Why one cannot recommend the freerunner as a daily phone (was Re: Is a FreeRunner sufficient for me?)

Iain B. FIndleton ifindleton at videotron.ca
Sat Jun 20 22:56:46 CEST 2009

Most of Joerg's comments reflect the experience I have had. On the other 
hand, its a GREAT portable office. You can run just about any Linux 
application on it and with an 8Gbyte microSD card, carry around a lot of 
stuff easily in your pocket. Just plug it into any old PC via WIFI, 
Bluetooth or USB (Preferred) and you are away. Simply great for a 
consulting lifestyle.

It also receives and sends phone calls, although it generates too much 
heat to carry about in your pocket for that application.

Joerg Lippmann wrote:
>> On Thu, Jun 18, 2009 at 10:49 AM, Joerg Lippmann<jl_lists at donalbain.de> 
> wrote:
>>> Then the Freerunner is not for you.
>>> It may sound harsh, but it's definitely *not* suitable for daily use.
>>> Period.
>> Brolin,
>> I must respectfully disagree with Joerg's advice to you.  There are
>> flaws, including the ones Joerg points out, but they do not
>> necessarily make the Freeruner unsuitable as a daily phone.  I think
>> it depends on the person.  I use mine daily as my only phone and it
>> works well for me.  From your description of yourself, I suspect you
>> would be happy with a Freerunner as well, as long as you don't expect
>> it to do everything you want out of the box.
> OK, maybe I should explain. 
> My mail should not be taken as FUD. I have a freerunner since it came out a 
> year ago and - being a linux user since 1994 - I was prepared to get something 
> rough and unfinished. But I hoped that it would one day be sufficient to replace 
> first my phone, then my Palm Tungsten C and maybe my Etrex-GPS. It does neither 
> in a satisfactory way.
> I used it for about year now, installed this and that distro and during that 
> time I defended all the shortcomings as being a work-in-progress and a 
> community effort. But all in all I cannot recommend it to anyone as a daily 
> phone. Here's why:
> - The device wakes up too slowly, I lost some calls.
> - The vibrator is too weak, I missed more calls.
> - The volume is way to low, You can really only use it indoors.
> - The Display is too dark for sunny days, even in the shade.
> - I lost many SMS. I eventually receiced most of them after restarting the 
> device
> - The battery lasts only a few hours, again, I lost many calls (this depends 
> on the distro. But even with a »good« one, I had cases in which the device did 
> not suspend due to something crashing)
> - Sometimes I cannot access the phonebook (Android, SHR)
> - Wifi does not work reliably and it takes a long time to connect.
> - The device/software is terribly slow. How fast was even the oldest palm in 
> comparison!
> - the on-screen keyboards are all terrible for finger-typing. I liked the one 
> from QTe, but you have to install german wordlists by hand. Also it was 
> impractical to switch upper/lowercase. Best solution would be to use landscape 
> automatically. 
> - Even simple tasks like inserting the number of the caller into the 
> addressbook is sometimes impossible or very complicated.
> (- Many people I called complained about terrible buzz, but I hope to get the 
> fix soon)
> - The alarm clock does not work reliably.
> - When the battery is completely empty, it takes ages to reload the phone and 
> you're not able to turn it on even when plugged in.
> - You cannot sync dates or even contacts, PIM-functions are virtually non-
> existent.
> (And I did not mention nice things like video-playback, a good MP3-Player, 
> voice-notes, a nice email-Interface or a feed-aggregator...)
> Granted, most things depend on the distro you're using. But neither is really 
> good:
> OM: 2007: very stripped down, although I liked the simple interface.
> QTe: Overall quite OK, but no Sync, no working wifi, no usable browser, no 
> GPRS, no usable GPS-Application
> SHR: good battery life when not crashing. some bad design decisions 
> (animations are useless on this phone), slow (especially the setup-menus and 
> finger-scrolling), ugly phone-function, contacts crash very often, tangogps is 
> working, many SMS and calls lost. Keyboard either english-only or only usable 
> with a pen.
> Android: Best of the bunch so far. But volume too low, missing keyboard in 
> stable versions (cupcake one looks better, but is not stable enough at the 
> moment)
> I'm trying to honour the work of the many developers, but in my book, this is 
> still not a working everyday phone. Let alone a smartphone.
> Today, I slipped my SIM-card back into my old Siemens M55. What an experience: 
> I got every call immediatly! I could hear what the other side was talking! I 
> could send an SMS in a few seconds without problems and received an answer! I 
> could also insert the number from a caller directly into my addressbook. You 
> should try it once.
> My freerunner will stay in my drawer. Maybe when Android works perfectly, I 
> will give it another try.
> Am Samstag 20 Juni 2009 schrieb Ben Wong:
>> The sound quality is "terrible" according to Joerg, but that has not
> It's just way too low. I can only unterstand the other side well, when I'm in 
> a quiet place. While with a real phone you can talk on the street or in a car, 
> with the freerunner I can't. I tried also other alsa-state-files and fiddled 
> myself, but without real success.
>> Joerg also mentioned that the device is "lame".  I'm not quite sure
>> what he means. 
> Sorry, I meant "slow". See above.
> Please, developers, don't feel like I want to thrash your work. It's just not 
> ready for primetime, yet. I really like the design and the hires screen. It 
> could make a cool device when it would work...
>rg at home

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