The o2 Joggler is selling now on o2 and you can get it free with some upgrades. You may have seen TV
advertisements for it, which look a bit like this..
The ads tell you how it’ll replace your fridge door as a way to remind you of events. The idea is great, and the
thought of having a device in the kitchen, bedroom or lounge which will inform you of upcoming birthdays,
anniversaries and appointments is fantastic.
This isn’t everything though. The device also packs in a music, video and picture player which will stream media
from your PC, USB stick or on-board storage. There’s news from Sky, plus sports news and weather information.
You can even check traffic data with a 2D map and there’s games and a help function if you get stuck.
We’ve done our usual video tour around the device. Click here to see my rather late-night introductory video, which features our cat meowing in the background. If you go direct to YouTube you can hit the “HQ” button to see it in higher quality…
This second part of the video shows a bit more on the calendar feature. This one is perhaps best viewed later if you want to read through the review first, or just check it out now if you want to speedy review! 🙂 Again go direct to YouTube and click “HQ” to get the better quality version.
The o2 Joggler is actually an OpenPeak
OpenFrame with some o2 tweaks. It appears to be using a Linux back-end but this appears to be some sort of
embedded version and is by no means an open platform. Once removed from the box it’s plain to see why the
packaging is so large – that rear “leg” is fixed and presumably has something to do with WiFi pickup. Either
that or it’s just fixed in place to stop the whole thing being knocked over every five minutes. You also get the
power-pack, ethernet cable, cleaning cloth (to keep that screen smudge free) and a manual. The unit itself is a
fairly slender frame and doesn’t really look much different to most of the “dumb” digital photo frames you see
on the market. The screen is bright and vivid and pictures are crystal clear and incredibly sharp. The hardware
itself is pretty spectacular with a good design and no skimping on build quality.
The back panel houses an ethernet port, power socket and 3.5mm audio port for your headphones or, we presume,
stereo speakers which are to arrive later. On the side there’s a solitary USB port for your USB stick. The only
issue I had with this is that, once the stick is inserted, it sticks out like a sore thumb a sorta ruins the
look of the thing. Perhaps putting this at the back, at least an additional one, would sort that. Inside you’ve
got 1GB of storage for storing data locally.
The main touch screen is fantastic and reacts to even a light touch perfectly. Scrolling, navigating and
entering details with the on-screen keyboard is extremely well done.
Once you power on and get past the boot screen you’re met with a grid system showing the choices available to
you. The first, and unfortunately most valuable and most disappointing, is the calendar option. This is the
lynchpin and sadly disappoints. It interacts with an online o2 calendar system on yourfamily.o2.co.uk and there’s the usual
sign-in to go through. Once you’ve entered your mobile number (which doesn’t necessarily need to be an o2 one)
you can have it text you when an important event or appointment is due. The calendar system itself looks lovely,
with a heavy Web 2.0 feel and an easy, flowing interface. You can see me adding an appointment below. I can add
family mobile numbers in and have a text sent out to them too, or add my own little theme to the day to add an
Some of you may have already spotted the immediate problem with the screenshot above. I’ve chosen a start time
for us to go and see Aunt Bessie, but there’s no end time. It’s at 6.30PM but there’s no way of me saying,
“Finance Meeting – 9.30AM – 11.30AM” – it’s just a start time, so you don’t know if one appointment is going to
bump into another later down the line. Worse still, there’s no checking, and I can quite happily stick another
appointment bang on top of the first one like this..
..so now I’ve double-booked myself already. OK, perhaps I can forgive this. It is, after all, billed as a
“fridge door replacement”, and you’ve not got any real appointment-clash-detection on those post-it’s stuck on
the fridge, have you?
Unfortunately this isn’t the only issue, because the o2 Joggler will merrily sit there like an digital lemon and
not even tell you about Aunt Bessie, the barbeque or the finance meeting. No matter what the setting, it’ll just
sit in the corner of your room and look at you. Why this is I don’t know, you can have the screensaver (which
it’ll initiate if you wander off and don’t tap the screen for a while) show your photos (which is what normal
digital photo frames do anyway) and two different types of clock. That’s it. There’s nothing else. You have to
manually walk up to it, tap “Calendar” and check to see if you’ve got any events on. Sure, you’ll get a text on
your phone if it’s an o2 mobile and you’ve set the calendar to alert you, but other than that you need to
actually interact with the Joggler to see what’s happening. I don’t do that with my fridge door, it just tells
Next up is the pictures viewer. This works well and shows off the picture-perfect screen. You can use the
interface to copy files from your USB stick to the on-board 1GB memory by inserting your USB pen, clicking the
“USB” button and then checking the files you want to copy. Click “Add” and it’ll move it to the internal memory
and you can remove the slightly sticky-out USB pen.
Yes, 1GB isn’t much, especially when a standard photo frame
will cope with your USB pen being hidden neatly around the back and your can have the size you want. There’s
various options available including a variety of display modes (zoom, best fir, stretch) and you can choose how
much time delay you’d like between each photo.
The music button takes you into a similar file system where you can play MP3’s, WAV and WMA files from internal
storage or USB. Again you can copy files from your USB stick GUI where you can choose on-board music. There’s a
skip button (forward or back) plus a play, pause and stop but alas there’s no way of scooting through a song
with a time-line to find your favourite bit. This is really awkward when you’re listening to long music mixes or
podcasts – you just can’t skip through to any section of the music file.
The video player is again a fairly similar setup and in testing it seemed to play quite happily with all sorts
of formats including DivX AVI etc. The manual quotes MPEG-2, MPEG-4 part 2, MPEG-4 part 10 (H.264), WMV 9, DivX,
VC1 and FLV as compatible formats, which ain’t bad at all. Again you can copy movies and videos from your USB
pen onto the on-board storageby pressing “USB” and then “Add”. Simple and quick, but again there’s no way of
skipping through your video – a real shame if you’ve got a home video you want to show and the “good bit” is a
few minutes in.
News is fed from Sky News. I presume it’s an RSS reader of sorts here but it displays it rather well. A list of
news stories are shown and, once you click on one, a preview image and news details will appear in a comfortable
and readable font size which you can scroll through.
I’m not totally sure why it doesn’t use the whole screen here. It would’ve been nice to have made the most of the screen as you find yourself doing a lot of scrolling.
Sports is again from Sky News and it follows exactly the same functionality and layout as the news. Don’t forget
that, if you’ve started a music file playing, it’ll play in the background while you do all this stuff. This at
least is a nice touch.
Weather is again pushed down from Sky. Choose your local city and keep updated with the weather where you are.
In theory this is great, but as usual your most local city is probably miles and miles from where you are. I
punched in lots of local cities and, in the end, had to go with Birmingham – some 30 miles away. Perhaps the
list is short because you have to scroll through every city – there’s no way of entering the first two letters
of a city to narrow it down, or even the first letter alone. Once you do find a cirt though it’s a very pretty
animated screen that appears and shows todays weather and the days ahead.
The traffic information is provided by Trafficmaster and you’re shown a 2D map of the UK which you can zoom in
on. Despite going into maximum zoon we found that there was only really a few major roads displayed. This, though, is information provided by Traffic Master themselves and it appears to be the highest level of detail we could get from their website too. This is OK if
you’re on one of our motorways or “A” roads, but not so useful for the school run.
That, though, is pretty much it. You can also stream media from a PC somewhere else in your house too provided you’ve setup Windows Media correctly. I wasn’t able to simply share a drive, which would be nice. It’ll use your Windows Media
library and although this feature did work well I found that the option was in tucked away in “Tools” and not
integrated within each feature in a similar way to how “USB” is shown within Pitures, Music and Videos. It’s
called “Connect and Play” and I’d like to see this promoted more.
Also with “Tools” you’ve got an alarm clock function and calculator whilst on the main screen a couple of o2
services are accessible from the Joggler.
If there’s some good things to say about the innards of the Joggler then I’d have to give a big tick to the WiFi
setup, which is easy and pain-free through the “Settings” option. You can also twiddle around with brightness
settings here along with time settings and the screensaver. There’s also some information about the software
version you’re using an a button to upgrade the firmware. This doesn’t do anything right now apart from telling
me there’s no upgrade available. This, unfortunately, is needed badly.
In it’s current form the Joggler doesn’t add many useful features that aren’t already available on most digital
photo frames. My normal photo frame can play MP3s from a card, internal memory or network. It can also show
pictures and video. Sure, my normal frame can’t do news and sports but the feeds don’t make full use of the
excellent hardware available and the weather feature doesn’t list enough towns or cities. The calendar is almost pointless unless you physically access it every day and the one solitary
game that’s included will keep you occupied for about 7 seconds.
You may have noticed a couple of greyed-out options though – Email and Internet Radio. Both are to become
available from December 2009 although I’ve heard on the t’interwebs that these will arrive in May. I’ve been
pressing “Software Update” quite a bit and today is May 31st, so that’s probably not going to happen for a while
yet. The net radio and messaging functions would make the device much more useful. I’d love to get my email on
this device and respond to it whilst having my morning tea and toast. I’d also love to listen to internet radio
streams too – I’ve already got a radio that does this
in our kitchen and it’s simply excellent. These two additional functions could have improved my opinion of the
device greatly, but I’m also wanting more…
The calendar is an o2 on-line one which doesn’t sync with your Outlook calendar. It lacks end-times to your
appointments and doesn’t even blink when you enter several appointments which overlap or crash straight into
each other. I’d also LOVE to see a web-browser on here, even a basic one, and I’d love to see the media
functions improved to let you scan through videos and music. The support I found, the on-line help (check this out for example) is stunning, but
the device itself is let down by too few features which are a tad basic. Look at the OpenFrame itself and you’ll see FlickR, YouTube and more – all rich apps that the Joggler is longing for but as yet hasn’t received. Our advice? Hold on for a little longer. We’re hoping a software update or two will make this little kitten purr, but for now it falls very short.
UPDATE – Since I wrote this o2 have been hard at work and have improved the Joggler a great deal. There’s now even a Joggler App Store, so do check it out!
Link – o2 Joggler