A marketing angle

Robert Michel openmoko at robertmichel.de
Thu Nov 23 01:06:27 CET 2006

Salve Ben!

On Wed, 22 Nov 2006, Ben F-W wrote:

> Robert Michel wrote:
> >But when we concentrate on the core functions, to make them very
> >usable - and add some new/fresh ideas like 
> > 8 ways to answer a phone (now, mailbox "sorry I'm busy call me in 15 
> > minutes again)
> >then will become the OpenMoko plattform interesting for the mass market
> >and of course for FIC, too ;)
> >  
> Agreed, definitely: if we get the core functions easy enough to use 
> (i.e. at least as easy as current devices), and then find a couple of 
> applications that will really excite a non-geek... 

I explained that idea in an other mail

Consider the touchscreen with 640x480 pixel screen and no keyboard
forget the way to answer a call today - there are more options :)

BTW, it would be nice to see the pictures of the caller,
(pressing on the picture could answer the call)
but also some info
when I met/spoke him last 
date of his last email and its subject
memo/todo linked with him
a list of borrowed and 
the number of the credit he has given or take from me

A pressing on the "last email" and other info would let me switch
to more info, e.g. his email and give me a chance to read it fast 
before I answer the call...

> then there's a strong 
> chance of success. I'm not sure we've found all those killer 
> applications yet, but the ideas so far have been great.

I'm very shure that FIC and Sean has some ideas that will surprise
us when the first devices will be shipped :)

IMHO is _not_ our job to think about a "killer application" with the aim
to save the economic succsess for FIC.
And it could be a big advantage to have the freedom to think about a
phone that you, I, we would like - without the focus and concentrating
on a "killer application".
Every new phone generation has some new "killer application" or 
"killer function" but the rest of the phone is crap
or half-hearted function - produced with the strategie
3 stepps forward (for the aggressive advertising), but
2 stepps back at the same time
and with the dogma - a coustomer should be unhappy on a long term,
so that he wants to compensate this unhappiness with consum - our
advertisment and the new features makes him think, that the new
product would satisfy him - but that has to be an illusion,
at last our advertisment has to make him unhappy again....

This is a bit offtopic, but there is a very good short film "more"
that worth to see in high quality in a cinema - or even on dvd.
There is a low resultion version online:

How cares about the "killer arguments" MMS, coulored display, polyphone
ring sounds of last years?
And why should I buy today a new phone? Because of a camera? A radio?
Because to play MP3 songs?

Choose the Neo1973 it can also play Ogg/Vorbis!!!!1!!1!

Well this could be an argument still in 2008, I fear, but this will not
convince normal consuments. Imagine FIC does have a "killer application"
then will it something other mobile producers will also offer - sooner
or later. It will be a killer application for 2007 - 2008 there must be
a new one, because the coustumer needs something to show that they are
"up to date" and the latest phone....

But remember:

smartphone = mobile PC + GSM/GPRS (+ AGPS)

So see the PCs. Why does your friends do buy a new PC?
To play the latest games and because the system went hell
- instead of learning to type with 10 fingers and how to
  administrate their computer, they buy a new one, with the
  illusion, that his PC will make them more happy.

As more computers can do, 
as more important is what YOU can do.

For this reason I talked about information and education offers,
e.g. with video, for the users.

How many function does a phone of today offers,
how many function does a normal user knows
how many could he use
and how many did he use?

To unleash the power of an open Linux smartphone as the Neo1973
does need it a different philosophy 
than the economic of the primitive smartphones of today.

Thinking different is a chance for a new competitor

The perspective to have an open hardware and to be able to
update the software, even the firmware, to modify even the
firmware is __revolutionary__ for the (smart)phone market.

The phones of today are so dumb,
short term econic interests does have influenced
to much the development of the hard and software.

> One point on ease-of-use, by the way... there's currently a large chunk 
> of people who only ever plan to buy the brand of phone they're currently 
> using. Nokia has a large chunk of these followers, but other companies 
> have sizeable portions as well.

Maybe - but I will not look what other phones do good - I like to
see what is possible to imagine and to solve - what would be handy...

I do not see the need for having a virtual "answering button" on the
right or left side, becouse Nokia has such a button on that side.

I would collect user feedback "what does you hate most" and 
"what you miss most" and when we have (several) solution let
us go to critical and people that open speek out what they think
asking young and old people - power user and people without a phone
and without PC - even handicapped person ...
(BTW - for blind persons it's a pitty that the Neo1973 does have no
buttons, but the Neo is still very interesting for people which like 
to develope for blind persons - eg. wap to speach..)

> The reason these people are wedded to their current manufacturer is the 
> differences in interface between the systems. On a Nokia, you press the 
> Power button once to select ring style - on most other phones, that 
> doesn't work.

The neo doesn't have so many buttons, but a VGA screen :)))

> On a Nokia, the "space" button when typing is the zero - 
> on other phones, it's 1, # or a variety of other options. 

I understood your points, but IMHO forget how other phones are
used. Imagine which GUI with 640x480 and touchscreen is possible ;)

> >>on this list. If Asterisk could be made simple enough to package into a 
> >>'black box' that consumers don't have to configure (in the same way 
> >>MythTV is beginning to be), 
> >>    
> >yes ;) asterisk cold be in the background, but its
> >/etc/asterisk/extensions.conf 
> >should be hidden for the normal consumers
> Not quite what I was thinking: sorry, I don't think I explained myself 
> very well! I was imagining Asterisk to be plugged into the home 
> telephone network, rather than being on the Neo itself.

First of all, I understood your wish that asterisk has to become
more simple. But it isn't (only) that the asterisk gurus like to
work as consultant, admistrator and making money instead making
an enduser gui - asterisk is very powerfull, so every frontend is
an big limitation.
There is a graficaly frontend for endusers:
http://www.trixbox.org/ (former asterisk at home)
but I haven't used that.

Then why installing asterisk at home? To do this you need 24h/24h
internet at home and a box running all the time...
I pay 3Euro/month for a virtual server (Debian) with 
1GB space and 50 GB traffic and beside some other things is asterisk
running there. I have to landline numbers (one is my old one, portated)
by two SIP/VOIP providers. Incomming calls are managed with asterisk
and forwared to my SIP adapter at home and with some filter,
to my GSM phone.

When there is a market, it will no problem to have a vserver only
for an asterisk server for less then 1Euro/month - I think your
24/24h box will be much more expensive because on power costs.

Question - what is the link between your asterisk server somewhere
and an open GSM smartphone?
What is the advantage for a Neo1973 owner to use asterisk
on an other device?

Back to the Neo:

Everybody (I'm shure) who likes to get a Neo for developing and 
is using asterisk yet will see asterisk running on the Neo. ;) 
Testing new ideas for 
-answering machine on the phone
-phone profiling - who can ring you when...
-ways to answer a call - before programming with gui, 
 use dtmf to test the different ideas...

I can imagine that the normal OpenMoko phone distribution will
not based on asterisk - but having the freedom to use asterisk
for developing will make developing much easier ;)

I can imagine that we found out some nice solutions with asterisk
that we can merge with the Neo (with or without asterisk on the Neo)
and the Gui of the Neo could used to manipulate the phoning system
- the borders of what is running on which will be suspending
the Neo will controll both systems.

Such a server could be usefull for backups and for configurate
your Neo with any PC. The replication for the update will be
a diff.

This weekend I saw a story about the OLPC project on groklaw.net
and a sepeart story about Squek in Extremadura 
with an video that could inspire you with thinking about
developing solutions for the Neo1973, or an Asterisk frontend
(it has a link to video.google.com with a google-flashvideoplayer :(
just take: 
(19 Min.)

> Then it could 
> interface with the Neo and allow all the blurring-of-landline-and-mobile 
> ideas mentioned earlier to be used.

Blurring ideas?

I have concrete ideas since years what much limitations
my phone has, even before I used asterisk - just stand
allon ony one GSM phone number and on phone is SOOO much
more possibe....

And this could be programmed in a way that even non ICT/IT
person will be able to use it.

> It's a long-term dream, anyway: not immediately useful here.

Don't be shy - with your phone today,
- what are you missing most?
- what hate you most?


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