Which of these two *had* 3D acceleration?

So, can you guess which of the following two phones, a Tizen dev phone and an Openmoko Neo Freerunner (in practice a dev phone too) has or ever had 3D acceleration?


The one on the right never had 3D acceleration since it was made in 2008 (would require an unavailable blob, but it neither had the bandwidth for that), while the one on the left actually cam with 3D acceleration but lost it after flashing an upgrade image and there’s no legal way to get it back.

So… what happened? I found out that on June 13th a Tizen update was published. I hoped it would fix the phoning issue, making it finally possible to make calls (hint, it doesn’t solve that issue either), so I flashed it (it was a pretty easy and painless flash).

Reboot and… What.The.Hell? It was now very slow, almost as slow as the OpenMoko’s interface. There’s is no warning anywhere near that image, and being development snapshots I would expect a problem or two, a fix or two, etc… but not this… oh no… not this…

Apparently, the ARM Mali graphics chip that is inside requires distribution only with the hardware, no software distribution.

As such, no Tizen update can be installed without actually crippling the phone’s performance, and now I have no legal manner to get the driver back into the phone.

Knowing this, like Samsung must have known, the least Samsung should have done is keep a separate partition with the driver which would be mounted on system startup, thus providing the driver to any software update that they publish.

But oh no… that would be, what… too much trouble? Nobody would notice the performance loss?

Here goes another #facepalm moment!


I guess all that remains is try to boot from SD, if that is possible, then maybe one can setup an OpenEmbedded profile and perhaps get a real development platform for the phone.

One can only dream… but… this Tizen 1 dev phone looks more and more like a brick. Maybe it’ll be a shiny paperweight soon.

Which of these two can make calls?

So, can you guess which of the following two phones, a Tizen dev phone and an Openmoko Neo Freerunner (in practice a dev phone too) can make and receive calls?


The one on the right has been able to make calls since I received it in 2008 (albeit without buzz only after one year after a hardware patch performed by my heroes at TuxBrain at DebConf 9), while the one on the left, doesn’t even detect the SIM card.

The one on the left is made by a very successful phone maker with deep pockets, Samsung, while the one on the right was made in 2008 by a small company that had more will than capacity to do a great phone, OpenMoko, and still today carries my personal SIM with which I call and get calls from people, using a truly community built distribution based on OpenEmbedded called SHR.

This was my first #facepalm moment with this device with which I was very excited and had lots of expectations.


First look at a Tizen dev phone

By parts… This first one will just reflect up until the unpacking.

So I got lucky to be offered the possibility of having a Tizen development phone.

I was quite excited as it will also be using Enlightenment as window manager, a project where I have done some modest collaboration, mostly because meanwhile my kid was born and what little free time I had got a lot more constrained.

Anyways, the excitement got only bigger as I get a call from FedEx to help them free a package from Customs by explaining what relation I had with Samsung.

After they cleared it, I went to their station to get the box…


Yes, it was packed in a wooden box, all hammered in.

I thought it was a puzzle for opening, but I just decided to get the best puzzle tools ever for this kind of puzzle…


So here it finally was… A small phone sized box inside a huge 6 kg wooden box.


As I opened it, the contents where a phone… An immensely ugly phone (to be fair, it’s a generic development case and not a finished product which may even not have the same SoC), an USB/micro-USB cable, a battery, a US plug adapter and a very well hidden wall charger, and a nice business card from another developer with “Enjoy” written on it.


So yeah, I got mocked about the wall charger  🙂

Before knowing what it was, it gave zero clues of what it was, external GPS perhaps? I tried to pull the white part but it seemed stuck so I didn’t force it. It’s not like I have any kind of warranty, right? So be careful…

When  I asked around, light mocking came up but also an admission that I wasn’t the first one wondering what it was.  🙂 After forcing it for the first time, the next attempts came out with ease.

So, to finish, a little visual comparison of my phones…


NOTE: from left to right, my personal phone is the OpenMoko Neo Freerunner, my job’s phone is a Samsung Galaxy S (depicted in picture was my wife’s one as mine was taking the picture, both with Android ICS from Cyanogenmod 9) and at the right is the Tizen 1 dev phone. My SIM card was unloaded from Neo into the Tizen phone at the time of this picture, but after 4 years, Neo still makes and receives calls while Tizen 1 dev phone… doesn’t… support… calls… WTF? A story for another article…