[Neo1973] Hardware access: additional solder points ; ) Re: Congratulations to you and FIC

Robert Michel openmoko at robertmichel.de
Tue Nov 14 15:50:18 CET 2006

Salve Sean!

I'm not (the big) hardware hacker, but I can use my solder iron ;))
This email should inspire to think that small hardware layout changes
could give the Neo1973 much more potential for hackers and developers.

I do not promise that my knowhow is enough for big hacks,
but I do know much engough, that the CPU has so much unused potential
and a few more circuit pathes on Neo1973 board, connected to the CPU
and ending with solder points regions with still some place in the
case could would make many good hackers crazy about the Neo1973
- try to give them the freedom to add hardware features they are
dreaming about for a long time.

This will not only motivate geeks:
- as software solutions, hardware solutions will have big a ecomomical 
potential, too. 
And FIC will profit to supply, to sell the plattform devices for all 
this (Software and Hardware solutions). There is no need for the stress 
to have every 6 month a new "buzz word gimick" on the hardware - and to
have often redesings - beside open it for software, open it
for hardwaremodification and add ons could make the Neo1973 
very modular and flexible.

And hardware hacks will make the Neo1973 even more interesting
for software (OpenMoko) development ;)

On Tue, 14 Nov 2006, Sean Moss-Pultz wrote:
> On 11/14/06 5:57 AM, "John" <johnhedge at gmail.com> wrote:
> > No wifi! Please put wifi in it. It doesn't add to bulk and adds
> > another dimension to your product for very little cost)

> binary code at (just about) all costs. We really want to put a device into
> your hands that has low level access to the hardware, 

When this is your (OpenMoko/FIC) aim than I can repeat my idee that the
mass market FIC-GTA001 circuit board will get some extra solder points
- for power supply of additional circuits
- for hardware hacking access of the great interface of the Samsung
  S3C2410 ;)

Please take a look, eg. UART/IrDa 1.1, SPI, I2C, I2S  interface:
Additional solder points could make it possibel to add special ciruits
for those who what to hack it:
- IRDA Diodes
- Digital Altimeter (GPS dosen't serve accurate elevation information,
  by programming "statistical Curve fitting" this informations could
  encrease also the x,y accuracy)
- digital compass
- thermometer, hygrometer - local weatherstation
- pedometer
- vibra alarm
-- thermometer, GPS information, online-wetherinformation and pedometer 
   used as sensor when your mobil has to use vibra only ;)
- RFID sensor?
- RFID faker...
- 433 Mhz transmitter - e.g. recieve your outdoor weatherstation 
  or use your mobile as sensor and a station as display...
- DCF/MSF/WWVB/JJY- radio clock receiver
- bar code scanner
- second small (powersaving) display
- some (hardware) keys
- midi
- 3 piezo crystalls as small feeds on the back
  to build a weighing machine 
- receiving data via digital radio mondial www.drm.org

ehmmmmm - don't get me wrong - I don't want you (Sean, FIC) think about
to add all these hardware into a phone - it was just a small brainstorm
for examples what hardware hacks could become possible,
could become prototype for the next FIC mobiles 
__when__ the FIC-GTA001 circuit board is not finialy printed yet
and you and FIC has still some minutes to add some solderpoints
on the circuit board - even for still unused S3C2410 I/Os ;)

A little bit like the Linksys WLAN router - they had become populare
even for people and uses where no WLAN is needed or wanted.
- because this router are cheap and open linux devices ;)

Opening the hardware of the Neo1973 could make it interesting for
hardware/software developer even when they don't need GSM or A-GPS
- but their hacks and developments will enlarge the openmobo/Neo1973
comunity ;)

The PalmIIIx offers a special extention slot, AFAIK the smartcard reader
AXXPAC was the only use for this - the PalmIIIx interface was a proprietary
interface - I2C, maybe a 1-Wire bus would offer the freedom to add 
PIC/AVR hardware yourself....
And beside the solder points - for such hardwarehacks a bigger plastic case
could become interesting some day...

So please take a look to the S3C2410 on-chip peripherals and
think a little bit which of them (especialy of the still unused one)
could be most interesting for hardware hackers - and for which of them
are possible to offer solder points on the circuit board without an
additional layer - so that these will not encrease the costs for the

### And finaly the WiFi case ###
I would guess that the 1-channel USB Device interface (12Mps)
will be the port to solder a WiFi circuit/chip on...

When we do find a wifi chip (maybe with open drivers), with pins
and no solder balls - there could be a "official radio rules" conform
solution - a small circuit board with shielding to glue on the main
board and just 4-6 cables to solder...  
Or beside of "official radio rules" these internal USB solder points
could give the freedom to everybody to buy a good USB Wifi adapter,
extend the mobil case andiii solder it in a way that both systems and
antennaes GSM and Wifi doesn't jam each other.

BUT as far as I fear is Wifi very power consumpting - so beside
challenge to connect Wifi to the Neo1973 it will be also a challenge
to keep the power consumpting as low as possible ;)

Just my personal preferences:
When FIC would offer two Neo1973 (both with Bluetooth),
one with Wifi and one with additional solder points inside
to use the power/the IOs of the S3C2410 - I would choose
the second modell

I could us an external Wifi USB adapter with the Neo1973,
but adding an digital pressure sensor (e.g. diameter 6.1 mm, hight 1.7 mm) 
directly to the I2C - just an exsample:
would be so cool that I would need no time to decide which of
the Neo1973 I would like to have ;)

I don't know a (populare/cheap) navigation system that use
an altimeter with the altitude information of a map (GIS)
for more precices positioning  and no barometer that use
GPS and map altitude information to give automaticaly more
accurate pressure (weather) information.
And when your are not off-roade - not hiking in some mountains...
even in the city could a precices altitude help you:
with an altimeter (together with online-weather information of
your localisation) you could qualify on which floor of an building
you are know - so with A-GPS and an quite inaccurate digital compass
you can navigate inside buildings... *g*

(ok climate control units could change the pressure inside of
buildings... Fixed Wifi access-points are nowadays nearly every
and surveying with Wifi would be better then using an altimeter...)
 {sorry that I found another point for Wifi *G* }

Well  *g* - of course would it be great to have as much as possible
inside a *small* Neo1973 (BTW what will be the size of it? I hope no
brick) but I think it would be a big fault to compare the Neo1973 to
much with other mobiles with closed software and closed hardware
and to be disapointed when the first modell doesen'd have things
noone would have missed a view years ago.

Even if the Neo1973 would be a "brick" like the Qtek 9000,
it is absolutly great that the Neo1973 will become open and 
there so much power/potential with this together with linux support,
SDK and an active community:

> Smartphone = small portable PC + GSM/GPRS

And consider wich additional potiantial this open smartphone 
has with A-GPS!
Share the information that you are now in your favourit cafe/pub
with your friends....

And Sean, I think you got my point that a little time for 
additional solder points could make the hardware of the Neo1973
*much* more open for creative (hardware/software) hacks ;)

Happy hacking,

PS: When the 128MB flash RAM has solder Pins, no balls, an
    selfmade upgrade to 1 GB could be possible as well 
    - selfsoldered Memory upgrade was a populare hardware hack
    for the Palm Pilots. 
    AFAIK are such hacks limited with Wlan router, because of
    a missing adressline - the missing line is one unconnected
    solder ball under the CPU - drilling the circuit board to
    reach this connector would be not so realistic....
    The same could be with the Neo1973 - a solder point for
    full adressing 1 GB memory could help hackers,
    even when this solder point is not at the memories place,
    just 4 cm wire and a hardware hacker could use it :)


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