Android on the O2 Joggler

March 22, 2011 · Posted in Tech 

Joggler running Android

Joggler running Android

Last year I bought an O2 Joggler for the rather bargain price of £50 from my local O2 shop. A few weeks later I returned to see if I could buy another one, but they were out of stock and weren’t sure when they would get another one in. It later transpired that O2 have discontinued this line, which is a shame as it’s potentially an excellent product.

It’s a little x86 Atom-powered capacitive touchscreen computer that consumes around 8W, so is ideal for leaving on all the time, and it’s small so can be left on a shelf or worktop. The operating system is a Linux distro called OpenPeak and has been customised by O2 for the device.

Unfortunately, I think this is where O2 may have gone wrong – the device would be perfect running Android with it’s army of developers and massive collection of apps on the Android Market. As it was there were just a few apps developed for the O2 to use, such as Google Maps, but many glaring omissions, such as an email, Facebook or Twitter app.

The standard apps are all quite usable though and well designed. For a while I was happy using it for internet radio, music and videos. On occasions I found the music app a little buggy with a tendency to seize up every now and then, requiring a reboot.

Eventually temptation got the better of me and I wanted to try another o/s. The handy thing, as some clever folk have realised, is that the Joggler can boot from a suitably formatted USB stick. Initially I tried Ubuntu Netbook remix which was pretty cool, but ran slowly and wasn’t well suited to the touchscreen experience.

Then I found out that you can run Android-x86, which is a far better match for this kind of touchscreen device. It zips along quite nicely† with the Joggler’s combination of processor and RAM. Anyone with an Android phone will find the interface familiar and even nicer to use given the larger screen than you’d get on most phones.

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Best of all this solution will mean that you have access to apps, making the Joggler far more usable for different purposes. The only drawback is that Android-x86 can’t make use of the Android Market. This is a shame as it makes finding and installing apps a bit of a faff. I’ve had some luck finding useful apps on other app stores, such as AppCenter, but there’s not nearly such a good choice. Alternatively you can sometimes download the .apk file you need direct from the developers website.

In case you’re wondering how I got Android installed on my Joggler, here are some pointers that should get you going:
1) Find a blank 4GB USB memory stick (blank because you’re going to lose any existing data in this process).
2) Using these instructions, re-partition the USB stick.
3) As detailed, copy the files to the USB stick.

One tip would be: Don’t use the keylock as it doesn’t all fit on the visible touchscreen display and the only way to enter the combination is then to add a keyboard! I speak from experience 😉


† The only exception being the onscreen keyboard entry, which is rather laggy. However, if you use a USB hub, you can also plug in a keyboard and mouse, which allows full-speed text entry and is quite cool to try in itself 😉

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