Android on Freerunner: First Impressions

Installing Android on the Freerunner couldn’t be easier.  Download the gzipped tar or zip file from koolu.com and unpack it onto a microSD card. A file with MD5SUMs is included so the unpacked files can be checked with
md5sum -c ./md5sums
on the commandline.

postscript: I forget not everyone has all the tools. If you have to use Windows you can get md5sum and other handy things from GnuWin32. Md5sum is part of the TextUtils package.

Put the card into the Freerunner then hold the Freerunner AUX button and press power to boot from NOR. At the NOR menu choose “Boot from microSD (FAT+ext2)”. The install from there is automated. It does overwrite everything in NAND on the phone and uses the microSD card for storage so I don’t know yet whether Android can dual boot with other distributions on the Freerunner.

I did some dishes while the install proceeded (daughter and friends were dropping by, gotta clean up a bit!) On return I did a quick press on the power button to be greeted with a screen looking like…

Android locked screen

So, my first question was “What’s the Menu button?” Fortunately answers are easy to find in places like the OpenMoko wiki Android usage page.

With buttons figured out I was able to begin playing with Android on the Freerunner. Some initial impressions:

– It’s pretty!
– There is a lot here to play with!

Sounds a bit like a new girlfriend at this point doesn’t it? 🙂

– Screen scrolls sideways, displays Google search bar on one side
– Dialer is fairly finger friendly
– Speakerphone does not work
– There are a ton of ring tones and wallpapers
– Power button brings up context sensitive icons
– Calls seem to sound OK on the other end
– Calls are a bit buzzy on my end, but not too bad

That’s it for now, gotta run. More later…..

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