Every now and again a product comes along that just refuses to fit neatly into any single category. O2's quirky Joggler is just such a device. O2 is marketing it as a kind of digital calendar that the whole family can use, but we think this is underselling it a bit. Yes, there's a calendar function that syncs with O2's online calendar app, but the Joggler also act as a digital photo frame, alarm clock, media streamer, digital weather station, news reader and much more. Plus it holds the promise that extra apps may be added to it over time.
We had expected the Joggler to be the type of interesting, but flaky OEM product that network operators pick up every so often. Usually these devices go out of their way to offer as many features as possible, but end up doing none of them particularly well while offering a user interface that would have been cutting edge back in the days of the Commodore 64. Some how the Joggler manages to avoid these usual pitfalls. Sure, it offers loads of features, but they're all accessed via a very logical and easy to follow interface that also happens to be beautifully presented in an almost Apple-esque way.
Of course, the Joggler's usability is greatly enhanced by the fact that it's completely driven via a rather excellent 800 x 480 touchscreen. Not only is the display bright; it also produces really vivid looking colours. And rather than relying on the traditional resistive touchscreen technology, it's a capacitive display similar to the type used in the iPhone so it's very responsive to finger presses. However, it's worth noting that the interface relies totally on presses rather than swipes or multi-touch gestures, but this isn't really a big deal.
In use the Joggler feels very responsive which is hardly surprising given that its based on a fairly feisty Intel Atom processor clocked a 1.1GHz with 1GB of memory and a cut down version of Ubuntu Linux OS.
O2's marketing is really pushing the Joggler as a digital calendar, but we're not convinced this is necessarily its best feature. As mentioned earlier, the calendar on the Joggler works in tandem with O2's online calendar app so to use it you first have to register online at the O2 website and set up your calendar from there. Once you've created the calendar online it's then accessible via the Joggler as long as it's connected to the Internet via either an Ethernet cable or Wi-Fi. You can also invite other members of your family to be on the calendar buddy list so they can view it and update it as well.
The calendar is easy to use as it's relatively straightforward to add new entries using the touchscreen. You can switch between day, week and month views and add extra graphics to especially important events. However, there's no way to sync the Joggler with another calendar, say from Outlook, Gmail or your iPhone, which is a big shame.