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Author Topic: Linux version of iPhone for cheapos  (Read 2286 times)

dalebert

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Linux version of iPhone for cheapos
« on: April 22, 2009, 10:06 AM NHFT »

For $260, the Nokia N810 is a mini-computer with wifi, GPS, and can use VoIP anywhere it can connect to wifi. I presume it can do all of those things without a monthly service plan (can anyone verify?). With either error's service or about $6/mo or so from Skype, you can get a phone # for VoIP and call landlines anywhere in the U.S. and Canada with unlimited talk time.

Someone was showing me something like this that runs on Linux and I was very curious but I forgot to note what exactly it was so I did a search on "linux wifi phone" or something like that and this seemed to be it. Does anyone know of something similar to comparison shop this against? It's looking very appealing at the moment but I want to do my due diligence before spending $260. Can you hold this to your head and use it like a cell phone? Of Internet videos I've found, I've only seen it used like a speakerphone and I know you can hook up a headset to it, but I'm wondering if it has the mic and speaker positioned in such a way that you can have a relatively private conversation without a headset.

[youtube]VWIu2uCyetE[/youtube]
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VWIu2uCyetE
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doobie

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Re: Linux version of iPhone for cheapos
« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2009, 11:23 AM NHFT »

can use VoIP anywhere it can connect to wifi

Key point, you need to be able to connect to wifi....otherwise you'd need a normal service plan for everywhere else.
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dalebert

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Re: Linux version of iPhone for cheapos
« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2009, 11:38 AM NHFT »

Key point, you need to be able to connect to wifi....otherwise you'd need a normal service plan for everywhere else.

Yes, that's a good point that's worth mentioning. The iPhone is also a cell phone though I think you are restricted as to which carrier(s) you use. The whole point of this device is it's for cheapskates and doesn't (I think) have a monthly service plan. That monthly service plan is what gets you Internet and cellphone on the iPhone that works anywhere within a cell phone signal. This device is way cheaper on a monthly basis primarily because it doesn't attempt to do that. I think the gap is being closed somewhat by the fact that wifi access is really broadening.

What led me to look into this is that I gave up my AT&T cell plan for a T-Mobile pre-paid plan. I find that I pay as much as before even though I don't talk as much. So I looked into VoIP for a basic cheap way to make calls while at home (most of the time, I am) so I would only be using pre-paid while I'm out and about, and was looking at devices to make better use of VoIP and saw some nice phones for about $100 that will let you use your Skype account from anywhere there's wifi. For $160 more, it seemed I could get that and quite a bit more.

I think it depends on your lifestyle. If I were on the road a lot, like if I were a real estate agent for instance, about $75 a month might be a good deal for really broad access. Since I work from home and spend the vast majority of my time out within a short distance of some open wifi, it feels wasteful to spend that. The difference between $6 or $7/mo vs. $75 seems pretty big. I also just love the idea of going with linux and snubbing the heavily proprietary Apple stuph.
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dalebert

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Re: Linux version of iPhone for cheapos
« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2009, 01:54 PM NHFT »

I asked about it on YouTube and apparently this device does NOT function on its own as a cell phone. It will act as a speaker phone and is fine for video conferencing and things like that over wifi, but if you want to have a semi-private conversation, i.e. where only you can hear the person on the other line, you need some additional accessory like a bluetooth earpiece or a headset or some such. That makes it less appealing to me than a much less expensive wifi phone which would basically be like a cell phone that uses your Skype to make and receive calls over a wifi connection. It would be more compact as well instead of me having to carry two devices. Not sure I care that much about being able to browse the Internet when I'm out and GPS and such. I feel like I spend too much time on the computer as it is.
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K. Darien Freeheart

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Re: Linux version of iPhone for cheapos
« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2009, 02:31 PM NHFT »

I can confirm, the Nokia "Internet Tablets" are not phones. A GSM slot has been the most requested feature for a LONG time.

It's also about time for Nokia's follow up. The n810 is about at the end of it's life cycle and with Maemo 5 it's likely there'll be a newer models soon.
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dalebert

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Re: Linux version of iPhone for cheapos
« Reply #5 on: April 24, 2009, 01:32 AM NHFT »

It's also about time for Nokia's follow up. The n810 is about at the end of it's life cycle and with Maemo 5 it's likely there'll be a newer models soon.

Crap, I just ordered an N810!
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K. Darien Freeheart

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Re: Linux version of iPhone for cheapos
« Reply #6 on: April 24, 2009, 03:57 PM NHFT »

Well, I don't think Nokia's announced anything yet, it's just a speculation.

The N770 was repeased in 2005 and the n810 in 2007. The release of the n810 was preceded by the release of Maemo 4 (the OS).

Maemo 5 was released a few months ago, and it would be near-ish the 2 year mark.

I should also say, it's not exactly a bad thing. The n770 has two SD slots (or some bit of trivialness) and some other minor feature. the n810 didn't have this, but improved some other things. There's divide over which one was "better" but it really comes down to what you use it for to determine which is "better".
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dalebert

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Re: Linux version of iPhone for cheapos
« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2009, 04:19 PM NHFT »

The Nokia N810 dropped $20 right after I just bought it. *sigh*

Warning: If you use any of the Amazon links in this post to buy something, a portion of the proceeds will go to support Anarchy In Your Head.

Warning 2: The money will be used for cheap hookers and booze.

But anyhoo, I've got a great calling plan going now for people who are extra uber cheapo.

Skype for most calls. It's $6 a month (if you buy a year in advance) and that $6 gets you unlimited calling of landlines and your own phone # so landlines can call you. It includes free forwarding, so you just set it to forward your calls to your T-Mobile pre-paid cell if you don't answer within a specified period of time. Alternatively, it has voice mail. T-Mobile pre-paid is 10 cents a min when you buy $100 at a time and the mins last up to a year. If you don't want to splurge on a portable phone (about $100 to use your Skype anywhere with wifi), you can get an adaptor for about $10 after rebate that you plug into your computer USB port and then plug any phone into it.
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Pat K

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Re: Linux version of iPhone for cheapos
« Reply #8 on: April 30, 2009, 02:12 AM NHFT »

"2: The money will be used for cheap hookers and booze."

Just as long as it's not used for cheap booze.
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dalebert

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Re: Linux version of iPhone for cheapos
« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2009, 06:33 AM NHFT »

"2: The money will be used for cheap hookers and booze."

I think I should have said "Filipino hookers" ala the movie, Grandma's House. Also, I should change "booze" to "opium dens".
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Pat K

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Re: Linux version of iPhone for cheapos
« Reply #10 on: April 30, 2009, 06:54 AM NHFT »

"2: The money will be used for cheap hookers and booze."

I think I should have said "Filipino hookers" ala the movie, Grandma's House. Also, I should change "booze" to "opium dens".


It's your post feel free to revise and extend your remarks.
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K. Darien Freeheart

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Re: Linux version of iPhone for cheapos
« Reply #11 on: April 30, 2009, 01:28 PM NHFT »

Quote
But anyhoo, I've got a great calling plan going now for people who are extra uber cheapo.

Skype for most calls. It's $6 a month (if you buy a year in advance) and that $6 gets you unlimited calling of landlines and your own phone # so landlines can call you. It includes free forwarding, so you just set it to forward your calls to your T-Mobile pre-paid cell if you don't answer within a specified period of time. Alternatively, it has voice mail. T-Mobile pre-paid is 10 cents a min when you buy $100 at a time and the mins last up to a year.

So... The question I have (I'm trying to cut costs EVERYWHERE I can) "where is your wifi coming from?". If you're paying for DSL or cable at home, you need to factor that price in as well. Normally I'd say "But I have that anyway" except that living temporarily in WV while i repair the motorhome, committing to a contract for those things is out of the question and none of the cell internet providers provide speeds worth paying for at all, I DON'T have internet. Are T-Mobile Hotspots so prevalent there that you're able to utilize those?
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dalebert

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Re: Linux version of iPhone for cheapos
« Reply #12 on: April 30, 2009, 04:49 PM NHFT »

So... The question I have (I'm trying to cut costs EVERYWHERE I can) "where is your wifi coming from?"

It only makes sense if you already have a decent Internet service for other reasons. It would be pointless to get Internet specifically for VoIP. If you have cable TV, (but not a cable modem) a cheaper option is probably cable phone service and you can probably get a discount by bundling. Internet is something I will always have to have. I freelance from home and run my website, etc. Right now I split the cost with roommates so it's not much.
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dalebert

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Re: Linux version of iPhone for cheapos
« Reply #13 on: May 06, 2009, 02:46 PM NHFT »

I have to warn people. Now that I've had the device for about a week, it is definitely not what I would describe as "plug n play". The interface has been very tedious at times and I've had a lot of what I can only describe as extremely buggy behavior. I'm hoping this is not typical and that mine just has some software problems that I'll be able to resolve with some help from online.

Examples:

Skype is not networked very well. If it's running in more than one place, you will get notifications of "new" messages or call attempts multiple times.

The bluetooth headset has mostly not worked correctly with the device though this may have recently corrected magically. The last few times I used it, it seemed to work. Anyway, this problem SEEMS to be on the N810 side based on my observations rather than being the headset's problem. Almost every time I've wanted to use it, I've had to manually go into the settings on the device, disconnect, and reconnect. It's supposed to connect automatically when you activate the headset. A big point of the headset was convenience so you can answer calls without taking out the N810 and also because it otherwise functions as a speaker phone only and your calls cannot be semi-private.

Skype will go dormant for no clear reason regularly. The "call" button grays out and it stops receiving calls until I restart the application. This may have something to do with going out of wifi range and back in, but I've seen it happen when I've hardly moved. It appears random right now.

When you are browsing the web, you can't just type anarchyinyourhead.com for instance. You have to actually type http://anarchyinyourhead.com which is particularly retarded, though it's not bad after you've visited a site because it autocompletes.

I'll post more as I think of them or as I manage to resolve these issues.
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Recumbent ReCycler

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Re: Linux version of iPhone for cheapos
« Reply #14 on: May 08, 2009, 12:05 PM NHFT »

I have a N800, which is newer than the N770, but older than the N810.  To get it to work well, you want to make sure you have a current distribution of the OS.  I've found that when I'm using Skype, it will sometimes go dormant after I end a call.  Losing a wi-fi connection will also cause it to go dormant.  I don't get a lot of calls, so it's not so much of an issue for me.  I think you can set it up so that if your Skype is off, you can have calls forwarded to your cell phone.  Skype isn't the only voip service you can get on your N810.  Ryan McGuire of Nashua has a N800, and actually knows how to do some of the programming that can make these things more useful.  He uses a different voip service on his Nokia.  Zim (I've forgotten his real name) has a N810, and might be able to give you some pointers.  He and I have made video calls using our Nokia pocket computers.
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