how many gta02-core devices ?

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how many gta02-core devices ?

Werner Almesberger
It's been a while since the last time I asked how many people would be
interested in a gta02-core device. For planning ahead on components,
I'd like to take another poll.

The last time, the assumption was that we'd attempt to make a device
that has more or less the feature set of GTA02. Now, depending on the
availability of certain components, it may be necessary to drop
some subsystems. We don't know yet which, if any, but I'd like to
know how any removals would change the demand.

Major items that could have to be removed:

- case: no case parts, just the bare board. The board geometry would
  still be compatible with GTA02, so someone having an empty GTA02
  case (or something equivalent) could place the board inside.

- LCM: the device would come without the LCD display. Anyone who has
  a GTA01 or GTA02 LCD display could connect it.

- battery: there would be no battery. GTA01 and GTA02 batteries and
  the usual substitutes could be used in their stead.

- GPS: the entire GPS subsystem (chips, antenna, connector) would be
  absent

- WLAN: the entire WLAN subsystem (module, antenna, and a few smaller
  components) would be absent

- BT: the entire Bluetooth subsystem (module, antenna, and a few
  smaller components) would be absent

The overall conditions would be similar to before: the per device cost
would be about USD 500 (FOB origin, so add shipping costs and any
customs fees and taxes).

Since the objective would be to pay for the making of the prototypes,
not the production of commercial-grade devices, the engineering and
production risk would be on the side of the buyer. If anything
doesn't work, be it due to flaws in the design or due to manufacturing
problems, you'd still have to pay for it. (So reviewing the material
is a form of protecting your investment ;-)

What I'm looking for is an indication of how many units you would want
given a certain minimum configuration. E.g.,

GPS+WLAN+BT: 2

would mean that you wouldn't want any if GPS, WLAN, or BT were to be
dropped from the design (but note that they can still fail to work
due to bugs), but that you wouldn't require case, LCM, or battery.

none: 2

would mean that you don't require any of the above items, i.e., that
you'd already be happy just to have CPU, audio, USB, and GSM.

If you would actually be happy if something was omitted, please feel
free to indicate this as well. However, it may not be possible to
accommodate any individual wishes (besides simple ones, like "no
battery"), nor would omitting something necessarily change the cost.

This is just to get an idea of what numbers we're talking about,
without any commitment.

Please feel free to send me a private mail if you don't want to post
to the list. I'll then post an "anonymized" summary.

Thanks,
- Werner

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Re: how many gta02-core devices ?

Werner Almesberger
Here's my entry:

none: 2

- Werner

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Re: how many gta02-core devices ?

Rafael Ignacio Zurita-2
In reply to this post by Werner Almesberger
Hello,

On Wed, Apr 21, 2010 at 02:07:48PM -0300, Werner Almesberger wrote:
> It's been a while since the last time I asked how many people would be
> interested in a gta02-core device. For planning ahead on components,
> I'd like to take another poll.

  one question : is this offer open ? I mean, just gta02-core
developers should want/pay gta02-core devices, or it should be
possible that other guys (no currently helping gta02-core project)
ask for gta02-core devices? If this question is NOT just for
gta02-core developers then perhaps we could forward this question to
other openmoko related lists (for example to community ml, writting an email
with a web link to this thread in the gta02-core mailing list web archive).

Bye,
Rafael

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Re: how many gta02-core devices ?

Werner Almesberger
Rafael Ignacio Zurita wrote:
>   one question : is this offer open ? I mean, just gta02-core
> developers should want/pay gta02-core devices, or it should be
> possible that other guys (no currently helping gta02-core project)

For the purpose of this poll, it's open to anyone. I.e., I'd
like to know how many prototype devices people would want if
we could make an unlimited quantity.

For the actual production, there will be various limits, some
of them may be quite low.

So not everyone who would be interested may be able to get one,
in which case gta02-core project contributors would have
priority.

> If this question is NOT just for gta02-core developers then perhaps we
> could forward this question to other openmoko related lists (for example
> to community ml,

I thought of this. It would certainly help to inflate the numbers,
which is good advertizing ;-)

However, I'm concerned that anyone who isn't at least passively
following the gta02-core project wouldn't be too happy with what
they'd get, and I don't want to raise the wrong expectations.

For instance, it may well be that the devices won't work at all
and we'll never figure out why.

More likely, some things will work and others won't. We may not
have time to test every feature and to analyze every problem, so
it may be necessary to make the prototypes with subsystems that
are defective but may be fixed later (a la buzz fix or #1024).

Some problems may also turn out to be too difficult to fix, e.g.,
any issues with power consumption.

There may be reliably issues, where a device passes initial
testing but fails after transport or in the field.

Also, the total number of devices will be very small and there
will be no direct follow-on model. So it's unlikely that anyone
will put a lot of effort into maintaining support for the
platform.

Since it's quite similar to GTA02, most of the software above
the middleware shouldn't see much of a difference, though.

So this is much more a trophy, a collector's item, or a
scholarly result than anything approaching a real phone. I
can't guarantee that it will be completely unusable, though :-)

- Werner

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Re: how many gta02-core devices ?

AlvieBoy
In reply to this post by Werner Almesberger
Werner Almesberger wrote:

> It's been a while since the last time I asked how many people would be
> interested in a gta02-core device. For planning ahead on components,
> I'd like to take another poll.
>
> The last time, the assumption was that we'd attempt to make a device
> that has more or less the feature set of GTA02. Now, depending on the
> availability of certain components, it may be necessary to drop
> some subsystems. We don't know yet which, if any, but I'd like to
> know how any removals would change the demand.
>
> Major items that could have to be removed:

Although #gta02-core is meant to be a phone, I think we can also add GSM to this list. I am not planning to use it as a phone, but maybe add a 3G USB modem to
it - internet is more valuable than GSM calls these days.

Other idea of mine is to use a larger LCD - as long as it has same resolution I don't see any obstacle, do you ?

> The overall conditions would be similar to before: the per device cost
> would be about USD 500 (FOB origin, so add shipping costs and any
> customs fees and taxes).

Seems acceptable. At least for me.

Now, we might end with a lot of devices with manufacturing defects in specific areas, like GPS, GSM, so on. We could as easy name those parts we don't mind that
much being broken - would help deciding who's to get which device. For example, I'd like WLAN to be working, but it's not a must. And I don't care about GSM (I
care about GPS just because I'm involved with it, otherwise I would not), so others requiring GSM and WLAN would get the OK device, i'd get the other one.

Álvaro


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Re: how many gta02-core devices ?

Radek Polak
In reply to this post by Werner Almesberger
On Wednesday 21 April 2010 19:07:48 Werner Almesberger wrote:

> - LCM: the device would come without the LCD display. Anyone who has
>   a GTA01 or GTA02 LCD display could connect it.

What does "connect it" mean here? Would i need to disassemble my freerunner
because of it? FR is my daily phone so if yes then:

LCM: 1

Another question. Would it be possible to use the board without LCD display
let's say for developing QtMoko distro? I could be comfortable just with VNC,
and SSH via USB. If yes then:

none: 1

Regards

Radek

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Re: how many gta02-core devices ?

Al Johnson
On Thursday 22 April 2010, Radek Polak wrote:
> On Wednesday 21 April 2010 19:07:48 Werner Almesberger wrote:
> > - LCM: the device would come without the LCD display. Anyone who has
> >   a GTA01 or GTA02 LCD display could connect it.
>
> What does "connect it" mean here? Would i need to disassemble my freerunner
> because of it?

That, or get one from somewhere else. There seem to be plenty on ebay.

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Re: how many gta02-core devices ?

Werner Almesberger
In reply to this post by AlvieBoy
?lvaro Lopes wrote:
>> Major items that could have to be removed:
>
> Although #gta02-core is meant to be a phone, I think we can also
> add GSM to this list.

That would be the other list :) The one of things we may choose to
remove/ignore at our leisure. When I talked to Telit a while ago,
it didn't sound as if there was any problem getting those modules.

Back then, the lead time would have been 1-2 months, but the
modules were still brand-new, so this has probably changed now.

> Other idea of mine is to use a larger LCD - as long as it has same
> resolution I don't see any obstacle, do you ?

Case and connector would be the main obstacles. You'd also have to
find out how to program the controller chip on the LCM. The
resolution isn't so critical. Of course, if it gets too large,
you'll starve the memory bus :)

> Now, we might end with a lot of devices with manufacturing defects
> in specific areas,

Yup. First SMT runs can be cruel.

> We could as easy name those parts we don't mind that
> much being broken - would help deciding who's to get which device.

Good idea ! That would indeed help when it's time to decide who gets
which set of unresolved issues.

Thanks,
- Werner

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Re: how many gta02-core devices ?

Werner Almesberger
In reply to this post by Al Johnson
Al Johnson wrote:
> That, or get one from somewhere else. There seem to be plenty on ebay.

Yes, the question isn't so much "what do we do if we can't get
them ?" but rather "is it worth the trouble for us to take care
of them ?".

The LCMs can be found but I haven't checked yet if the prices are
reasonable. One ballpark figure I have is USD 32 apiece, but I
don't know how old this price is and if there are any unmentioned
strings attached. (Like "No minimum quantity, as long as the total
order is at least 100 kUSD." or "Must be a drinking buddy of the
CEO.")

So I'd say anything between USD 30-40 would be a good price, USD
40-50 still bearable. If all sources have considerably higher
prices, even if you buy, say, 10 units, then this would need
further investigation.

- Werner

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Re: how many gta02-core devices ?

Werner Almesberger
In reply to this post by Radek Polak
Radek Polak wrote:
> Another question. Would it be possible to use the board without LCD display
> let's say for developing QtMoko distro? I could be comfortable just with VNC,
> and SSH via USB. If yes then:

Yes, the board will work fine without an LCM, just like GTA01 or GTA02
do. Of course, it would be a shame no to see all those fast graphics
after the glamectomy :)

- Werner

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Re: how many gta02-core devices ?

igoralmeida
In reply to this post by Werner Almesberger
My entry:

WLAN+LCM: 2
none: 2

--
Igor Almeida

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Re: how many gta02-core devices ?

AlvieBoy
In reply to this post by Werner Almesberger
Werner Almesberger wrote:
>> We could as easy name those parts we don't mind that
>> much being broken - would help deciding who's to get which device.
>
> Good idea ! That would indeed help when it's time to decide who gets
> which set of unresolved issues.

Ok, so here's my list:

(+) => It's a must
(o) => better if available, can live without
(-) => Don't care at all

1 device, no case,

(+) CPU running, booting :P
(+) WLAN
(o) GPS
(o) USB [note - if wlan not working, USB is a must]
(-) LCM (includes controller problems).
(-) Battery
(-) GSM (can be buggy)

When I say must, I say I'd like to have it working. Of course, if due to technical reasons it does not work, I accept the device as my own impaired child, and
take care of it as I would otherwise. :P

Álvaro

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Re: how many gta02-core devices ?

Radek Polak
In reply to this post by Werner Almesberger
On Wednesday 21 April 2010 19:07:48 Werner Almesberger wrote:

> If you would actually be happy if something was omitted, please feel
> free to indicate this as well. However, it may not be possible to
> accommodate any individual wishes (besides simple ones, like "no
> battery"), nor would omitting something necessarily change the cost.

Btw maybe stupid idea: if we had 3 SD card slots, you could buy Wifi SD card,
Bluetooth SD card or GPS SD card. All of them should be possible to buy.

It has several advantages:

- the cost of the device with 3 SD slots will be lower
- if you dont need GPS/Wifi/Bluetooth then you just dont buy it
- you can you free SD slots for SD cards - which means lots of free space and
maybe very fast storage if stripping was used.
- SD cards can be easily replaced with better ones

What do you think?

Regards

Radek

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Re: how many gta02-core devices ?

Werner Almesberger
Radek Polak wrote:
> Btw maybe stupid idea: if we had 3 SD card slots, you could buy Wifi SD card,
> Bluetooth SD card or GPS SD card. All of them should be possible to buy.

Heh, modular designs helped the Apple ][ and the IBM PC to
greatness, why not us ? :-)

I did a quick Google search for WLAN, BT, and GPS SD cards, and the
results are as follows:

- WLAN

  http://www.google.com/products?hl=en&q=wlan+sdio&scoring=p
  Lowest price for 802.11b: USD 26.85
  Lowest price for 802.11g: USD 50.92
  They all seem to have a common form factor.

  Scary:
  http://www.alibaba.com/product/tw100428701-100236228-0/Micro_Sdio_Wlan_Card_802_11n.html
  But requires Linux 62.6. Considering that we're barely at 2.6.34
  after something like 19 years, it would take something like 430
  more years. A admire their long-term planning, though.

- BT

  http://www.google.com/products?hl=en&q=bluetooth+sdio&scoring=p&show=dd&sa=N&lnk=next&start=50
  Lowest price: USD 114.95
  Form factor seems to be the same as for WLAN.

  http://www.google.com/products?hl=en&q=bluetooth+sd&scoring=p&show=dd&sa=N&lnk=next&start=30
  Lowest price: USD 50
  Seems to be a bit longer than the other cards.

- GPS

  http://www.google.com/products?hl=en&q=gps+sdio&scoring=p&show=dd&sa=N&lnk=next&start=40
  Lowest price: USD 84.50
  Form factor like BT/WLAN, plus large antenna at the end.

Are these results representative ?

The cost of the WLAN subsystem (B/G) should be around USD 30, so
this would compare favourably. BT and GPS cards seem to be priced
excessively, though.

Size is another issue. E.g., the socket Go Wi-Fi! [1] is 40 x 24
mm.  Two "internal" SD slots (i.e., no protruding parts) would
already consume about half the PCB space of a GTA02-sized device.
GPS seems excessively large. I'd also be concerned about antenna
placement. (WLAN and BT are sturdier than GPS.)

[1] http://www.socketmobile.com/elqNow/elqRedir.htm?ref=http://www.socketmobile.com/pdf/wireless-lan/spec_sheet.pdf

Then there's the driver issue. There should be acceptable choices
for WLAN. Not sure what the situation is with BT and GPS.

There's also the issue that we have only a single SDIO interface
in the CPU. But one could probably just bit-bang GPS ...

- Werner

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Re: how many gta02-core devices ?

Wolfgang Spraul-4
Werner,

>   http://www.alibaba.com/product/tw100428701-100236228-0/Micro_Sdio_Wlan_Card_802_11n.html
>   But requires Linux 62.6. Considering that we're barely at 2.6.34
>   after something like 19 years, it would take something like 430
>   more years. A admire their long-term planning, though.

That's just a typo.
The Spectec SDW-823 exists and works. It is indeed the world's only microSD
Wi-Fi card available in retail, another one from KDDI was only shown as
prototypes. The SDW-823 has a Keystream KS-7010 chip inside.
http://www.expansys.com/d.aspx?i=140798

I have one and it works, more info here:
http://en.qi-hardware.com/wiki/Ben_NanoNote_Wi-Fi

However, you are right in not considering the SDW-823 any further. Keystream
was bought by Renesas, and has since been fully integrated into the company,
with the KS-7010 being effectively discontinued.
Spectec has only made small batches of this card (thanks to Microsoft
blocking this particular functionality in Windows Mobile).
Nobody will invest any more serious time or money into it, also for our
Ben NanoNotes it's a "for hackers only" option. We got it to work, but we'll
leave it there.

Consumer electronics are all about integration, I don't believe in modularity.
I can get a full GSM phone for 18 USD retail now, in China (and thus with a
small markup in half the world). Works like a charm.
Wolfgang

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Re: how many gta02-core devices ?

Werner Almesberger
Wolfgang Spraul wrote:
> I have one and it works, more info here:
> http://en.qi-hardware.com/wiki/Ben_NanoNote_Wi-Fi

Cool, thanks ! So in a pinch, we could use it in gta02-core.

> However, you are right in not considering the SDW-823 any further. Keystream
> was bought by Renesas, and has since been fully integrated into the company,
> with the KS-7010 being effectively discontinued.

Sigh. It's plain scary how many products get killed by mergers ...
Thanks for the warning !

> Consumer electronics are all about integration, I don't believe in modularity.

The pricing of BT and GPS SDIO cards suggests that you're not alone
with this opinion :)  What works against BT is probably the already
very low cost of BT modules. So everything that could possibly want
BT will already have it, making a BT SDIO card a rare bird.

Not sure why GPS is also priced as an exotic. Maybe because of the
antenna requirements that make the whole concept of a GPS SDIO card
rather dubious.

On the other hand, modularity seems to work quite well for storage.
E.g., according to iSuppli's tear-down analysis of the iPad [1], 16
GB on-board NAND seems to cost about as much as a uSD card with the
same capacity.

[1] http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-10451132-1.html

- Werner

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