in the shop, then took it home and plugged it in to charge while I played with
it. It died, irreversably, within minutes: would not restart, and made weird chirping noises while it was
supposed to be charging.
- I took it back to the shop, where they gave me another battery after running a quick test. I
took it home again. Same routine. Only by the next morning after "charging" all night the screen was flashing
on and off in a weird fashion. This time when I went back to the shop it gave them the red screen of death
with a message to effect that it was waiting to be "flashed". Really dead.
- This time they sent me home with a new phone (which they tested somewhat more extensively) and TWO
batteries. I took it home. Both batteries appeared to take the same quick jump off a cliff, and again I had a
- I then did some research. Apparently others have seen similar behavior, and were blaming it on an
inability of the handset to charge a badly drained batter. I found a little "Universal Travel Charger"
similar to this (same company) in a local shop for 15 RMB / US$2+, and charged my batteries with it. And
now the phone works (though I will need more time to assess just how bad the phone's built in charging
capability really is.....)
So far I quite like the phone itself, but the battery fiasco is really a little unbelievable coming from a
theoretically top-tier company like Motorola. I think most people would have given up on the phone already
and tried to exchange it for something else. I still might, if I keep finding problems.... So far this
evening I have found that my current Linux desktop cannot connect to the USB Mass Storage device on the
phone, meaning I cannot use USB to get files on and off the phone. That makes the phone's onboard camera
useless, and means I cannot install my dictionary.
So I guess I will go get a bluetooth card for my desktop and try to communicate with the phone that
posted at: 10:20 | path: /xHW/Motorola_A1200 | permanent link to this entry