Thursday, August 7, 2008

Openmoko Neo Freerunner review

I am reviewing the phone as a 'developer edition' phone rather than a 'mass market' phone.
28th July 2008: Received my Neo Freerunner

Awesome phone.

It had only the basic installations - phone, contacts and messenger. I luckily had OpenSuSE 10.3 on my hp tablet. Connected it to laptop and bang I had the usb-ethernet up and running. Hmm, the package didn't have any kind of manual! (Supposed to be a developer's edition - expects people to have an internet connection). But, since I joined TAPMI (MBA college) and I was just settling down, I had no internet connection.

I then somehow managed partial net connectivity (I could access net from the Labs at college) - but couldn't use the phone and internet together. I read through the Getting Started pages.

Connecting thru USB (in brief):
1. Connect the usb cable to the phone.
2. Change laptop (or host) ip to 192.168.0.x (where x not equal to 202 or 0 eg. 192.168.0.1)
3. ssh to phone (IP of phone: 192.168.0.202): ssh root@192.168.0.202
4. Password: None (just press enter)
5. Done!

One of the first problems that I had: The phone moves to standby even when on call after about 5min! I haven't yet found a work around (except to remember to touch the screen every < 5min).
The next problem was to increase the volume of the mic - People complained about the volume when I called them.
Changing volume (in brief):
1. Edit the .state files in /usr/share/openmoko/scenarios/
2. Find Mic2 - change its volume level to 2 or 3 (I am using 3 - I don't have to struggle to speak :) )
3. Or run: alsamixer
3.1 Use left/right arrows to move to Mic2 and use up/down arrows to increase/decrease the volume.
3.2 (May have to re-set the volume levels every now and then, if used alsamixer) or I am doing something wrong!

I then download the packages from http://buildhost.automated.it/OM2007.2/packages/armv4t/
and started installing media player, gps, filemanager, calendar (dates), calculator, debug tool...
Some packages like gpe-icons, gpsd-conf are missing. I had to download those from the dailybuild directories (eg. http://buildhost.openmoko.org/daily-feed/om-gta02/ ).

Installing packages:
1. (host) scp *.ipk root@192.168.0.202:~/
Or to the card: root@192.168.0.202:/media/card/
2. (phone) opkg install *.ipk
3. Any error: You may have to download more ipks :)


Problems - not yet solved:
1. Mediaplayer volume is too low.
2. GPS is still not up (gpds-conf - yet to be installed)
3. Phone goes into standby even while on call.


The phone on the whole is a very good development/experimental platform. Has u-boot to solve the messing up problems.

Hardware issues:
1. The touch screen is at a different level from that of the package - accessing corners are a problem.
2. The brightness of the screen might be lesser if used on a sunny day!

Overall rating: 4/5

....More to follow as I continue to experiment with the phone! Keep reading...

1 comment:

santhosh said...

Finally, you are using a phone and using it for more than 5 mins on a call! Bang! Keep writing!