[QtMoko] handset is (almost) unusable for voice calls with background noise

Brolin Empey brolin at brolin.be
Tue Jun 15 09:41:23 CEST 2010

Hello World,

Almost 1 year has passed since I first posted to this list to ask “Is a 
FreeRunner sufficient for me?” on 2009-06-17.  I have definitely had an 
interesting experience with my FR and have learned a lot, but it has 
also been a very frustrating experience.  I have been living alone in my 
own apartment since 2010-01.  I have a phone line at home but it is used 
for ADSL only, not for voice calls.  Consequently, my FR is my daily 
phone, but using it as a handset is still very frustrating, even after 
using it since 2009-08.  One of the largest problems I still have is 
call volumes when there is background noise.  I usually use my FR as a 
handset only, not with speakerphone nor a headset.  My FR is (almost) 
unusable as a handset for voice calls with background noise when I am in 
public places, such as a street or shopping mall.  I either have to find 
a very quiet place, such as inside my car with the doors and windows 
closed, or move my SIM card to my old and lame Nokia 6103b, which is 
still my backup phone.  I am not a newbie:  I have over 8 months of 
experience using my FR with multiple distros.  I have used QtMoko since 
2009-09 or 2009-10.  I am currently still using QtMoko v19 with the 
QtMoko v19 debug kernel because I have not been motivated to upgrade to 
v22 and v24.  I have already experimented with changing values in 
gsmhandset.state and have a config which is usually usable for handset 
voice calls in quiet places, such as inside my car, home, and workplace. 
  My FR is still sensitive to how I hold it, though, which is annoying 
because sometimes I cannot hear people well or they cannot hear me 
because I slightly moved my FR without noticing.

How many other people are in my situation?  Is there a practical 
solution?  I do not think having to remember to enable a louder 
gsmhandset.state before using voice calls with background noise, then 
enabling the quieter gsmhandset.state when I am in a quiet place again 
is a practical solution because it is not necessary with my Nokia 6103b. 
  Why do I have so many problems with call volumes on my FR but not on 
my Nokia 6103b?  Is it because the FR lacks Automatic Gain Control (AGC)?

Anyway, I finally ordered a Nokia N900 from NewEgg.ca on Sunday.  I 
expect the N900 to be more usable as a handset than my FR.  Nokia 
released the N900 without USB Host support to meet deadlines because 
they could not have it certified for USB Host without fully working USB 
Host at the time of certification, but on Sunday I learned it is still 
possible for the N900 to use USB Host:  there is a community project to 
make USB Host usage easy for end users.  To be practical, I probably do 
not need USB Host on my N900 because it has a hardware keyboard and the 
Wireless LAN probably works easily, unlike my poor and frustrating 
experience trying to use Wireless LANs with QtMoko.  However, lack of 
USB Host was one of the reasons I did not order an N900 months ago 
because the FR has USB Host.  After I receive my N900, I will follow up 
to let this list know if my N900 experience is better than my FR experience.

Finally, I do not want to start a thread of complaining about how crappy 
the FR is:  my first post to this list already started one of those 
threads! ;)  I appreciate all the effort and accomplishments of the 
Openmoko community, but I also think the N900 may be a more practical 
solution, at least for me, than continuing trying to make my FR as 
usable as a handset as my Nokia 6103b, which is a very closed device.


Sometimes I forget how to do small talk: <http://xkcd.com/222/>

“If you have to ask why, you’re not a member of the intended audience.” 
— Bob Zimbinski, <http://webpages.mr.net/bobz/ttyquake/>

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