How to buy an OpenMoko Freerunner

edit:  per a comment left here recently, the process has improved somewhat. Please do check out the store now.

After reading Craig Maloney’s blog post on the FSF vs. Apple, I decided to check out (and maybe buy) an Openmoko phone. Here is the steps I went through (minus the steps I had to take to figure out which model will work in my area) to NOT buy an Openmoko phone…

Step 1, go to the website.
Step 2, click on “Store”.
Step 3, click on “Buy from OpenMoko store”. (this should really be the end of the journey…)
Step 4, click on “Buy it now” (didn’t I just click 2 other links indicating my desire to buy it now?)
Step 5, look under the heading “Purchase Options”.
Step 6, scratch head and wonder why there are, apparently, no purchase options.
Step 7, read “Which Neo is for me?”, “Contents”, “Return Policy”…. ah, here we go… “Sold Out?”. (why they bury the information that the FreeRunner is currently sold out is a mystery to me.)
Step 8, click on the handy link to purchase from an official “Openmoko Distributor”.
Step 9, click “America” (which isn’t readily apparent, since it’s light gray text on dark gray background)
Step 10, click on “United States” (only other option is Canada).
Step 11, discover that there are two stores you can buy from. One is in Mississauga, Ontario (didn’t we just choose USA and not Canada? WTF?). The other is in Long Beach, California.
Step 12, give up and buy an iPhone 3G. I don’t think I really want to buy a phone from a company that can’t set up a decent user-friendly website, anyway.

For the record, if I go back to Step 10 and choose Canada, only the Mississauga store is displayed. So at least they got that one right…

edit:
the process has improved by 3/30/2009:
Step 1, go to the website.
Step 2, click on “Store”.
Step 3, click “North America” (and they fixed the “light gray text on dark gray background”, yay!)
Step 4, click on “United States” (only other option is Canada).
Step 5, discover that there are two five stores you can buy from. One is in Mississauga, Ontario (didn’t we just choose USA and not Canada? WTF? And it’s still that way!). Three stores now in California, and one in Pennsylvania.
Step 6, click on “visit store”.
Step 7, click on “Buy it now”
Step 8, look under the heading “Purchase Options”.
Step 9, read “Which Neo is for me?”, click on “GSM bands in your territory” if you aren’t familiar with the difference between GSM900 and GSM850.
Step 10, click on “United States”. Yes, again. Because this is no longer the Open Moko site.
Step 11, Realize that no carrier in the USA support GSM900… it’s all GSM 850. Then scratch your head and wonder why the California-based store is offering a choice between something that will work and something that will not…. and why the choice that will not work is the default choice.
Step 12, Go back to OpenMoko site, select the GSM850 model, and proceed with a normal checkout like you would have at any other web-based business.

So… yes the site has changed a bit. It’s a tiny bit less annoying to shop there, and they are no longer sold out. Mostly, though, they just changed the order in which I clicked the links. It’s still stupidly annoying in bits (like have a USA store default to the not-supported-in-USA GSM900 model), or listing the Canadian store under both Canada and USA.
Step 12, give up and buy an iPhone 3G. I don’t think I really want to buy a phone from a company that can’t set up a decent user-friendly website, anyway.

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Comments

  • Lisper  On August 13, 2008 at 11:07 am

    There are five important reasons to avoid the iphone

  • wolfger  On August 13, 2008 at 11:44 am

    In all seriousness, Lisper, I don’t want an iPhone. Probably for the 5 reasons behind that link. I was just saying that because this all came down from a discussion about the FSF advocating Openmoko FreeRunner as a valid alternative to the iPhone. An idea which I think is now fully debunked.

  • Nostromo  On March 30, 2009 at 6:54 am

    I assume that the OpenMoko website was as bad as you say when you said it (August 4, 2008). But it certainly isn’t now. People are probably reading your out-of-date comment, and based on it, not even going to the clean, well-organized, user-friendly, OpenMoko website.

    Does this give you a satisfying feeling of power?

  • wolfger  On March 30, 2009 at 7:37 am

    It would if they had actually improved all the bad bits of their store. I have updated my post, though, to reflect the fact that they actually improved. I suppose if you’re a phone geek and know which GSM is which, it would be far less annoying, but this is still an unfriendly site to the majority of purchasers (though much better than it once was).

  • Vatin Petaneelanon  On December 29, 2011 at 10:18 am

    2012 is coming up and I still which I’d had the Openmoko phone.

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