last updated 2002/8/17

This page shows you how to set up English menus whilst retaining the kanji/kana recognition (and readable Japanese menus) on the Sharp SL-A300 released in Japan.

WARNING: no warranty is expressed or implied here. Proceed at your own risk! Consequences of following these actions may result in losing all your data and a system that will not boot correctly!


Special thanks to Ulrich Plate, Jerome Gotangco, Howard Abbey, Armin Rump, Erwan Loisant, Matt Faull and the ZOK mailing list for getting me through various phases of this task.


Download the packages you need

Download from

qpe-language (language support)

qpe-i18n-en (English support)

gpe-terminal (to get a bash shell)

Plus the small unicode font


Installing the Windows software

  • insert the CD that comes with the A300 and run cd://Syncsoft/setup.exe
  • I use English Windows OS so the dialogs were garbage. I just used the default on every page. Setup required a reboot.
    Comment from Erwan:
    It is possible to have japanese application working clean on an english
    Windows XP (should work with 2000 also).
    Go to "Control Panel", "Regional and Languages Options", "Advanced".
    In "Language for non-unicode program", select "Japanese". Result: your
    system will be a japanese windows with english menus. A best for any
    foreigner living in Japan, with difficulties in japanese !
    - your menu will be unchanged, unicode application will work, as well
    as all english applications.
    - the anti-slash will be changed to the yen symbol (not so big problem)
    - japanese application will work without garbage
  • Connect your A300 to the USB port of your computer. Turn the unit on. You should get a dialog like the following:

  • There should be an icon in your system tray for the A300 (). Right click on this an you'll get a menu:

  • Choose the Z option, this should open up a new Explorer window connected to the Samba share on the A300.


    Installing the required packages

  • Copy the packages you downloaded to the Install_Files directory on the A300:

  • Go to the Settings screen on your A300 and choose Add/Remove Software (screen one), install packages (screen two), select the packages and for each install to RAM (screen three):


  • Close all the windows and get back to the desktop (it'll take a little while to update).


    Setting up for English menus

  • Go to the new languages app in Settings and choose English. This will take a while as it restarts the Qtopia desktop.
  • Congratulations you now have English menus! Except we have a problem. Choose the Kanji/Kana input methods and you'll see we get square boxes for non ASCII characters:



    Enabling Japanese text

    This is the messy bit. If you don't know Unix you could get into trouble.

  • Open up your terminal application and
    bash-2.05# cd /home/QtPalmtop/lib/
    bash-2.05# mkdir fonts.good
    bash-2.05# cp fonts/* fonts.good/
    bash-2.05# cd fonts
    bash-2.05# cat fontdir | grep uni >
    bash-2.05# vi
    This will open up the vi editor. I hope you know what you're doing :-)

  • Use vi to copy the second line and edit so the file looks like:
    unifont unismall.bdf BDF n 50 100 u
    unifont unifont.bdf BDF n 50 160 u

  • Replace the old file with the new: and remove some fonts so the system is forced to use the unicode ones:
    bash-2.05# rm fontdir
    bash-2.05# mv fontdir
    bash-2.05# rm helv* fixed* sm*
  • Push the RESET button on the back of your A300 (not too long or you'll wipe EVERYTHING) and hope...
  • After rebooting you should have Kanji recognition and English menus (Japanese where English not available)...

    Have fun! Dave