New Shiny Gadget, 812SH

May 18, 2007 at 00:10 5 comments

Metallic blue 812SHYay, I finally caved in and bought a new japanese phone. I’ve been playing around with an old-ish prepaid one for a while now, but finally I have a 3G-enabled toy that can do all the fun things you kinda expect a new japanese phone to be able to. I ended up getting the Softbank 812SH (Pantone) produced by Sharp (in metallic blue), which I kinda liked. I ended up having to pay 23000 yen upfront for the phone and initial fee though, since I only went with the one year subscription, not two, of Softbank’s White Plan. I also bought a SD Micro card to be able to put stuff on the phone from my computer.

When I first started fiddling with it, I only had the provided japanese manual with abbreviated english information, so I had to search the web for info on supported formats for music and video. As I’m using Ubuntu I didn’t want to depend on using the utilities for windows on the supplied CD. As the phone wouldn’t play mp3s or any video-stuff i threw at it initally, a search revealed it should play AMR, MPEG-4 audio and 3GPP video. That led me to Tim Niemueller’s page, Convert Video to 3GPP, that detailed how I’d have to recompile ffmpeg to enable AMR-support. After some playing around I managed to use mencoder/mplayer/ffmpeg to encode some sample video clips that played nicely, and also using faac I could encode MPEG-4 audio files, well really AAC in an MP4 container. Today though I also found a complete english manual on Softbank’s site (yay, Softbank), that has some info on the supported formats. What I’ve been able to do so far is encode 176×144 pixel video clips using the modified ffmpeg, but I’m hoping to find a way to make 320×240 clips, and doing it without resorting to a custom built package.

Update: Using -vcodec mpeg4 when encoding with ffmpeg you can get around the size-restrictions, enabling 320×240-clips. I also increased the bitrate of the video 256 kbit/s, which gives pretty good video quality. Now I just need to check if recompiling ffmpeg with libfaac-support will let me me make 3GPP files with MPEG-4 video and AAC audio, which should be playable by the phone. I seem to be somewhat stuck by using AMR, as that seems to force me to resample the audio to 8000 Hz before encoding.

Update 2: I was able to add AAC-support to ffmpeg, but nope, so far I haven’t been able to play the videos with AAC audio on the phone, only videos with AMR at 8000 Hz… ack. It’s really annoying as this review seems to indicate it’s possible, but each time I try to play my AAC-spiced movie, it just complains “Cannot play.”

Another thing I haven’t been able to do yet is run Java-programs supplied on the SD card. I’m probably able to download and run stuff that you have to pay for, so I assume it’s a deliberate restriction to create a marked for Softbank to sell small utilities on their site. But if anyone reading this has a small hint on how to do this, please drop me a note.

I’m also stuck on having to use low quality AMR-files as ring tones. It can play AAC audio, but just not as a ring tone…


Entry filed under: Gadgets, Geek, Japan.

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5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Harald  |  May 18, 2007 at 05:51

    Does it let you call people?
    (You knew it was coming :P)

  • 2. sproing  |  May 18, 2007 at 08:17

    Actually I can call (and send mail to) other Softbank subscribers for free during the day. Too bad most of my friends use au/kddi.

  • 3. tet  |  May 25, 2007 at 19:25

    AFAIK you cannot run Java apps that are not download
    from the phone.
    You can find a lot of free apps here;

    And if you are a developer, they will lend you some
    disk space for free.

    Notes on development;

  • 4. sproing  |  May 25, 2007 at 20:11

    tet, thanks! that’s a lot of good stuff!

  • 5. none given  |  February 26, 2008 at 18:41

    Phone from hell … I have gone bald pulling my hair out over this one. The nice lady at the phone shop said it does AAC and works with iTunes but does it hell. Is there no one on 2ch that has hacked this thing yet, or no where on the internet that supplies hacking tools.

    I dual boot Ubuntu and Mac OS on a MacBook Pro and can I get anywhere with this phone? No. They appear to have locked us into shitty Windows apps that wont work with Wine either. The English phone support at Softbank sucks too. Polite as they are, it all added up to “we shafted you, ne?”.

    If I had know that alt.OSes were not supported … I would never bought the phone nor signed up for Softbank. Now I am tied in. Wine does not seem to handle Windows USB drivers …

    Yes, I find that drag and drop sounds dont work and I think it is deliberate. They want you to buy stuff off them. Next phone is going to be a Nokia with someone else …

    If you do find a hack, please post an undate. Thanks for the link to the Engrish manual. You give better support than Softbank do!

    Another honky lost in japan.


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