After my old phone almost packed up, I bought a new sony w995 in england. Then I realized there was no greek language support in it. No worries, I just need to install some language files and it should work, right? How hard could this be on a modern phone? Very hard as it turns out! It took a week of searching and cursing to finally do it. This is the story of this quest.
I didn't even want a sony phone. All I wanted was a small handy device, (no touchscreens please!), with wifi and GPS (maps) support, and I was considering the nokia 6710, with an open symbian OS that's easy to work with. Then some dim-wit shop assistant told me that the W995 could be extended too ("just like symbian" — not), so I added it to my list as a second option. My fate was sealed when I found the W995 in an irresistible half price offer somewhere in london and I bought it.
It wasn't long before I started cursing said shop assistant (why did I ever trust a good looking blonde? :). You see this may be 2010 but sony still makes proprietary closed operating system phones with next to no extensibility. They have some windows mobile phones but with fidgety touch screens which I wouldn't touch with a barge pole. Calls to sony customer support soon revealed that except for a limited range of Java ME tools I was stuck with whatever came with the phone: google maps, some games, a (good) camera and video and a media player.
The biggest problem with a java phone is that its filesystem is mostly hidden. You can't see the built-in programs, menus and language settings using either the internal file manager or the sony ericsson PC suite program that connects to the phone from the computer. But I took the challenge: I googled my way through shady forums and obscure tools written by uber-geeks (with matching attitude). There is way too much information in the forums, but it is always half-baked. The geeks despise phone newbies (that's me) and take pleasure laughing at their ignorance and offering partial information, leaving out the "obvious" details.
Teaching a new language to the W995
So how do you add a language to the phone? There is no official way to do it. The UK phone came with english, german, spanish and some other languages, but no greek. Google maps was useless searching the greek maps in english.
The most popular option reported was to debrand the phone, i.e. overwrite all the phone memory replacing it with files meant for another geographic area. If you want greek in the phone get the pack meant for ADRIATIC area. Debranding is also used to bypass (unlock) phone locks so that you can use your phone with any operator and SIM card. The operation is complex and overkill if you just want to add a new language. You need to know many phone details like CIDs and platform versions and you could even fry the phone turning it in an overpriced brick!
A simpler and more elegant solution would be to just add the language files necessary for the fonts and the T9 (predictive) text input. First in the google search results is this explanation, see if you can get your head around it :). It is a typical post found in the phone hacker forums, some guy genuinely trying to help but assuming too much that newbies don't know. In summary the procedure is:
It sounds simple but every step is fraught with difficulties. Do you know what is a brown or red certificate? Neither did I! Red phones are those you buy from the shop. Brown phones are used for developing and testing and allow more tweaking. Oddly red certificate phones cannot read out system files from the phone memory but allow writes to it. Changing from red to brown is possible but could cause problems with automatic updates. I discovered a tool that works around the write-only issue called cid53 file xtractor, which works even for "red" phones.
Each language is defined by two files, XX.lng and XX.t9 where XX is the language identifier (e.g. EL.LNG and EL.T9 for greek). Where do you get them from? The easiest way is to nick them off some friend's phone that already has them. Otherwise it's a bit hard. You must find your exact phone's platform and version numbers and google for the files used to completely flash the phone for some region. You need the FS file (e.g. mine is W995_R1GA031_FS_ADRIATIC_RED53.rar). Then use read3150 tool to extract the package and get the contents.
If you want to add the greek language, you're in luck, because I will give you the direct download link:
This will save you typing all these >*<<*<* to access the hidden phone menus!
Almost there: step by step
You now know all the ingredients and the original language conversion article will make much more sense! In summary: (abbreviations: CX=codeclaw xtractor, A2=A2 uploader
Congratulations! Now you either have a hosed $300 phone or are a proud member of the phone hackers crew <g>. Come to think of it, these guys that charge $50 to unlock your phone are highway robbers! Everybody can do it.
ps whoever is unlucky enough to have a java phone, here's a source of software and games downloads, some free. Download on your computer, pass the JAR file to the phone somehow, then run it to install the programs. I'm still looking for a decent mapping tool with stored maps (offline navigation); google maps requires an internet connection...
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