Is 3g an important feature?

16 years ago, at the start of April | 27 Comments

A discussion started yesterday on the irc channel with regard to 3g. Most people had made their mind up but we really wanted to see what others thought too. So, to find out how everyone else feels here is a little, totally unofficial poll.

Would you buy a device after the GTA02 that did not have 3g?

  • GPRS is not enough but 3G isn't necessary. EDGE would be okay, too. (16%, 174 Votes)
  • I don't know. (8%, 87 Votes)
  • No. 3g is essential. (48%, 533 Votes)
  • Possibly. If there were enough features added to make upgrading worth it. (14%, 158 Votes)
  • Yes. GPRS and WiFi are fine. (15%, 168 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,120

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April 7, 2008 10:34


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27 Comments so far

  1. denis on April 7, 2008 11:05

    It is esential. We want to build an operating system that needs in a lot of ways a data connection but we don’t offer a device that has state of the art hardware for connecting to the internet… :). It is something that doesn’t get together. And plz don’t tell me Wifi is enough. It is definetly not.

  2. Emmanuel on April 7, 2008 11:44

    3g would be great, here in the Philippines 3g costs are the same to the costs of gprs. It should definitely have 3g.

    Along with adual sim.
    and maybe, a 420p widescreen (or something like the PSPs)

  3. Alex on April 7, 2008 11:55

    I think the answer depends heavily on which part of the world you live.

    In Italy we have no free and extremely little paid public Internet access (both wired and wireless).

    GPRS is available nearly everywhere, but EDGE is not. UMTS/HSDPA is growing fast and widely advertised by telecoms, so it is the only practical way to have high speed while out of house.

    This said, here UMTS is more important even than WiFi.
    Maybe we will have WiMax in 2-3 years, and then WiMax could be better that UMTS and WiFi.


  4. Johannes Boettcher on April 7, 2008 12:06


    I am really waiting for a 3G Version of the Neo FIC 1973. I have been waiting for the massmarket version for about a year and decide to buy another (cheap) phone with touchscreen and GPRS – it is fine for 100 Euro, but for about 400 Euro 3G is essential.
    Btw: With 3G you have the chance to beat the evil iPhone 😉

    Greetings Johannes

  5. k3nt1 on April 7, 2008 12:10

    Of course, data access everywhere is a great feature.
    However, the price for a 3G data plan (at least here in Belgium) are still prohibitive.
    So for now, and for me, Wifi is enough (GPRS in case of emergency) and this will be the case until the prices drop a little (maybe with mass adoption of this kind of device…)

  6. koe on April 7, 2008 12:17

    I think its essential. Here in Austria almost all affordable mobile tariffs with data transfer are 3G only. So without all the online functionality of the phone does not make much sense unless you are in an area with WiFi (where most often also computers are and there is no need for the phone).

  7. Eikka on April 7, 2008 12:25

    3g is essential already. Don’t get me wrong. I will get GTA02, and so will lots of other people who are willing to give up features to get an open phone but many people will see freerunner without 3g unusable as an internet device and go for the latest 3g windows mobile device or iphone. The lack of camera doesn’t help the situation either. Wifi is usually available in places where you are able to find another way to use internet anyway(airport, city center, home etc.) so it’s more like an easy access to your home network than a way to turn a phone into an internet device. This is also the reason why most my friends are waiting for the 3g version of iphone and not the freerunner.

  8. Morpheus90 » [Sondaggio] 3G sul successore del Neo Freerunner? on April 7, 2008 12:28

    […] 3G sul successore del Neo Freerunner? Leggo proprio ora su automated.it un interessante sondaggio sull’eventualità che il successore del Neo Freerunner abbia a […]

  9. Eikka on April 7, 2008 12:40

    Here in Finland 3g data plans are also a lot cheaper than GPRS, although I think you should be able to activate 3g data plan and still use it with GPRS-only device, of course the speed will be slow. The cheapest 3g data plan you can get here with unlimited amount of data is around 8€ a month.

  10. jordi on April 7, 2008 12:59

    I think 3g is definetly necessary. Correct me if i am wrong but some countries like Japan and South Korea have dumped GSM already, and FreeRunner will not work there.

  11. Dan Bishop on April 7, 2008 14:38

    My network doesn’t even allow you to have a non-3g phone, as part of the contract you MUST use a 3g phone. It really is an essential feature of modern phones…

  12. Brad on April 7, 2008 14:55

    3g is essential.

    I needed a new phone last month. I have a gta01 but it couldn’t become my daily-use phone and neither could gta02… I need to use 3g rates on a daily basis, both from the phone and through a laptop.

    I got a windows mobile phone with gps and hsdpa. It is not a thing of beauty, but it does what I need.

  13. Drone on April 7, 2008 15:00

    I’d much, much, much rather see a camera in the device than 3G. 3G slight perk over the existing data options. Not having cam support, on the other hand, is a time-warp to 1997.

  14. Tyrell on April 7, 2008 15:31

    3G is a nice feature, but not necisary for my life style. A camera would be more important to me.

    With that said, I am hoping to buy a Freerunner upon it’s general release. And after that, I am disinclined to be jumping on a device that doesn’t have 3G, quad-band, AND a camera.

    And with those 3 features added, the Neo would meet every requirment I can imagine needing for my lifestyle.

  15. Vasili Sviridov on April 7, 2008 18:28

    With such rip-off rates for mobile internet here in Canada, i’m not really sure if i’ll even be using plain GPRS 🙂

  16. Fredrik Wendt on April 7, 2008 20:11

    3G makes a Great difference (think 100€). It would be a close call if I had to choose between 3G and basic camera+lower bevel+multi touch+place for stylus+smaller case.
    I have a need for a “low-fi” camera to document sites at work, just to help remember where switches, routers and stuff are physically.
    Not all applications will let you scroll using a finger in the middle of the screen – thus the bevel will probably be anoying several times a day.
    I’ll forget to bring, misplace, drop the stylus at least every two weeks.
    Multi touch is just cool and could speed up things like typing and scrolling.
    The smaller case (drop the round top and bottom) would make the phone fit my jacket pocket better.

    But, 3G would really make me more mobile and “able to work”. I don’t want to have two SIM cards – one for the network-slow phone and one for my laptop. I’d be more comfortable listening to my music at work, streaming from my server at home (or someone elses, or a radio station).

    3G would really make a great difference to how useful the datalink/internet connection would be. Any other feature will not bring that same great improvement in usefulness.

  17. Patrick on April 8, 2008 06:06

    3G is essential.

    Wifi in the UK is far too expensive, if you can find it, and I work in central London ..

    The cost of 3G has dropped to £10 a month for 1GB on Three.co.uk and the coverage is pretty good in and around London

    and I won’t buy a GTA02 without it, never mind the one after – and my GTA01 has been gathering dust since I got myself an eee + a 3G modem

  18. Martti on April 8, 2008 12:04

    The major Finnish operators are planning to shut down
    gsm networks in favor of 3g. While there are only
    plans at this point and it is going to take several
    years before shutting down gsm is possible, I do
    think switching to 3g for new devices should be taken
    seriously by hardware manufacturers.

    P.S. jordi: Japan newer used gsm but pdc and cdma, it
    is doubtful any country that had employed gsm has dumpeded it yet.

  19. Mark Brown on April 8, 2008 21:05

    For people using data much I’d say that 3G is a very substantial win – as others have said in a market with good 3G penetration it’s probably essential, though obviously there are a lot of markets where 3G isn’t very available or is prohibitively expensive. In some markets that applies to data in general, never mind given protocols.

    EDGE would still be a win over plain GPRS and is more widely available than 3G but when switching between the two (as I do frequently due to 3G coverage) the latency difference is very noticeable. My experience of moving to EDGE was that it made things faster but the latency was still an issue for web access. 3G works much better – doesn’t feel much different to WiFi for most sites.

    Of course, if you’re not actively using the data it’s all a bit academic. For a lot of people all that’s required is the ability to make calls and send SMSs (and some people aren’t even interested in those). Then again, the people who are likely to be particularly interested in a free phone like the OpenMoko are probably the sort of people who are likely to make extensive use of data facilities (I know I am).

  20. Mikko Ohtamaa on April 9, 2008 22:17

    It might be pointless to ask the users would they want a feature or not. Of course they want all things they can get. A more appropriate way would be ask how much they are willing to pay for feature X.

  21. goemb on April 10, 2008 11:55

    I need 3G since my provider only has 3G in city areas. So the phone doesn’t work without 3G. (This would be Vienna, Austria)

  22. diegor on April 10, 2008 13:53

    People that want 3g often don’t realize how much can be freerunner be more expensive.

    3g means:
    – more hardware (modem are more complex and expensive)
    – more power (less life for your openmoko)

    I suggest to consider the increasing cost, before say that you really need 3g (faster connection are nice, but i prefer more battery life 🙂 )

  23. gtz on April 12, 2008 06:59

    No. Please use 4G instead of the old 3G.

  24. Jonas on April 16, 2008 13:56

    In Sweden almost essential. What would be the point of worse connectivity in my phone than in my laptop (which already has UMTS built in)?

  25. Graf_Ithaka on May 1, 2008 10:53

    3G would be quite useful in my opinion as there arent wifi hotspots everywhere.. in means of browsing or sip-telephony over 3g..

  26. Ycros on May 4, 2008 07:35

    I think 3g is essential now, I’m actually writing this post while on the train – connected by 3g. The iPhone is launching here in Australia soon, and it looks like it’s going to be the first 3g model to launch, it will be very tempting for me.

  27. Deep-Thought on July 8, 2008 16:13

    No, GSM is not enough.
    But i will buy it anyways. Openmoko is just not about hardware.

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