More Joggler upgrades


For an old defunct product, the O2 Joggler continues to surprise. If you still have one and have been neglecting it at all recently, there are a few potential upgrades around at the moment:

  • There was nothing actually wrong with the original O2 software, except that it was just a little… limited. The refresh of PnP to PnP Mk II should give the built in software a much needed boost.
  • Perhaps more surprisingly O2 are releasing an update themselves! It’s good to see that O2 are tidying up loose ends before deserting the Joggler completely. I’m interested to see just what the update will do, so my Joggler is back to running the original software for now. In case you’ve done a little too much hacking, there’s a reflashing tool which might help ahead of the April 30th update.
  • For me, the most promising Joggler hack is still the Android image, and even this is getting an upgrade. It’s not quite done yet but even so the Ice Cream Sandwich port looks like it was made for the Joggler!

And people are still hacking, so these probably won’t be the last upgrades!

Update: well the deO2ification update finally arrived on my Joggler and despite thinking I knew what to expect, I was really disappointed by one thing that vanished with the update. I was expecting the radio app to go, but I’m actually going to miss the O2 clock! If you’re more interested in replacing the radio, I can definitely recommend the SqueezePlay OS. It really works well on the Joggler and is probably the most straightforward replacement to the newly updated stock OS. The only slight problem is that I haven’t managed to get it to play any of the BBC channels so far. (18 May 2012)

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Enjoy Android on O2’s Joggler in 3 easy steps


A few people have asked after my last Joggler post, so here’s how to unlock the potential of your dusty Joggler…

Step 1 – Prepare a USB stick

Follow the instructions at the top of the Android Prebuild Image page of the Joggler Wiki. I used the simple option, writing the empty partition .img file from Christian with the Image Writer for Microsoft Windows tool.

Step 2 – Download Android image

There are a few Android images around, but you can now download the best image I’ve found so far from Mijuu’s Porting Life blog.

Step 3 – Enjoy

Just unzip the image to the Android partition, boot up* and enjoy.

* I still haven’t made it to the Hursley Chinese lessons so I did have to switch to English. This is easier with the latest image which has a language option in grub.cfg – change it from LANG=zh to LANG=en before booting. To change the keyboard, long-press the text entry field and change the input type.

Step 3a – Get the market working

To get the most out of Android on the Joggler you’ll definitely want to install a few apps. Thanks to Angelo, it’s easy to get the Market working; the latest instructions are on the Joggler Wiki.

And finally, a few links which may be of use:

Updated: updated steps for latest version, Mijuu Release 1.2.3/Android 2.2.2. (22 June 2011)

Update: James Pearce has been doing some great work on creating a pre-loaded image to make it easier to get Android up and running on a Joggler. I haven’t tried the tweaked images but they seem well worth a look to avoid headaches coaxing the Market in to life using the vanilla image. (11 August 2011)

Update: the 1.2.3 release from Mijuu is probably still the best version of Android I’ve found for the Joggler, but there have been a few updates since I originally wrote this post. (3 April 2012)

Joggler OS


For the last couple of days I’ve finally begun to seriously consider deserting the standard O2 Joggler OS. I’ve tried a few alternatives since I first got the Joggler last year but, despite the limitations of the O2/OpenPeak software, none of them have tempted me to switch permanently. The pros have outweighed the cons enough to keep it in regular use… so far…

Pros:

  • It’s simple
  • It works pretty reliably
  • The traffic app is quite handy
  • The  internet radio is better than DAB
  • It streams music from my router

Cons:

  • It’s limited
  • The traffic/radio/music apps are pretty basic
  • No new apps – O2 are clearly not interested in the Joggler any more
  • The calendar is terrible
  • The SDK is disappointing

The O2 calendar app itself was more usable than many I’ve tried but it ultimately failed, mainly because it never actually shows you what’s in the calendar unless you go looking. It really needed to display reminders on the clock screen. It also relied on the O2 servers for all the data, which tended to be really unresponsive, and was certainly no good with an unreliable broadband connection. As for the SDK, I’ll admit to being a bit biased, not being a Flash developer. It still wasn’t great though.

First up, a couple of strong contenders. There are others but for me the Joggler isn’t just a small server to run some Linux variation on.

Jolicloud

I really like the idea of Jolicloud, and it was pretty simple and finger friendly. Unfortunately it always felt a bit sluggish on the Joggler, and it didn’t seem to replace the combination of O2 apps I was happy with, or open the door to new and interesting possibilities.

MeeGo

MeeGo is another OS that should be well suited to an always on touch screen device. I tried the image hosted on bug10738.openaos.org a while ago and it did work really well but, again, it always felt like the Joggler was struggling a bit. Definitely lots of potential though, and I would probably have spent a bit more time experimenting with MeeGo if I hadn’t tried Android…

Android

I wasn’t really expecting much from Android, having seen less than enthusiastic reviews of previous attempts with Android 1.6, but I tried a more recent 2.2 version. First impression was that it was way more responsive than either Jolicloud or MeeGo, and the Android UI is a perfect fit for the Joggler. The first image I tried did have a couple of problems: the screen was a bit fuzzy and the the replacement for the usual Android buttons wasn’t ideal (I liked the gestures but you have to switch between them and being able to get at the notifications). Still, I had seen my Jogglers future, and it had a little green robot in it.

Downloading the second image was marginally more tricky because it wasn’t in English, but it has been well worth it because the screen is rock solid now. It also has virtual buttons in the status bar, which aren’t as fun as the gestures, but work all the time which is a bonus.

So now I just need to find replacements for the O2 apps I use the most. I’m planning to try out Dale’s traffic checker at some point, but TomTom now make their live traffic service available free on the web, which works ok:

Certainly more detailed than the O2 traffic app! It looks like there are a few music apps to try out as well, and I’m definitely keen to download the Android SDK to finally write my first ‘Joggler’ app!!

New clock radio


I managed to resist temptation during O2’s first Joggler special offer, but after having a look at someone else’s I failed to resist the second time round. If you can find an O2 cashback deal on their mobile broadband dongle, it’s even possible to get a Joggler for £35, although I must admit I’m a bit of a cynic when it comes to cashback offers.

The Joggler doesn’t appear to have got particularly good reviews and in trying to describe what a Joggler is, it’s easy to see why people are skeptical; it’s a bit like a really bad iPhone that you a) can’t use to phone anyone and b) can’t use outside your house. The software that comes with the Joggler is disappointing, which doesn’t help. It’s a shame because I think the basic principles for the apps are good as far as they go, but the execution is just not there yet. For example, the guide rightly notes that a tap-and-hold is not intuitive, but to move or delete apps that is exactly what you have to do. I also quite like being able to tap the time to display the clock screen saver straight away, but that isn’t exactly obvious either. The on screen keyboard is inconsistent, although I have on seen two so far. There’s a ‘commonly used’ information icon, but it’s so uncommon that I don’t think I’ve actually seen it. Right up there next to the home icon for every app would be nice. Browsing through music or photos is painful. The messaging app doesn’t allow short SMS codes. Let’s just say that there’s plenty of areas for improvement, although it is just possible that things will get better: the Joggler does get updates and something decent may yet turn up in the Joggler app store!

You might think that I’m disappointed by the Joggler, but I’m actually very happy with it, especially for the price. One big bonus is that the hardware is excellent, although even here there is one tiny omission… how can it possibly not have some kind of SD card slot? That just seems mad. Still, unlike a few people I know, I’m not quite ready to ditch the O2 software and replace it with something completely different. Despite shortcomings with the current apps, I like the concept and it’s certainly good enough for the (reduced) price. For example, I’ve been using the internet radio a fair bit; it disconnects now and then but is otherwise far better than DAB radio. I’ve also been checking the traffic app most mornings. It’s not great (I wish it at least had motorway junctions marked on the map) but it’s good enough to see when the worst of the morning rush is over. I would really like to use a calendar app as well and, having tried the google one, I may actually sign up for an O2 calendar to see how it compares. Google calendars are fine, but I don’t want to see all my google calendars on the Joggler and I couldn’t see any way to pick which calendar(s) to show in the app.

So for now, apart from a bit of tinkering (downloading Ubuntu for the Joggler at the moment for a quick look), I’m planning to leave it mostly as is. In the future it would be nice to get it to run the few bits I have on my other home server,  some home automation apps would be interesting, a decent feed reader instead of that Sky news rubbish would be handy, an Opera mini app would be great, etc. etc. Thinking about getting hold of the Joggler SDK to see what that’s like.

I was collecting a few handy looking links while investigating whether to buy one…

…but Graham and Nathan have that pretty well covered already.

All in all, £35 for a hackable internet radio isn’t bad. And I do really like the clock!