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back to article Android runs (on) free(runner)

Google's mobile phone platform, Android, has been ported to the OpenMoko's open-sourced hardware platform, though it's not quite the perfect combination as yet. The OpenMoko Neo is an open source handset - the hardware design is freely available for implementation, or modification, by anyone conforming to the open source licence …

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Happy

Clarification about 3G

"restrictions prevent the open-source handset from implementing 3G technologies" - I had to re-read this a couple of times and thought it worth a clarification because if you just scan through the text quickly it sounds like there is 3G in the hardware but Android does not use it.

The OpenMoko Freerunner does not contain any 3G hardware. The reason is as you state, the licencing restrictions around 3G chipsets most likely prevent OpenMoko from using them and at the same time remaining truly open (that is to say, there will be aspects of the chip and/or associated low-level code that cannot be released to the public).

Shame really, I wonder what the odds are of HTC (who bankroll OpenMoko and build the phone) supporting an open source 3G upgrade? Without it I think the project will die, and quickly...

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Linux

As an openmoko owner....

... this ain't news, I've had android on mine since early november.

Not, it doesn't work properly, bluetooth doesn't work in the later releases, though there is now a software keyboard so you can at least answer a call.

GPRS doesn't work, as far as I can tell. WiFi neither. The system won't switch off. Sometimes it doesn't recover from suspend. Haven't been able to try the GPS functions yet.

However, the software is far more reliable and responsive that anything the Openmoko team have released themselves, so android is my current hope for actually getting a usable phone out of the brick I have on the shelf at home.

@Gulfie - I'm pretty sure the handset was designed by Openmok and manufactured by FIC, not HTC. If they bankroll OM then that's something else, but I've never heard of this relationship before. You might want to check your facts.

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Gates Horns

Slightly off topic, I know, but

"Microsoft bundling not withstanding"

When is this appalling abuse going to be stopped?

There are some enlightened retailers (Novatech for e.g.) that will sell you a PC without an operating system, but try that in PC World, Comet etc.

Bah.

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Flame

"Microsoft bundling not withstanding"

Or equally "Apple bundling" - safari and a raft of other apps on OSX.

Or "Linux bundling" - depending on distro, but 1000s of apps on DVDs. Yes, they're open source, but they're still bundled.

The usual dig at Microsoft is tired and unoriginal. Change the record please....

Written on an iPhone, connected to a Windows PC (xp of course), that dual boots Ubuntu.

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Thumb Up

SE

Android runs on my Xperia X1 too. Pity next to nothing works yet. WiMo has got to be the most sluggish pig of an OS ever to see the light of day.

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@AC

"Or "Linux bundling" - depending on distro, but 1000s of apps on DVDs. Yes, they're open source, but they're still bundled."

The difference being that there are probably 2-15 that do the same thing, giving the user a lot of choice. And there's nothing to stop anyone re-distributing any and all of it with a different selection, or ripping out things they don't like.

OTOH, I agree that I don't really see what the fuss is about with MS bundling IE and Media player. I guess they have to play differently because they are a monopoly, so that when they provide stuff for free with the OS they really do kill any rival businesses.

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Coat

far more reliable ... (david hicks)

i laughed so hard coffee came out my nose.

Quote : it doesn't work properly, bluetooth doesn't work in the later releases, though there is now a software keyboard so you can at least answer a call. GPRS doesn't work, as far as I can tell. WiFi neither. The system won't switch off. Sometimes it doesn't recover from suspend.

However, the software is far more reliable and responsive ....

its a phone that cant even perform the basic phone functions very well ( like answering a call )

If architects would design buildings like open source code.. the first woodpecker that came along would destroy civilisation...

Mine is the one with the samsung blackjack that has the blueman group 'chicken' ringtone.

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E

@vincent himpe

Well, give it time. Linux kernel 1.0 and Slackware and Debian of that time had a lot of issues. Look what happened within 10 years.

That said, Linux at least had a fairly standard set of hardware platforms to run on. Phone hardware looks like a dogs breakfast to me.

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@vincent himpe

He's talking about running a OS on a piece of hardware the OS hasn't been 'tweaked' for. The correct drivers aren't installed and may not even have been written yet. If I try to run a copy of Windows Vista an my Garmin Nuvi I wouldn't be surprised if it didn't work perfectly and I certainly wouldn't be stupid enough to blame that fact on proprietary software.

@everyone totally missing the point about "Microsoft bundling notwithstanding"

The article clearly talks about OS availability on hardware, it says nothing about software being bundled with an OS.

Seriously people, if you're too dumb to understand an article then can I suggest that you refrain from trying to comment on it. This will save you from demonstrating your ignorance to the world.

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Alert

@e & Alex rose

You miss my point. IT'S A PHONE ! First thing it has to be able to do is answer a call and make a call correctly. Everything else is eye candy , bling and nice to have.

Look at all the cell phones that had monochrome digit only or minimalistic displays. They seldomly crashed, had no OS. The Mobira Talkman ran on a CDP1802 processor with an executable program of roughly 12Kilobyte ... and it always worked.

It just seems to me that now you need 120 million transistors and 5 megs of code to turn on a lightbulb ... Everything is so over engineered ( and shoddiliy because everyone is desperate to be first to market) that nothing works right anymore. It's the bling that gets all the attention, while the base isn't ready yet.

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Flame

"Over engineering"

"Everything is so over engineered ( and shoddiliy because everyone is desperate to be first to market) that nothing works right anymore. It's the bling that gets all the attention, while the base isn't ready yet."

Quite, though it's not *all* down to rushing product to market. I did a quick survey of some of my consumer electronics over Christmas. I don't rush in to new technologies till there's been time to iron out the bugs, but the list wasn't good, even though these are not cheap unbranded stuff, they are "name" brands in the industry, bought because they've had good writeups in reviews, forums, etc.

Freeview box 1 - EPG doesn't do detailed info properly (insufficient RAM to hold the details).

Freeview box 2 - one of hundreds of thousands rendered basically useless by the recent "split NIT" fiasco.

Freeview box 3 - not found any software issues yet but the manufacturing quality is abysmal.

Freeview DVD recorder - low bitrate channels (ITV4?) crash it, not to mention the most user-hostile UI I've ever seen on any consumer kit.

Freeview PVR - EPG takes half an hour (?) to load after poweron.

5 failures out of 5. Plus every PC in the house is defective by design, simply because they came with Windows preinstalled.

When are we going to stop accepting rubbish product just because it's got rubbish software?

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