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

Michal Brzozowski rusolis at poczta.fm
Sat Jun 20 23:58:29 CEST 2009

2009/6/20 Joerg Lippmann <jl_lists at donalbain.de>

> 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.

You're spreading a lot of misinformation. Since you might influence
someone's decision about buying the FR, I'll address those points with which
I completely disagree (about the rest I could argue).

> 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 wake up time is about 2 to 2.5 seconds. Usually small enough for picking
up the call quickly.

> - The vibrator is too weak, I missed more calls.
> - The volume is way to low, You can really only use it indoors.

Depends on a particular mixer setting. I could get one that's good enough
for me (found a link on the wiki)

> - 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)

With most distros you get ~48h of suspend time with the GSM running. Whether
the distro you choose crashes a lot or not depends on your luck and ability
to chose the right distro and version (release, testing, unstable). But
agree that most of them crash occasionally, although I don't see how this
influences battery life (just restart the device)

> - 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!

There is a ton of software, and some of it is slow, some of it is fast. The
device itself is pretty fast for a phone I would say.

> - 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.

Then you haven't tried the illume predictive keyboard. It's better for
typing sms with your finger than anything else I've seen. Certainly 10x
faster than a phone without a touchscreen.

> - 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)

You can buy a buzz-fixed FR.

> - 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.

I think it takes a few hours to reload it. The problem with starting on an
empty battery have been fixed in recent devices I think.

> - 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.

That distro is 2.5 years old! :-)

> 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.

The slowness can be fixed by tweaking some settings in illume gui.

Keyboard english-only? Changing the dictionary to another language is as
simple as downloading a word list into the FR.

> 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)

Well, you definitely forgot about Om2008 and 2009.

> 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...

I will repeat the famous words, "works for me."  Just give it some love.
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: http://lists.openmoko.org/pipermail/community/attachments/20090620/2c507305/attachment-0001.htm 

More information about the community mailing list