Unboxing the FreeRunner

Last Tuesday, my Openmoko Freerunner showed up in the mail. Here’s unboxing photos!

Freerunner Packaging

How UPS packaged my phone

Freerunners Box

Freerunner's Box

Opening the box

Opening the box

Contents of the package

Contents of the package

I don’t really want to make rash comments about the software yet, as it will take a me a bit to acclimate to the state of the openmoko project. I do feel that its very safe to say that this phone is not ready to hit prime time just yet.

The kit that came with the phone is pretty standard as far as phones go. I got a charger with adapters for people who use clown-like electrical sockets. They’re so deliciously whimsical. (Then again, I’ve never left my continent… 🙁 ). So after I got done pretending I was in an electrician’s circus, I noticed what else was in the kit.:-P They also give you a great pen-like stylus. You twist it left for a pen and right for a stylus tip. The other side has a super bright LED and a laser! Seeing as how much I like playing with lasers, those batteries wont last long. Also, a 512mb miniSD card (with case and miniSD to SD adapter) was included, alongside a USB->miniUSB (male-male) cable. Oh, and they also gave you a sweet little card with a Sun Tzu quote.

The ports are all, simple, clean and unobtrusive. They have a mini USB port, an external GPS antenna port, a power button, external LEDs (which you can’t even see if they’re off), and a 2.7mm headphone jack. All are on the sides of the phone, not the bottom. That’s new for me, but it works just fine.

The display is impressive. I was honestly floored when I saw the 640×480 display booting up on the screen. My old HTC Apache literally has 1/4 of the screen space this does. Display is very good, crisp, I couldn’t ask for more. The only foreseeable problem is that in some places, like the web browser, the text may be hard to see for those who have bad eyes. Also, the screen is perhaps a bit too small for chubby fingers to operate, but I seem to manage using the touch screen alright. Come to think of it, alignment hasn’t been something I’ve had to worry about yet, so thats a plus too.

What about the size of the phone? I’ve been toting HTC bricks around for years now, and am very used to it. The Freerunner is the same size, maybe a bit smaller than my HTC Apache. Coming from a slim flip phone may take some adjusting. Other than that, the phone feels pretty solid, and has a nice seemlessness to the design. There are smooth rounded edges made from hard, smooth plastic. The front, back and sides are made of plastic, but it has a rather pleasant tactile feel to it.

There are some things I don’t appreciate much. First and foremost, there’s no internal stylus holder! My other phones had small styli that could slide in and out of the phone when you need them. Although I consider styluses a necessary evil when it comes to touch screens, I feel that with the super high resolution of the Freerunner, an internal stylus would be convenient. I can see myself fiddling with trying to hit a 20×20 box with my clumsy fingertips. Secondly, the miniUSB chip lives behind the battery case and under the SIM card! I don’t know why this was chosen this way, but its installing the miniSD card felt like I was taking the guts out of the phone. You have to take advantage of a fingernail groove, pop the battery out, unlock the SIM card latch, fold the SIM card up, unlock dual clips for the SD card holder, and then slide the card in, and reassemble the phone. I mean, I don’t replace SD cards often, but its still a big pain. Other than those two complaints, I really don’t have anything about the corporal shape of the phone.

Thats all the commenting I feel justified in making so far. The software is not in consumer-ready shape yet, but its basically usable with the “2007.2” image. What is that? Who the hell knows. :P. I had no problem making a test call and test SMS though, so I was very happy about that. Ill comment on the software later, once I’m able to make sense about what’s going on. All in all, I’m elated to be pushing Linux and open source software into new markets!

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3 Responses to Unboxing the FreeRunner

  1. Oli says:

    This isn’t supposed to be a flame. I’m just pointing out a couple of obvious things.

    Firstly, you mention that the software isn’t consumer ready. It’s not supposed to be. It’s intended to be a community-supported system. There’s obviously going to be a lot of scope for improvement straight off the bat.

    Secondly, you need to learn to resize photos =) Putting ~3megs of images on a page almost made me close the tab.

  2. Kevin says:

    I felt I made it clear that I wasn’t let down in any way by the software, it is what I was expecting it to be.

    As for resizing the images, I was being lazy and hoping no one would notice :D. I downcoverted them…

  3. master wong says:

    i recently bought this phone and upon putting the windows vista disk in it found out it did not fit. I attempted to plug a cd player into it but to my disappointment the headphone jack was just for headphones. All in all the phone is useless, go but an I- phone

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