Questions about the usability of GTA02

Michael Zanetti michael_zanetti at
Sat Jan 31 15:59:36 CET 2009

Hi Tschaka!

On Saturday 31 January 2009 15:11:58 Tschaka wrote:
> 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)

One day of usage is no problem here... Sometimes I reach even 2 days. But not 
very often yet. Overall experience is that battery lasts longer from upgrade 
to upgrade.

I cannot confirm the issue that the battery gets uncharged even if plugged 

> 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 :) )
Not sure when rev A7 will come.... But I expect it to contain the Buzz fix. 
Anyways, it looks like openmoko is concerned in applying the Buzz fix to 
already sold devices too. Not sure if/when this will happen. But signs point 
to soon.
As you are a Student I think it wouldn't be too dificult finding a person at 
university that could help you applying the buzz fix. Anyways, I'd understand 
if you find it too risky.

The echo is fixed in nearly every distribution meanwhile. As I have applied the 
Buzz fix on my moko the overall sound quality during phone calls is acceptable.  
Sometimes the volume is a bit low... But as I've already said: It is 
acceptable. I have already talked to my parents over one hour without one 
single complaint about the voice quality.

> 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.

Software is nowhere near _finished_. There is software for everything you could 
immagine, but not really polished yet. Calls are working, but 
Dialer/AddressBook software is either slow (OM 2008.12) or only uses contacts 
from SIM card yet (SHR, FSO etc). Lets hope Paroli brings some more light into 
this area soon.
SMS works fine here. With my self-created keyboard layout I can type a SMS 
using my thumb only in quite short time.

IMHO GPS is the one working best. TangoGPS is way cooler as you could 
immagine. There are also routing engines like navit that allow you to use the 
FR as a navigation system.

I haven't found any finger-friendly Web-browser yet, but there are some stylus-
friendly browsers that seem to work. For IM you could use Pidgin. I have no 
idea how well it works on the FR though. There is also a console based IM 
client somewhere...

Yes, the Glamo really seems to be the bottleneck... There are efforts to 
eliminate this by the community. Anyways... Overall performance is on the edge 
of beeing acceptable.

Accessing wireless networks seems to be a command-line thing only yet. There 
are efforts for graphical frontends like MoFi but they do not work really well 
yet. Anyways, with a well set-up wpa_supplicant.conf file connecting is as easy 
as typing "ifup eth0".

> 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 interesting.
> 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.

There is not much reliable information regarding GTA03 yet. Also I have no 
idea when/if rev. A7 will come.  May be someone else has more information...

> 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.

It really is up to you. I cannot guarantee that you will love the FR. I just 
can tell you that I do. Its a really great device, although sometimes I'm 
close to smash it against the wall (When I need to call someone but have to 
reboot first). Fortunately this doesn't happen very often any more.

If you like some wiki reading, fiddling around with command lines and editing 
loads of config files, scripts etc, the FR could be the right choise for you. If 
you just want a phone that works out of the box, wait for GTA03.

I hope I could help you a little bit,

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