Questions about the usability of GTA02

Tschaka Stuff4tschaka at
Sat Jan 31 15:11:58 CET 2009

So, again somebody is asking a question about usabilty. Please don't get me
wrong, i actually browsed the mailing lists and wikis, but still there are
some unsure things, and i'd like to have a bit more of a summarization.

I'm interested in buying an openmoko Neo Freerunner, but i'd like to get to
know some things before i will. I'm a student, so 300 €(even 249 €, Pulster
;) ) is an amount of money i can't spend every month, or w/o any effort. So
i don't want to end up getting a Neo now, being unsatisfied and getting a
gta03/other brand later this or next year. 

I'm not that deep into Linux, but i'm running Ubuntu reasonably well, so i'm
not totally unfamiliar with linux. i know what svn/git is, and wouldnt be
totally unable to build somethings from sources - although it's not an every
day task here. 

So, here's my list of questions, i hope somebody will answer and clear them
up a bit :)

1st) Battery Power

sometimes i'm at university from 9am to 10pm 6 days a week. I'm often
browsing mobile news pages with my phone when going to university, or having
a chat (XMPP of course!), approx 40 minutes a day. In the meantime i'm
listening to music. 
I got no actual watch, so my phone is my watch, means i often activate the
background light to get to know the time. 
I'm sending like 1-5 messages a day, having a phone call now and then.
Now and then i would like to access the web via wifi.

So, since i'm not able to plug the phone to a power source at university,
would i be able to run it the whole day, without getting out of battery
power after 10 hours? 
And, will there be a (software) fix (soon) for the issue, that the battery
gets uncharged, even if plugged in, as soon as the battery is fully charged?
(i got no problem charging the phone every night, but when it's fully
charged at 2am, it would have been running 7 hours on battery power by my
arrival at university, so the battery would be low sooner)

2) Calls

As i'm sometimes having a phone call (huh, surprise), i would like to know,
if the echo, and especially the buzzing issue will be fixed soon. I read,
the echo was fixed in FSO/SHR already, but regarding the buzz i read the
mailing list, but there i didnt feel i got a reliable answer(sorry for
asking again). i'm not familiar with soldering iron, and i'm not willing to
crack up another phone (already did once this way :) ). So, will there a fix
of this buzzing soonish by default (a7, a8?) on the base of the often
refered capacitor? (as i said, i'm not willing to pay twice, getting a gta03
later due to unfixed buzz problems, or replacing a damaged freerunner).
Also, i'm not willing to pay 300€ for a phone that doesnt allow me to have a
nice talk with my dad or gf on an at least acceptable level for the person
on the other end (u know, my gf isn't that patient and insightfull with
opensource software(issues) as i am, it took me weeks and shutting down icq
completely to convince her to use xmpp :) )

3) Software

I got no problem with rudimentary software. Most important thing is Sending
messages, Having a few Calls, Having GPS apps to improve Openstreetmap and
such and browsing the web. I know the software is something being worked on,
and apparently it improved a lot already. 
But: Do such basic features work already (like browsing phone book to make a
call) acceptably reliable? I'm patient in handling problems and fiddling
around a bit, wanting to have a succes in the end though.
And: how sluggish is the software? i often read glamo slows the phone down
pretty much.

4) GTA03?

Or would u rather advise me to wait for GTA03? I really want to support
Openmoko, and to be honest, as i heard first of openmoko like 2 years ago, i
already wanted to have one. On the other hand, i'm sorry to say, that such
fundamental bugs hold me back getting one yet. But according to the wiki,
gta03 will have features like EDGE, a Cam, better battery and removed glamo
(rather fast software "feeling" and video performance?) that sound very

EGDE would be nice, but for me isn't necessary, and as Cam i could use my
current phone.
But shall i, at least, rather wait for a7, or a8 if i want a buzz fix by
default? at the moment, this is, besides battery life, the issue that
concerns me most. 

5) Summarize

Long story short, i don't want to get disappointed buying a neo. I mean,
fancy features, software and such is nice to have, but if fundamental things
won't work (acceptable), I and many others won't support Openmoko on the
long term, means replacing the Neo with a later release of Openmoko in 1,2
or 3 years. 

and, as sean moss pultz wrote, "John Doe" won't see any advantage of getting
an openmoko over other "open" (haha, at least on his point of view) phones
like iPhone, and Android ones. 
Hopefully i'll get some constructive hints on my questions, and if i'd
rather wait, or buy on the spur of moment. 
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