[off-topic] smartphone alternatives?

Brian bneil at rochester.rr.com
Mon Dec 17 21:22:50 CET 2012

On Mon, 17 Dec 2012 19:50:31 +0100
Ed Kapitein <ed at kapitein.org> wrote:

> On 12/17/2012 05:59 PM, francesco.devita at mailoo.org wrote:
> > Hi list
> > Sadly to say, my GTA02 is going to retire. It is having too much
> > troubles to be used as a daily phone and I'm thinking to replace it.
> > The perfect candidate is the GTA04 but I can't afford its cost
> > right now. I didn't follow with attention the evolution of the
> > smartphones market, so I'm asking you: what alternatives do I have?
> > Is there something with a recent hardware but somehow "open" and
> > that costs no more than 200€?
> > I have to say that I'm not a big fan of android and for now I would
> > prefer to go with a 30€ nokia in the pocket and a gnu/linux friendly
> > tablet/netbook on the shoulders waiting for better times...
> >
> > Best regards
> > Joif
> >
> Hi Joif/Brian,
> Sad to see you go. I am curious on why the Freerunner did not meet
> your expectations?
> Not to try to convince you to reconsider, but because it might be
> important for future phones (like the gta04)
> What distro did you try? what are the things that you missed in the
> FR? What made you finally decided to look for another phone?
> I hope you are willing to tell us about your experience, i think there
> are much more people who gave up on the FR and i am wondering why.
> Kind regards and the best of luck with your quest for a new phone.
> Ed

Hi Ed,

I didn't mean to imply that I'm not still using my GTA02 because I
most certainly do! Mainly as an ebook reader, for streaming internet
news radio, and a few other things. In the future I may use it as a SIP
handset or for GPS in the car. Pretty much anywhere I can keep it
plugged in. I had no illusions regarding expectations when I got mine.
I knew exactly what to expect and can't really complain. I just had to
have one "warts and all." :)

I retired it from phone duties because too often the signal would drop
and reconnecting usually meant rebooting. Spotty carrier reception in my
area didn't help and there were some complaints about call quality on
both ends. Battery life was an issue when used heavily so carrying a usb
cable, spares, and wall charger seemed a bit impractical.

Getting a GTA04 is tempting but I just can't afford one right now. That
doesn't rule out one in the future though. I really do appreciate the
efforts that went into both the Neo 1973 and FreeRunner as well as the
GTA04 but I've yet to experience one of those first hand. It's important
to me to encourage handheld mobile devices that are as open as possible
in both hardware and software.

I'm a hobbyist and love to tinker with gadgets so I've tried just about
every distro on the wiki or mentioned on the mailing list. My favorite
for phone duties is QtMoko, for e-reader AoF. When I got the urge to
try "bleeding edge" and break stuff it was SHR. Current setup is QtMoko
on NAND and AoF on SD.

My biggest complaint about the FR is that it probably came out too
early, suffered from some production delays which hurt development
imho. Thus hurting the chances that a lot of others (read consumers,
manufacturers, and devs) would follow in the much more open footsteps of
OpenMoko than say IOS or Android. The smaller complaint would be having
a real keyboard on a mobile device is awesome, but those are usually
poorly done and hard to find.

So the landscape of mobile devices isn't quite as open as most of us on
the list would like but it could be a lot worse right? In closing you
can have my FreeRunner when you pry it from my cold dead hands...



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