Neo1973/OpenMoko as a laptop replacement

Erland Lewin erland at
Fri Nov 16 10:58:35 CET 2007

> On Thu, 2007-11-15 at 23:11 +0100, Erland Lewin wrote:
>> I imagine a kit the size of a regular book for the Neo containing a
>> fresnel lens with a frame for attaching to the phone, a foldable
>> keyboard, a small mouse, and a battery pack loadable with, say, 2
>> regular 'C' size batteries.
Ted Lemon replied:
> The keyboard needs to be an old manual typewriterkeyboard, and the UI
> should be white on black for maximum compatibility with Brazil.
> Seriously, though, I think this is a cool idea, but once you have a
> proper focusing system it's probably not going to be lighter than a
> laptop, so what's the point.
You don't need a focusing system, just the lens held at a constant 
distance from, and parrallell to the screen. So this part doesn't have 
to weight much at all, just some foldable plastic brackets to hold the 
phone behind the screen.
> What I'd like to see is someone (FIC?) making a computer *like* the Neo
> that's a real laptop replacement.   1Ghz ARM, DVI out, 640x480 screen
> just like what we have in the Neo, runs slow when it's on batteries,
> fast when it's plugged in, a couple gigabytes of flash, an external hard
> drive for when you're near power, and Bob's your uncle.
Don't forget more RAM - I think the 64 MB RAM or whatever's in the Neo 
would be the biggest performance limitation as it is.

Also, if I understand correctly, if the processor consumes little power 
when stopped/idle, it's energywise equivalent to use a fast processor 
for a short time or use a slow processor for longer (each gate 
switch/operation consumes the same amount of power regardless of speed).

However, I've seen two arguments why slower speeds might be better 
anyway - one is that batteries prefer an even power drain rather than 
spiky, and that at lower speeds you could possibly lower the CPU core 
voltage, which would lower the energy consumption per operation.
> You can pack a monitor in your luggage when you travel, and have a nice
> setup wherever you land.   It would fit in your pocket when you're
> flying, but be powerful enough to actually use when you arrive.   It
> could be a bit bigger than the Neo, and if it had a GSM modem and GPS in
> it, it'd double as a phone.   Neo's big brother, you might say.
I'm not so sure about packing a monitor, but we're definitely thinking 
along the same lines.

One critical question is how much CPU power you need. I still believe 
that with lean programming, 400 MHz should be enough for standard 
applications such as word processing, editing presentations, email and 
web. At least if you strip off the 'frills'. Think Word 5.1 for Macs 
which ran on 8 MHz 68000 processors.

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