O2 announce O2 Joggler Home Appliance

March 6th, 2009 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

O2 Joggler

This is the new O2 Joggler Home Appliance, with it’s 7″ touchscreen, launched yesterday by O2 UK.  It’s an OpenFrame-based products (although it has to be said, there’s very little that’s Open about their products, more below), which offers a chance to become the focal point for the whole family (especially if they are all O2 customers…)

It comes with a range of applications built in, with options to download more over time.  These include:

  • Weather information (from Sky News Weather)
  • Road Traffic information (from TrafficMaster)
  • News and Sports (Sky News and Sky Sports)
  • Ability to show photos (stored on it’s 1GB internal memory, or from USB stick)
  • Ability to play music / video (either local or streamed from your PC; although iTunes format not supported, which is unfortunate given O2’s iPhone exclusive)
  • Ability to play games, like Sodoku
  • Tools (alarm clock, calculator)

In fact, O2 have already announced that during May the following additional applications will be available:

  • Messaging; send up to 50 free SMS text messages to any UK mobile per month
  • Internet Radio support

However, one of the key selling points of this device is the calendar, which is available both on the device and as a standalone free service on the internet.  “Appointments, birthdays, school runs, work deadlines and more can all be stored on the O2 Joggler’s calendar, which will text handy reminders to family members’ O2 mobile phones.”  That’s last point is quite key; the reminders by SMS are only available to O2 UK customers, which I guess is O2 trying to encourage the whole family to select their mobile network and remain loyal.

It connects to your home Broadband either wirelessly or using an ethernet cable, and needs a permanent power supply (no batteries). There is no in-built SIM and therefore no ongoing costs or monthly subscription, and will be available next month (6th April) at £150, or will be free if you elect to take this device instead of a new handset when your contract is up for renewal.  However, this upgrade route is only open to those who are on 18 or 24 months contracts, ie not PAYG or Simplicity (SIM only) customers, although PAYG customers can use part of their upgrade discount to reduce the price of the Joggler, and it’s not available at all as an upgrade deal to corporate customers.

Mobile Industry Review were at the launch, and have even produced a short video and their opinion of the device here.

The device is running a dedicated O2 specific OpenFrame firmware, which although it runs on Linux underneath is not an open platform.  As OpenFrame firmwares are only provided to companies who sell these devices like O2, there is no ability (yet) to hack a different firmware onto this device, or to remove the O2 branding.  Other devices who have used the OpenFrame software have had additional applications, such as the ability to display photos from Flickr, videos from YouTube, and support for reading RSS feeds, all missing from the O2 device (as Mobile Industry Review point out, some even have a Domino’s Pizza option, but not this one), which does show the potential missed opportunity here.

Mobile Industry Review also point out that they are aware some of the other UK mobile operators are planning similar devices, so this may well be an interesting type of device to keep your eyes on.  However, right now, with no support for syncing the calendar from work diaries, or even Google Calendar, nor support for being able to sync the calendar onto phones (irrespective of whether they are S60, Windows Mobile, BlackBerry or iPhone), it does appear they have missed a trick here; an OpenSource equivalent of this, which offered access to other solutions such as Apple’s Mobile.Me or Google would be more popular, and fit better into the likely customer base.

Also announced by O2 is a new family bolt-on for O2 customers.  One O2 customers pay extra each month for the bolt-on and this allows them to add a number of other O2 customers into their “family” group (no pricing or maximum numbers available) and once setup, all parties can call, text or MMS each other for free.  Link these two solutions together, and you have the potential for the O2 Joggler to become the hub of a small family’s communications, as long as you don’t want to share the calendar from beyond the device.

All in all, an interesting product, but with rumours of new iPhones due out in the next few months, now might not be the best time to use up your O2 upgrade on this device…


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3 Responses to “O2 announce O2 Joggler Home Appliance”

  1. bill Says:

    Interesting thing could happen to this….. http://www.hackthejoggler.com

  2. O2 Joggler add free messaging | UK Gadgeteer Website Says:

    […] O2 launched the O2 Joggler back in March (see here), they stated that they would introduce free Messaging and Internet Radio during May.  Well, […]

  3. O2 and PURE announce Internet Radio collaboration | UK Gadgeteer Website Says:

    […] (Weather, Road Traffic, News, Sports, local photo display, and messaging).  In fact, back in the March launch, O2 talked about Messaging and Internet Radio following in May, although only the Messaging support […]

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