no :) Re: Shiny geek toy?

Robert Michel openmoko at
Thu Dec 7 17:18:37 CET 2006

Salve Sean!

On Thu, 07 Dec 2006, Sean Moss-Pultz wrote:

> On 12/7/06 12:00 PM, "Christopher Heiny" <heiny at> wrote:
> > Do we really want a shiny geek toy?  Something that is super cool and
> > technologically advanced, but only nerds will want to hack on?
> > 
> > Or should we be working toward a solid OpenSource platform that will
> > encourage other phone manufacturers to build on it and in turn give their
> > work back to the community?
> The latter please ;-)

I don't see a big dualism, big contradiction in the two statements.
The hacks of the nerds could be good backends for smart solution.
E.g. to make things faster, more efficient and reduce the needed bandwidth
as much as possible.

The frontent/GUI usability concepts is a different point, I beleave that
all of use want that thier ideas and hacks are useable and will be used
from as much as possible people - so usability is a second important

Development is like walking into circles - it is not so important
where to start, but it is importanted to change the perspective as
much as possible - e.g. see the backend hacks from the prespective
of end users regulary (from time to time) and then go back to make
the backends more usable/powerfull.
Also drawing (new) concepts for the user IO (GUI) would be helpfull,
but IMHO isn't it needed that the GUI is realy programmed as first
stepp - just some short text or quick drawings should be good enough.

Second, adding SPI contacts to the circuit board or adding
on FPGA to the Neo1973 isn't just a "geek toy". Since > 7 years
there is a growing market for GSM-terminals, used into

-maut systems
-maschines for remote access
-wether stations
-traffic systems

GSM + mobil computer isn't only belong to handheld mobil phones.
These GSM-terminals are expensive, because they are sold for the
expensive industrial embedded system marked.

A dual use product - same device - maybe other case or selfmade
modification would encrease the market potential of the Neo1973
dramaticaly. Together with AGPS the Neo1973 and open Linux
will break into this embedded system market and will open new
markets. THIS is also important for FIC and for their stock holder.

It would be a big foult to think one about another multimedia
smartphone. Thinking in a way

smartphone = mobil PC + GSM/GPRS + AGPS

is absolutly *not* the idea of a shiny geek toy that I like to play
with - I think about a revolution of mobil PC power with a high
industrial, commercial power. The Neo will be much more than a phone
- giving them more IO capacy (SPI) or even more better a special
  eddition with on FPGA will be moblilPC-revolution² (power of two).

It will also give all OpenMoko developer much much more economic
perspective when the Neo1973 is not only a dumb smartphones like
the others on the market. 

AGPS + 480x640 + Gnu/Linux will make the Neo1973 very interesting
for navigation devices (AFAIK is there no AGPS pocket navigation 
system on the market, yet).
Just one SPI connection to one FPG - or better one FPG with SPI
(or better connection) between SoC and SD could be used to
shortend the time for routing calculation dramaticaly: 

So this FPGA could be placed into design now, without having the
FPGA programming to use it. OpenMoko hacker would find a solution
and the Neo1973 would beat every pocket navigation system -
and this enhancement would be flashable for all Neo1973 users:
- good press feedback to sell more Neo1973
- good press feedback for the FIC stock quotation 

So don't think in category of "toy" - even when playing with ideas
is the spring of new ideas.


PS: And remember the power of opencores
 And it seems that here are some free cores:                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
   10/100 Mbit/s Ethernet                                                                                                                                    
    USB 2.0                                                                                                                                                   

With the FPG between SoC and USB jack, the usb port
could become to be Ethernet ....

When the neo1973 would have two audio connectors
- audio in/audio out
- audio out/composit video out
or even maybe
- audio in/composit video in

All with the same connectors, the solutions could be done
by some hackers and be become official part of OpenMoko some day.
But the "culture medium" the basic for all such development
would be a hardware which would makes hardware/FPGA development

Last argument - FPGA developerboards are expensive. As more 
OpenMoko/Neo1973 would be populare for hacking and education,
for developing and prototyping, for starting own business
with solutions on this plattform with special software or
even hardware solutions
the more would be OpenMoko be populare and grow and would
evolve a much bigger potential - a full toolbox to make
real smart phones for the mass market :)


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