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Samsung MM-A800 Surprises (And Disappoints)

Text Breaking And Entry: Biz-Card Scan And Beyond

The Sprint/Samsung PR fact sheet says:

Customers can use the embedded camera to capture an image of a business card with Biz-Card Scan. The MM-A800 by Samsung will then transfer the contact information directly into the internal contacts list.

I'd say they oversimplified that a bit. The reality is more like this, to quote the manual:

When the image is displayed, you must use your navigation key to scroll up or down to highlight the requested information and press *. A small icon indicating your choice will be displayed on-screen.

The requested information is:

Some cards are better laid out for scanning than others, and text and coloring make a difference, of course. Under optimal circumstances, the system works fairly well, but is still time-consuming. Retaking pictures and hand-highlighting each field in order from the beginning takes its toll. The first time I took a picture of a standard business card, I noted that the orientation of the scanning highlight that appeared was portrait. A Sprint expert told me that you have to keep the phone closed in order to photograph business cards in landscape mode. I didn't see a word about that rule in the rather sketchy manual section on Biz-Card Scans. Only the five fields listed above are available. I guess it wouldn't be worth the effort to put in fields you can't use from the phone. When you get the card data into your phone's contact list, you can't upload it to your computer, according to Sprint.

A better way to enter data - and the best feature of the MM-A800, in my opinion, is the VoiceMode speech-to-text dictation capability by VoiceSignal Technologies. It's a very good implementation. You may be especially eager to try the speech-to-text when you realize the standard Alpha mode of text entry has been replaced by odd methods such as Alpha(eZi), which tries to second guess you instead of behaving under the rules of text entry most phone users are used to. The disappointment is that it will cost you $5 a month if you want to use the separate Voice Command service to place phone calls.