Bluetooth busted (Was: [HW] Ear phones with microphone, for hands-free calling?)

Craig Woodward woody at
Mon Mar 30 22:31:03 CEST 2009

This is one of the major things holding me back from using the FR.  The shape of it is clunky at best, and add the super low volume you need to run the earpiece at to NOT get echo in the mic and it's useless without a headset.  That's assuming you can get it to work as a phone to start with.  Most images still can't reliably do that, even with suspend turned off.

Having bluetooth connectivity would be great, but that's busted too.  As of a couple months ago (when I last tested) _none_ of the images out there could handle bluetooth audio correctly for calls.  To pair the device you often have to enter it by hand into a config file, and run a script to connect it, since GUI scanning and pairing is busted in all images.  For some images you have to alter another set of config files so sound IO routes to the device (also not a simple task).  And after all that, when making a call something always goes wrong.  Either you get no audio at all or you get a couple seconds of audio/static and a kernel panic.  I tried this with at least 5 different images (2009.12, SHR, FDOM, QT, & Debain) and 4 different headsets, all of which work with 2 other phones AND my desktop PC.

Right now the only image I've found with good call reliability is Android, but that has it's own issues since it really wants a hardware keyboard.  Unfortunately this means for the few images that have bluetooth support, you have to go in with the debug tool to add a default password. I can't do that right now since it requires a linux box with a certain release to run the debug software, which I don't have the time or hardware to setup right now.

And FYI:  Good luck selling to anyone out there thinking of getting out of the pool.  I put my phone (plus stand alone charger, gps antenna, 4G card w/ reader & spare battery) up on Ebay shortly after my group mailing a couple months ago.  I stated it at $100 with a $250 reserve, it got a few bids but didn't even get close to the reserve.  Just what I figured would happen: expensive device that's not usable as a daily phone and now has little to no value. 

The whole project (FIC, OpenMoko, et al) has such a bad rep that nobody wants a FreeRunner now, even at a discounted price.  In the future I'll stick to semi-open devices for phones.... Unless it comes with some reasonable guarantee that it's going to actually WORK in the way it says it will *at the time of purchase*.  I should have returned the phone and reversed charges the first week I got it when it didn't work as simple phone out of the box. (Since it WAS advertised as a consumer ready phone when I purchased mine about a year ago, before FIC/OM updated their web pages to re-tag it as a "developer" phone.)

---- Al Johnson <openmoko at> wrote: 

Apart from the inline bits below, note that the mic on the headset will 
probably suffer from buzz heard at the far end. Bluetooth is probably a better 
bet as it won't suffer from buzz.

On Saturday 28 March 2009, Toni Mueller wrote:
> Hi,
> On Sat, 28.03.2009 at 16:20:11 +0100, arne anka <openmoko at> 
> > I wrote:
> > > external in-ear head set that also features a microphone be a good
> > > thing to have for this device.
> >
> > afaik the package included a wired headset too.
> mine didn't, and afaik, the offered headset does not include a
> microphone.

For a while there were some free extras while stocks remained, and a headset 
with mic was part of that. This might have been limited to 10-packs

> > resellers of the fr do imo offer the matching headset.
> ... w/o a microphone.

I have seen resellers offering the headset mentioned above separately in the 
past, but they may now be out of stock.

> > for other see either the archives or the wiki. there have been lengthy
> I was already looking out there, but didn't turn up anything useful
> there.

Google's top hit for 'openmoko headset pinout' will give you this:

> > sure, but i am not sure, if handsfree equals headset. at least headphones
> > are forbidden (even for bicycles, but nobody cares).
> If it would be possible to connect the phone to a car radio - some of
> these include an USB connector, that would imho solve the problem and
> provide muting as well as the option to use the car's stereo for voice
> output. But I don't know how this can be made to work.

Bluetooth hands-free kits are cheap and should work. Some cars have these as 
part of the stereo.

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