Linked by Eugenia Loli on Tue 11th Oct 2005 17:36 UTC
Linux As smartphone prices decline, they have become more popular every day. Symbian, PalmOS, Windows Mobile and Linux seem to be the big names in this high-end market of phones, all showcasing PDA-like features, native toolkits and fast processors. Today we are looking at one of the most popular Linux smartphones (especially in Asia), the Motorola E680i, which was released around May 2005 and was graciously provided by Geeks.com for this article.
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v java
by Anonymous on Tue 11th Oct 2005 19:38 UTC
v W
by Anonymous on Tue 11th Oct 2005 19:47 UTC
"Great"
by Anonymous on Tue 11th Oct 2005 19:55 UTC
Anonymous
Member since:
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"Looking great! It's way better than Symbian IMO. Can't wait to get my hands on one of those"

Reply Score: 0

v Having fun deleting posts ?????
by Anonymous on Tue 11th Oct 2005 20:14 UTC
Nice - but software?
by mini-me on Tue 11th Oct 2005 20:19 UTC
mini-me
Member since:
2005-07-06

I like this phone (well I have a gripe about its lack of quadband GSM but anyway) - the major question is "where is the software" ?

UIQ, PalmOS, WindowsMobile, Series 60 all have an established software library and the OSes run on many devices. With this OS running only on 2 devices - software is a bit scarce. What good is a smartphone w/o software ? ;)

Reply Score: 1

RE: Nice - but software?
by Eugenia on Tue 11th Oct 2005 20:32 UTC in reply to "Nice - but software?"
Eugenia Member since:
2005-06-28

Actually this kind of UI runs on about 4-5 Motorola phones so far. But as you said, yes, there isn't much software for it. In fact, there's fewer than 10 titles for it. This is one of the places Motorola should get their act together, as getting the native SDK for these phones (not for java games) is not easy.

Reply Score: 5

Maybe I'm retarded...but..
by ormandj on Tue 11th Oct 2005 20:22 UTC
ormandj
Member since:
2005-10-09

Why did this earn a 7/10? That has got to be one of the most negative reviews of a phone I've ever read, some of the things mentioned (specifically the "slowness") would make most people throw a phone out the window. Go check out mobileburn or something, even the _worst_ phones there have more positive features than this one. Yet they get much worse ratings. What, is this phone a 7/10 compared to all the other linux-based phones? Hah! Well, I suppose we are all entitled to our own opinions, just from reading the review and knowing nothing else about the phone, I give it a 2/10 (barely functional). I love how geeks endorse things simply for geek-factor "oh my phone runs linux" even if they completely and totally suck.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Maybe I'm retarded...but..
by ormandj on Tue 11th Oct 2005 20:32 UTC in reply to "Maybe I'm retarded...but.."
ormandj Member since:
2005-10-09

Ok, I counted up the totals.

# of things said about the phone good/bad
Good: 12
Bad: 22

Of course you can count things slightly differently, I tried to combine like things together (both bad/good), but regardless, I don't see this as a 7/10 unless it's a 7/10 compared to other linux phones only. That's one horrible phone.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Maybe I'm retarded...but..
by Eugenia on Tue 11th Oct 2005 20:34 UTC in reply to "RE: Maybe I'm retarded...but.."
Eugenia Member since:
2005-06-28

The phone works, get over yourself. Just because I mentioned the bads (as I should), it doesn't mean that ALL the goods are mentioned in the review. If I was to do that, I would need 100 pages for this review. The good points are more than the bad ones. I used the phone and in my mind, it does deserve a 7/10. It is on SOME of the DETAILS only that the phone needs more debugging and love from Motorola.

Reply Score: 5

RE[3]: Maybe I'm retarded...but..
by ormandj on Tue 11th Oct 2005 21:00 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Maybe I'm retarded...but.."
ormandj Member since:
2005-10-09

Over myself? Yes, I agree you did a good job reviewing the phone, hence I used your review as the only source of information concerning the phone. If I thought your review was poor, I would not have done so. No need for petty insults.

I simply didn't feel your review backed up the 7/10 rating. The review seemed more like a 2/10. Now maybe the phone has some great qualities you left out (of course who will write a 100 page review), but your review really doesn't convey that. It's a whole lot of negative, with a little bit a positive, and a fairly positive rating.

I just felt you should be a little more detailed in why the phone is *good* if you felt it deserved a 7/10 rating. I'm not arguing about the rating of the phone, I've never used one, I'm sure 7/10 is accurate. I just felt the review didn't display the phone in a 7/10 light. Maybe you can get over yourself now? I'm not arguing with your rating, per say. ;)

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Maybe I'm retarded...but..
by Eugenia on Tue 11th Oct 2005 21:10 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Maybe I'm retarded...but.."
Eugenia Member since:
2005-06-28

>I just felt you should be a little more detailed in why
>the phone is *good* if you felt it deserved a 7/10 rating.

Because ALL the rest of the applications and hardware included WORK as expected. The only problems I found on the phone are the ones I mentioned. But that doesn't mean that Java crashes, or the email app crashes, or the email app fails to get my email, or that Real doesn't play my .rm files, or that GPRS disconnects out of the blue, or that the phone eats my SD filesystem or that Bluetooth doesn't want to pair with my PC. NONE of that happens!

There are about 1000 things in this phone that one could mention (but it's impossible to). 975 of them WORK. And so the 7/10 is a fair rating, given the fact that some of the problems are eye-popping and makes you wonder why Motorola didn't fix them. But that doesn't mean that the phone sucks and it's unusable, 'cause it doesn't.

And speaking of fair ratings, you said that you found my review to be a 'good job', you just disagreed with my final rating. If I am so bad on ratings, I guess your 1/10 that you rated my story is even worse then.

Reply Score: 5

fretinator Member since:
2005-07-06

And speaking of fair ratings, you said that you found my review to be a 'good job', you just disagreed with my final rating. If I am so bad on ratings, I guess your 1/10 that you rated my story is even worse then.

touché !!

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: Maybe I'm retarded...but..
by ormandj on Tue 11th Oct 2005 21:24 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Maybe I'm retarded...but.."
ormandj Member since:
2005-10-09

Because regardless of how I felt the review was, I found it in no way signified a 7/10, let alone 5/10, or even 3/10. Maybe if you had included the ^^^ information, then sure, a 7/10 would be understandable. Thanks for clearing up your feelings about the phone for those of us who can't read minds/don't like making assumptions that "everything else must be good" simply because it wasn't mentioned as bad. I'll leave this thread alone now, the other readers can get the information out of it needed, and continuing the thread will only lead to the flamewars I'm accustomed to seeing. Really, the attitude isn't necessary, I'm sorry I didn't make assumptions concerning your thoughts, and I'm sorry for being honest in my opinions. It's a good review, it could just do with your previous post tacked on, to clarify the 7/10 rating. Otherwise people will be left thinking it's full of issues, and has very little good going for it.

I'll leave you with some examples of phones that were highly rated. Notice the good/bad ratio in them. There is a reason for that, regardless of what you (the reviewer) might think about the phone, if you don't clarify things, none of your readers will understand.

http://www.mobileburn.com/review.jsp?Id=1393&source=BROWSER
http://www.mobile-review.com/review/samsung-d600-en.shtml

Reply Score: 1

fretinator Member since:
2005-07-06

Maybe if you had included the ^^^ information

And here is the last paragraph of the review:

[i]Having said all that, this remains a good Linux phone. It has a pretty fast boot time (for a Linux) and it comes with 2 styluses and 2 batteries. Performance is good, overall; it is expandable and extensible (there is even an Opie port with Qt 2.3.10), it's super-stable and works well as a phone. Could it have been done better if Motorola had been more careful on the details and fix some eye-popping obvious bugs/problems? Definitely! But it's almost as good as it goes today with Linux phones and I am pretty sure that future Linux phones will be even better and will compete with Symbian and Windows Mobile more vigorously.[i]

Sound 7/10 positivish to me!

Reply Score: 1

RE[7]: Maybe I'm retarded...but..
by ormandj on Tue 11th Oct 2005 21:37 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Maybe I'm retarded...but.."
ormandj Member since:
2005-10-09

To me: "It's almost as good as it goes today with Linux phones" == neutral, since all linux phones thus far have pretty much sucked compared to the symbian/windows mobile/etc phones.

As well: "this remains a good Linux phone" == no meaning, a "good Linux phone" can be completely obliterated by the current crop of smartphones (well, I've not used this new one, so I can't qualify that statement).

Thirdly: "Performance is good, overall" <-- I expect any phone I own to be terrific in performance. A slow phone is a brick to throw as far as I'm concerned.

I just don't see that as being a glowing 7/10. Maybe I just see things in a different light. Go ahead and remove my vote if it makes you feel better, you've my permission. I'm sorry for expressing my opinion.

Reply Score: 1

RE[6]: Maybe I'm retarded...but..
by Eugenia on Tue 11th Oct 2005 21:42 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Maybe I'm retarded...but.."
Eugenia Member since:
2005-06-28

I always mention the generic goodness of a product. But I am making sure that I mention ALL the bad things, even more than the "normal" things, because people read reviews in order to learn about such potential problems. They want to know about problems MORE than they want to know about features (features that are already listed on the manufacturer's web site anyway) before they shed money on a product.

If for example, you are interested in the messaging client of a phone, and my review doesn't say anything in particular about it (apart from the fact that it exists), it means that the app works as expected! There is not much to say about it, it's a simple messaging client, sending SMS/MMS that feeds from your contact list. Nothing extraordinary there! Nothing to mention there! You should assume it works! However, if the client is not able to send a .3gp video, or it is not able to create sub-folders, or whatever else, I WOULD mention it.

MobileBurn and MobileReview are good sites, I read them daily. But my style is simply not the same.

Reply Score: 5

RE[7]: Maybe I'm retarded...but..
by ormandj on Tue 11th Oct 2005 21:50 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Maybe I'm retarded...but.."
ormandj Member since:
2005-10-09

A simple little disclaimer like that would go a _long_ way. This _really_ clears up all of my qualms with the original story. Especially the second paragraph. Your review makes complete sense now, knowing that. I just felt it shouldn't be left to assumption "how" you write reviews. I'm fairly new here, I don't know your "style" and I'm sure there's lots of other new people visiting every day. I really enjoyed seeing a review of a *phone* here, it makes for variety. I thought it was well written. I just didn't know your style was simply pick out ALL negative things, and generalize "it's a good phonelinux " -translated to-> everything that I didn't mention as bad is wonderful. Thank you absolutely for clearing this up. It'll make reading your future reviews very easy. Maybe there should be a Bio section to this site where we can read about people's personality/writing style?

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: Maybe I'm retarded...but..
by ormandj on Tue 11th Oct 2005 21:27 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Maybe I'm retarded...but.."
ormandj Member since:
2005-10-09

To clarify myself:
--
And speaking of fair ratings, you said that you found my review to be a 'good job', you just disagreed with my final rating. If I am so bad on ratings, I guess your 1/10 that you rated my story is even worse then.
--

A good review that completely does NOT support the given rating is a bad story. A good review which backs up the given rating is a good story. In this care, I felt it 100% absolutely did NOT support the rating you gave it. After your previous posts, I completely agree it deserves the 7/10 rating. I hope this makes it clearer to you.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Maybe I'm retarded...but..
by fretinator on Tue 11th Oct 2005 21:03 UTC in reply to "Maybe I'm retarded...but.."
fretinator Member since:
2005-07-06

Why did this earn a 7/10?

Eugenia has a tendency toward "saying it like it is" that to some may come off as negativity. I appreciate the honesty, and know I am going to get the straight story. On the other hand, if it was my product, I might think differently.

Reply Score: 1

'eh?
by Anonymous on Tue 11th Oct 2005 23:32 UTC
Anonymous
Member since:
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750mAH batt? Thats it?

bet that has a LOOOOONG run time...

Reply Score: 0

My thoughts on the platform...
by gtada on Wed 12th Oct 2005 02:02 UTC
gtada
Member since:
2005-10-12

I have a similar phone, the Motorola A780. It kills me because it has so much potential, and if you're looking to get any real work done with a smartphone or write custom apps, I'd recommend a Symbian.

I agree that internet access is fantastic. The version of Opera running on this platform is its greatest asset. It renders OSNews.com wonderfully, and it even allows me to access my Gmail account anywhere I have signal.

The overall form factor of the device is a little on the large size for a phone, but when you compare it to other smartphones it's apparent how pocketable it really is. It isn't heavy, but it has a nice heft to it. It feels very solid, and the construction is top notch.

I really appreciated that instead of coming up with some new proprietary connector, it uses a mini USB cable for its charger and data. I have a particular beef with Sony-Ericsson and their proprietary connector because it seemed to wear out VERY quickly on my T616. You'll have no such problems here.

The European version of the A780 features GPS, while the Asian variant has voice features (recognition, text-to-voice, etc.). Sounds good, doesn't it?

As great as that is, the fun part of Linux (to me) is being able to muck around in an open system, and I can't help but feel that Motorola is purposely trying to stiffle development. Eugenia is right; it's next to impossible to get a Motorola native SDK (I've tried). Get this: to gain access to the GPS library (GPS is NOT in the E680i I believe), I have to sign a nondisclosure agreement with Motorola! How crazy is that?!! I'm left wondering why Motorola even put a GPS chip in there. So instead of allowing you to do cool things with the hardware, you're pretty much stuck with vanilla J2ME. Motorola does have a code site (MotoCoder.com), but I found it to be a pretty useless site with no bulletin board and less than helpful assistance. It's glaringly evident why there isn't more activity on this platform.

Last problem: Motorola won't directly supply you with new firmware. You can either send it to your provider (if they support it) or find it on a few Chinese sites, but it's a hassle and going through some of these alternate channels instead of an official channel is risky.

I don't know why Motorola is using Linux here. They're not taking advantage of the inherent strengths of Linux and taking on all of the major downfalls. They're losing out on a huge, obvious opportunity by keeping the platform so closed. The hardware is actually very cool, but they leave us with no real way to take advantage of it. All of the Linux embedded devices (that I've personally seen) seem to suffer from the same short battery life and sluggish user interfaces. Add Java on top of that, and you're left with a slow, expensive smartphone that requires a daily recharge.

My own personal rating of this phone:
Hardware 7/10
Software 3/10
Fun factor 0/10

To sum up, Motorola has the right hardware ingredients for a useful and fun platform, but in the end, their software and developer support absolutely kills it.

Reply Score: 1

RE: My thoughts on the platform...
by Eugenia on Wed 12th Oct 2005 02:05 UTC in reply to "My thoughts on the platform..."
Eugenia Member since:
2005-06-28

Well said. Motorola could do better.

Reply Score: 5

My review
by sharyanto on Wed 12th Oct 2005 04:42 UTC
sharyanto
Member since:
2005-07-14

Ok I'm currently using this phone as well as a Nokia 9300 Communicator. I agree with the chubby physical form, somewhat sluggish UI response, the lack of applications, and the no "Alt-Tab" key to switch between apps. I also suspect the GSM stuff on this phone is not so good: frequently SMS sending fails and/or sent in duplicates and sometimes if I pick up the phone to answer call there is no sound (have tried this with two GSM card from different operator with the same results). All in all, it's a pretty average phone. I prefer my Nokia 9300 very much (due to its wide screen, real QWERTY keyboard, and a plethora of available apps).

Some other minuses: unstellar battery life, no physical keyboard/numeric pad so it's pretty unusable when you want to type SMS with one hand (if only Motorola provided a numpad-style to type), contacts/groups management is not very powerful.

But I like the fact that it runs Linux. It's also one of the cheapest touch-screen smartphone on the market. It supports SD Card, Chinese, has a camera and FM-radio (though I never use it), stereo earphone (you have to buy this separately with Nokia 9300), voice command (I love it, but I can't add new commands or type with it). And there are a few other nice features, e.g. it clearly shows "SIM Card" SMS folder so you can easily move SMS messages from the GSM card and phone memory.

Reply Score: 1

RE: My review
by gtada on Wed 12th Oct 2005 09:03 UTC in reply to "My review"
gtada Member since:
2005-10-12

I agree. I haven't used a Nokia Communicator before, but I'm currently looking into it as my next phone.

My question is this: *why* do you like the fact that it runs Linux? Is it merely the geek factor of having a phone that runs Linux? I admit I'm guilty of this to some degree, but I don't think the way Motorola has implemented it really does anything for me or anyone else. I wouldn't care if it ran another kernel because it's buried under a proprietary (EZ-X GUI) and has no commandline. I would be very, very happy if Motorola released new firmware with Qtopia and a terminal program.

The rest I agree with. It's relatively cheap, and if only Motorola would open up the native SDK and access to the cool features (GPS, voice, etc.), I could see a phone like this competing with the Treo 650 and Communicator. Until that happens, I think this will remain a Linux geek toy.

In spite of it all, I'm a geek and like the phone itself, but Motorola is evil.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: My review
by sharyanto on Fri 14th Oct 2005 06:48 UTC in reply to "RE: My review"
sharyanto Member since:
2005-07-14

Why I like the fact that it runs Linux? Hm, I think it's more of a 'talk with your pocket/money' instead of 'geek factor'. I don't want to make Microsoft richer. If I buy a Windows Mobile based phone, a fraction of the price will go to the royalty income to Microsoft. I don't want to support a company which I think is unethical and not-consumer friendly.

Reply Score: 1

bad
by Anonymous on Wed 12th Oct 2005 16:27 UTC
Anonymous
Member since:
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The A760, A768, E680, A780 source code is very bad really.

I developed A760, A758, A780 from begaining to end.
I know the bad of the source code.

If the code is released out, you will laugue to the ground.

mot has no time to release the SDK, the people are busy on fight with eath other.

they want to us gtk to replace ......

they used lot of source code of GPL, but not put back.

Reply Score: 0

v It figures...
by Anonymous on Wed 12th Oct 2005 17:26 UTC
SSH
by Anonymous on Wed 12th Oct 2005 18:10 UTC
Anonymous
Member since:
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Can I SSH into the phone. What fun is a linux phone if I can't SSH or XDMCP/VNC into it for some good hacking times.

Reply Score: 0

RE: SSH
by Eugenia on Wed 12th Oct 2005 18:19 UTC in reply to "SSH"
Eugenia Member since:
2005-06-28

No, you can't SSH. But you can telnet to the phone, with a bit of effort though. No, it's not an uber-hacking Linux machine, it requires effort to change things into it.

Reply Score: 5