HOWTO: Installing Android on the Freerunner + Rogers APN

I’ve been using the Openmoko Neo Freerunner as my mobile phone for over two months now. The phone can run a variety of software distributions. I started off with the Om 2008.12 Update, but spent the first few weeks testing out other popular distributions: FDOM, SHR, Qt Extended and finally Android. When I first tested Android, I had some trouble connecting to the GSM network and it felt like there were still some issues being worked out, so I went back to Om 2008.12, with the intention of dual-booting Android. The dual-boot turned out to be a bit trickier than anticipated, and I kept putting it off. Om 2008.12 is a cool idea, but there were some really annoying bugs and little hope of future development [Update: Ben left a comment about the recent flurry of development, including progress on Om2009t5], so yesterday I took the dive and went to a single-boot Android setup.

I started off on the Openmoko wiki page about installing Android on the Freerunner, but the installation is quite simple if you’re going with Koolu’s Android images (though there are a few other options). They provide a near automatic installation with the latest beta releases. Simply visit the website to download the images, and the installation process is dead simple:

Installation Instructions for Beta4 and Later

  1. Unpack the files on to a FAT formatted SD card.
  2. Insert card into the Freerunner, and boot from NOR menu (hold AUX key, then power)
  3. Chose boot from SD Card (FAT and ext2)

The automated install process should begin. It installs the Qi bootloader, reboots, the kernel, reboots, then the system image.

NOTE: This install process overwrites *everything* on the NAND in the phone, including the bootloader. If this is not what you would like to do, please either look at the install process, and modify it to suit your needs.

I’m in the process and figuring out the APN settings for Rogers to make use of my data plan. Oliver Fisher has the details for how to setup the Rogers APN on a G1, which matches the details I got from calling Rogers tech support, but I haven’t been able to connect yet. Not sure if this is a problem with my APN settings or with my data plan. I’ll update this post with the details when I figure it out.

Update: I can’t seem to get connected, though sometimes it says connecting, but I’ve found two posts about the Android settings on the T-Mobile G1 with Rogers which match what I’ve been told when calling 1-888-ROGERS1 (, wapuser1 / wap).

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