given the OpenMoko Challenges...

David Schlesinger David.Schlesinger at
Fri Feb 16 02:01:29 CET 2007

I'm doing this to spare Sean the pain. This is really no different than the "Can't you just add WiFi?" discussion.

This is reality and the laws of physics speaking: please pay attention.

>... what are the chances of getting a camera? ^_^

Slimmer that "slim to none". If Sean and the FIC folks have any sense at all--and I hasten to add that I think they do--the chances are a little worse than your getting struck by lightning. While winning a single-number bet at the roulette table.

Look at it this way: jamming all the stuff that's already on the circuit board into some kind of reasonable configuration, routing leads, hundreds if not thousands of them, on a multilayer PCB, then getting the entire thing pre-fabbed, tested, fabbed, tested again, built for production, tested _again_, and tested some more, all takes time. A bunch of time. And when you "just add WiFi" or "just add a camera", the work isn't _incremental_: you pretty much have to go back to Square One and start all over again.

Now, that's if everything, by some utterly unprecedented miracle, goes well the first time. I will bet you any amount of money, at very high odds, that this will not be the case--only because I know from extensive personal experience that it _never has_. Then you've got to add time in to _fix_ things, re-fab, re-test, lather, rinse, repeat.

And remember: you can't just add a camera. You've got to add a _button_: more leads, more components. You've got to retool the case to support the lens and the self-portrait mirror you're going to ask for next. You've got to test _that_, too, and that's a test you didn't have to do before.

(None of this gets into the issue of cost. Because of the above considerations, even adding a cheap part at a late stage is abominably expensive. At Apple, years ago, we used to estimate that adding a $0.25 part added five buck to the final cost of a Macintosh. This would be worse. A ten dollar camera would, if you just backed all the way up and added it now, effectively double the cost of the unit, most likely, or close enough for government work.

If you want to guarantee nobody sees a Neo 1973 for another six or eight months, go and put a camera on it.

     "We'll never survive!"
     "Nonsense! You're only saying that because no one ever _has_!"

--Robin Wright and Cary Elwes as "Buttercup" and "Westley" in _The Princess Bride_
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