OESF Portal | OESF Forum | OESF Wiki | LinuxPDA | #planetgemini chat on matrix.org | #gemini-pda chat on Freenode | #zaurus and #alarmz chat on Freenode | ELSI (coming soon) | Ibiblio

IPB

Welcome Guest ( Log In | Register )

2 Pages V   1 2 >  
Reply to this topicStart new topic
> Cosmo as a daily driver - experiences/review
Zarhan
post Feb 17 2020, 09:40 AM
Post #1





Group: Members
Posts: 122
Joined: 27-June 19
Member No.: 850,871



I've now been using Cosmo as a daily driver for a week now. I wanted to write a short summary on my experiences and things that I've picked up especially since I came from Nokia N900 (Maemo). Some of this is really basic Android stuff of course.

I'll start with the bad, since those points are rather small overall:
  • Planet Computer's communication and delays - not exactly the most responsive manufacturer.
  • Device is a bit too big and heavy. Trying to use this for prolonger periods of time results in pain on the wrist due to the static strain (holding that 320 g on one hand while touching or typing with the other). On weekend, I spent a two-hour car (as a passenger) passing time and by the end my left hand was sore. For quick checks or with a table to place the device - no problems whatsoever. I would have preferred a bit more compact keyboard, but it's not like there's much options in this space...
  • Certain stuff needs a bit more finish: Cover display likes to keep the CPU awake, costing power, the LEDs don't seem to really be customizable, documentation is missing...these will probably be fixed down the line. Right now I can get my battery to last for two full days, so it's okay-ish.
  • I haven't yet figured what exactly would be the best way to open the phone. The device is heavy but there doesn't seem to be any obvious indentations for "grab here to open". So I'll just lift the cover however appears best at the time...
The rest is pretty much all good, at least after a few configuration settings or necessary apps.
  • Community at OESF Forums: Wonderful. Thanks for all the hints, everyone (esp. regarding rooting and Devuan installation).
  • I was one of the lucky ones in the sense that my device's construction doesn't seem to have any flaws (no camera glass falling off etc). Hope it sticks.
  • Landscape mode Android is not supported on nearly all apps. So far I've just uninstalled if the app shows as ugly. There are plenty of alternatives in play store.
  • Related: Many "mobile sites" are apparently built for portrait as well. Workaround is to always request "desktop" view. At least with Firefox, you can use addon or just set your user-agent to spoof a desktop browser.
  • My apps so far that I've "settled on" (not counting e.g. games - those are bound to come and go):
    • Magisk for rooting. MagiskHide seems to work just fine for my banking app at least.
    • SMS Backup & Restore: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?...store&hl=en - I wrote a couple of Python scripts to extract my MMS & SMS messages from my N900 and convert them to the XML format of this application. The XML is reasonably readable, so I might keep this even for future backups even if it displays ads.
    • Nova launcher. The builtin launcher has the Google search bar, and also does not really seem to work in landscape mode. Also, lots of widgets are not really so good looking with the default launcher.
    • Microsoft Office suite (Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Outlook, Teams). So far I've mostly used Outlook & Teams. Outlook's default calendar view doesn't really work properly except in portrait mode, but the widget works. Luckily, supposed "3-day view" that actually shows the entire week works great. Other Office apps work just fine. I've also participated in MS Teams conferences.
    • Opencamera for camera works OK although I'm also struggling with what should the settings be (see https://www.oesf.org/forum/index.php?showtopic=35912 )
    • Notificon: This nice app allows you to customize sounds of notifications and also put them on a weekly/daily schedule. I use this to block MS Office's (work-related) notifications on weekends and outside of business hours. You can also set notification sounds per app if the app doesn't allow you to customize them directly.
    • Google Maps seems to be fine for navigation, including in car. Compass seems to work ok-ish even without calibration. I don't have a car mount, but there's a small cubby in my car where I can just put it on the rest.
    • Termux for Devuan installation (see thread on the forums) and generic command line hacking around. Unfortunately, Termux doesn't seem to have locale support. I occasionally need to connect to machines that use e.g. ISO-8859-1 (Latin 1) charset instead of UTF-8, and end result is ugly if there are any non-ASCII chracters. Due to this, I've also installed ConnectBot SSH client.
    • Firefox for browsing, with Saka key & UBlock addons at this point.
    • Flym as RSS reader. This one seems to be one of those that support landscape a bit better, although still not quite optimally in my view. Still, works for now.
  • Other points
    • I have created separate desktops for Work (Contains shortcuts to MS Office, Outlook's Calendar widget etc), Generic (has weather widget from Foreca, file manager, calculator, clock, maps etc), and Fun (essentially games). This approach seems to work for me. The Dock has phone, messaging, contacts, Firefox and Play store (I'll probably remove Play store from there after I have a stable set of apps).
    • Creating a throwaway account for Google services and turning off all tracking options is probably the best of all-worlds where I can be part of Android ecosystem while still giving Google as little as possible. Yes, I get it's still a bit silly considering I'm ok with Google maps (even though I turned wifi-based location off), but can't have everything.
    • The display text sizes seemed too big despite setting the font sizes to smallest in the settings. Using Fn+Shift+C/Fn+Shift-V you can adjust the text to be small enough.
    • As a method to stave off the RSI, I installed Saka key addon to Firefox. This allows (almost) full keyboard-based browsing. This allows me to hold the device with two hands, without having to have the other hand touching the screen. E.g. hitting "ff" will enumerate all clickable elements on a website, each with a letter, that I can just press to follow a link.
      => I haven't been able to find a key combination to move focus to the URL/Location bar! Using CTRL+N (new tab), qq (move to previous tab), CTRL+W as a workaround.
    • The display is in some cases a bit TOO wide. I also cannot get "reader" view to work on most websites. End result is that sometimes layout is wrong. As a workaround, I use splitscreen to limit the application width. The sad part is that many websites are fixed-width.
    • All basic call functions work ok, including conferences etc. Controlling call via CoDi seems to work as well, although I noticed that occasionally my face accidentally hits one of the call control buttons. I've learned to just keep the phone half a cm apart so I don't accidentally hit any of the controls. Would be better if the display would just turn off if by face is touching it. Purpose for the ambient light sensor?
As a summary, I'm satisfied with my Cosmo. It still needs a bit of polish, and I hope the later firmware updates will address that. I've been more or less waiting for a device like this ever since E90 just became too troublesome (Symbian....) to use, and I can now finally retire my N900 (or rather, keep it as a backup device).
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
maki.jouni
post Feb 17 2020, 11:44 AM
Post #2





Group: Members
Posts: 100
Joined: 22-June 19
From: Finland
Member No.: 850,543



That's pretty much what I also did.

First Nova launcher and enabled developers settings on android and set smallest width to 600, quite many apps and web pages are lot usable now. and FinQwerty for swapping Ä and Ö letter.

And exclude Magisk and Termux and swap GoogleMaps for Waze and Firefox to Brave (In Brave you can enable desktop mode for default)

Have to search a bit that Notificon -app, that sounds quite handy. Now I have done that for OnDutyMail with outlooks scheduled do not disturb setting (small bell icon)

Edit: "Device is a bit too big and heavy" - For me this is more like Pros than Cons. It's better that it have little bit weight than it's thin, light and fragile.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
spook
post Feb 17 2020, 05:57 PM
Post #3





Group: Members
Posts: 75
Joined: 24-June 18
Member No.: 824,977



I think that is an excellent write up and pretty much mirrors my experience. The only app that I might add that I find "essential" to make up for a few of the shortcomings of Android / the Cosmo is Tasker. I have used it to automatically switch to portrait when I rotate my phone (good for those pesky websites and apps that hate landscape!), also to change DPI for apps that work better on a "tablet" and then back for other apps with teeny tiny fonts, and lastly to silence the phone when I am at certain places at certain times (eg at home on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 12 and 2 when my bub is asleep). But Tasker has a bit of a learning curve - so it isn't for everyone.

Good pointer about the Firefox plugins. I have to try them!
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
TomJ
post Feb 18 2020, 03:49 AM
Post #4





Group: Members
Posts: 25
Joined: 2-January 20
Member No.: 862,685



I'd say the biggest annoyance is the CoDi registering commands from your hands that are simply holding the device when it's open. Otherwise it's giving me good service.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
jakfish
post Feb 18 2020, 08:45 AM
Post #5





Group: Members
Posts: 296
Joined: 12-September 10
Member No.: 91,772



Re: RSS Flym--if the app's display isn't up to snuff, you might try Handy News Reader, which appears to do all of Flym's stuff (including web scraping) and I find HNR does well with landscape.

Jake
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
KMM
post Feb 26 2020, 08:30 PM
Post #6





Group: Members
Posts: 13
Joined: 18-February 20
Member No.: 865,897



I'm using Notificon, but it doesn't seem to be stable, sometimes it works, but most of the time it doesn't.

And a question; is there a way to switch to mobile data from wifi automatically? (on a non-rooted device). Both mobile data and wifi need to be switched on all the time to switch between the two.
I searched on Google, but it looks like Android 9+ won't allow mobile data to be switched on by itself (for instance when I reboot my phone, or when turning on flight mode and then off).
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Zarhan
post Feb 27 2020, 01:43 PM
Post #7





Group: Members
Posts: 122
Joined: 27-June 19
Member No.: 850,871



QUOTE(KMM @ Feb 27 2020, 07:30 AM) *
And a question; is there a way to switch to mobile data from wifi automatically? (on a non-rooted device). Both mobile data and wifi need to be switched on all the time to switch between the two.
I searched on Google, but it looks like Android 9+ won't allow mobile data to be switched on by itself (for instance when I reboot my phone, or when turning on flight mode and then off).


I don't understand why not. Just click off the wifi symbol and mobile data stays on?

Thanks for the tip for Handy news reader - seems better than Flym!
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
aard
post Feb 28 2020, 04:28 AM
Post #8





Group: Members
Posts: 7
Joined: 6-February 20
Member No.: 865,185



After finally getting a SIM insert I was able to activati ESIM, once it rebooted with a SIM inserted. Then the Planet root image allowed me to restore everything without having an unlocked bootloader. I'm not using it as main device yet, but I use it a lot now. I generally have both the Cosmo and the Gemini with me, Cosmo in my pocket, Gemini in my bag. As I had the Gemini the behaviour change back to how I was using the N900 after a few years of non-keyboard phones happened already with the Gemini.

Initially I liked the Cosmo keyboard less than the Geminis, but after using it a while I quite like it.

Annoyances compared to the Gemini are:

- worse battery life
- worse touchscreen response. Got better after increasing pointer sensitivity, but still registers zero events when placed on a surface and not touching the frame while touching the screen
- app switcher doesn't have app screenshots, only blank or transparent frames
- automatic rotation is not working, even with additional software
- no SIM card in the rooted boot image (unless going the unlock bootloader + patch boot image route). Not a big issue currently as I initially needed root to restore, and currently can use the non-rooted image, but for daily use I'd like it rooted. Also losing some settings (like backlight) when switching between the images.
- orientation matters when in call - speaker/microphone don't adjust with orientation changes
- worse notifications. In theory cover display should be able to get better notifications, but it doesn't really. I generally care about having the type of notification displayed, configuring the 5 LEDs on the Gemini with different colours was perfect for this.

Better:

- more memory, both flash and RAM. Especially RAM was an issue on Gemini
- screen is usable with polarized sunglasses, in both orientations. On the Gemini display was only readable in portrait
- backlit keyboard
- significantly stronger hinges
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
KMM
post Feb 28 2020, 10:23 AM
Post #9





Group: Members
Posts: 13
Joined: 18-February 20
Member No.: 865,897



QUOTE(KMM @ Feb 26 2020, 08:30 PM) *
I'm using Notificon, but it doesn't seem to be stable, sometimes it works, but most of the time it doesn't.


It works well after all. Except for the voice notifications, unfortunately those don't work on my Cosmo.


Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
mmbika
post Mar 1 2020, 02:25 AM
Post #10





Group: Members
Posts: 27
Joined: 13-December 19
Member No.: 861,294



QUOTE(Zarhan @ Feb 17 2020, 09:40 AM) *
I've now been using Cosmo as a daily driver for a week now. I wanted to write a short summary on my experiences and things that I've picked up especially since I came from Nokia N900 (Maemo). .... I've been more or less waiting for a device like this ever since E90 just became too troublesome (Symbian....) to use, and I can now finally retire my N900 (or rather, keep it as a backup device).


Anyone coming from Motorola LapDock/WebTop experience, which was very similar in concept to Cosmo, i.e. Android on top of Linux or vice versa ... it did fail though, yet it was a pioneering effort of that time ... some comparisons might be interesting
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Kamikaze Comet
post Mar 15 2020, 12:27 PM
Post #11





Group: Members
Posts: 29
Joined: 10-March 20
Member No.: 866,807



I've also been using Cosmo Communicator as my daily driver. The CoDi display drives me nuts. It is suppose to be THE feature that makes this thing a functional phone. But no, it is the most annoying thing I've ever seen on a smart phone. It drains battery like crazy. It turns on things by itself. The animation is wacky and laggy.

Everything works better if I turn the CoDi off, but I'll miss notifications.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Zarhan
post Mar 15 2020, 12:31 PM
Post #12





Group: Members
Posts: 122
Joined: 27-June 19
Member No.: 850,871



QUOTE(Kamikaze Comet @ Mar 15 2020, 11:27 PM) *
I've also been using Cosmo Communicator as my daily driver. The CoDi display drives me nuts. It is suppose to be THE feature that makes this thing a functional phone. But no, it is the most annoying thing I've ever seen on a smart phone. It drains battery like crazy. It turns on things by itself. The animation is wacky and laggy.


It's been mentioned in several other threads that the battery drain issue due to CoDi is most likely fixable with firmware update - the one promised for later this month probably does something about it. Essentially, the CoDi display process for some reason holds a wakelock that prevents the CPU from ever going to sleep.

For me, the battery lasts for day and a half with CoDi on, so it's quite all right. Anyway, I expect that the next FW update will improve this bit significantly. Hopefully it also fixes the few other problems with CoDi.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Jeffers
post Mar 15 2020, 09:09 PM
Post #13





Group: Members
Posts: 24
Joined: 18-February 18
Member No.: 817,961



I don't find the CODI useful at all, since I'm using a smartwatch with the Cosmo. I'd love for PC to add the option to just completely disable the CODI in a later update, but I can't imagine that they'd offer that.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
SwordfishII
post Mar 15 2020, 10:20 PM
Post #14





Group: Members
Posts: 37
Joined: 12-February 20
Member No.: 865,555



QUOTE(Zarhan @ Mar 15 2020, 12:31 PM) *
For me, the battery lasts for day and a half with CoDi on, so it's quite all right. Anyway, I expect that the next FW update will improve this bit significantly. Hopefully it also fixes the few other problems with CoDi.


I get the same and OP gets 2 days. Most plug in at night so it's pretty much a non issue for most.

I would like to be able to see mms pictures on codi. Also slight annoyance but marking a text as read instructs me to open the cosmo. I can back out via right rocker button and it performed the action so not a huge deal.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Kamikaze Comet
post Mar 19 2020, 12:47 PM
Post #15





Group: Members
Posts: 29
Joined: 10-March 20
Member No.: 866,807



QUOTE(Zarhan @ Mar 15 2020, 03:31 PM) *
QUOTE(Kamikaze Comet @ Mar 15 2020, 11:27 PM) *
I've also been using Cosmo Communicator as my daily driver. The CoDi display drives me nuts. It is suppose to be THE feature that makes this thing a functional phone. But no, it is the most annoying thing I've ever seen on a smart phone. It drains battery like crazy. It turns on things by itself. The animation is wacky and laggy.


It's been mentioned in several other threads that the battery drain issue due to CoDi is most likely fixable with firmware update - the one promised for later this month probably does something about it. Essentially, the CoDi display process for some reason holds a wakelock that prevents the CPU from ever going to sleep.

For me, the battery lasts for day and a half with CoDi on, so it's quite all right. Anyway, I expect that the next FW update will improve this bit significantly. Hopefully it also fixes the few other problems with CoDi.


That is good news to hear. I like the idea of having a CoDi. I really hope I can use it normally.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post

2 Pages V   1 2 >
Reply to this topicStart new topic
1 User(s) are reading this topic (1 Guests and 0 Anonymous Users)
0 Members:

 



RSS Lo-Fi Version Time is now: 6th April 2020 - 02:44 PM