Video Playback virtually impossible on Neo Freerunner? (Re: Video of Qt 4.4 on Neo1973: brings iPhone like graphics)

Christoph Witzany mail at
Thu Apr 24 14:06:32 CEST 2008

Carsten Haitzler (The Rasterman) schrieb:
> <snip>
> 320x240 video would be sane possibly if the source is
> internal flash instead of SD or maybe 802.11.
Well ... that is not so bad ... even if the fact that sd card cannot be 
the source for is a bit sad ...
>> Well that could have the potential to kill the Freerunner as consumer 
>> product. Just because virtually every other 100$ phone does it which is 
>> shaping the consumers' expectations.
>> And while I do not expect to use this feature more than a couple times a 
>> month it would make me reconsider using it as my main phone (I'll be 
>> using it as development platform, so it doesn't matter for now).
> well we could quietly say nothing and wait until you find out, but my position
> is just to put the facts out as-is and give you my best interpretation of them.
Yes that's the great thing about openmoko, and my intent was definitely 
not to shoot the messenger.
It's *much* better to know now than to find out.
> remember every other $100 phone is *NOT* $100 - it is $300 or $400 or $500 - it
> is SUBSIDISED by the carrier. when you sing up saying you will pay the telco
> money for the next 12 or 24 months, they subsidies the phone. when the carrier
> tells the phone maker "disable this feature so the customer HAS to pay us to
> send their photos via email, instead of just using usb or sd-cards" they
> subsidise it further hoping/knowin they will xtort more money from you in
> services etc. etc. if you want the REAL cost - ask the carrier what you would
> pay for the phone with NO contract, or find a shop that sells the same phone
> "unlocked".
Well, no, I'm aware of this. I really meant 100$ phone (without contract 
and carrier subsidising, and yes I
priced in the feature inflation til autumn when the Freerunner will have 
to compete with other phones).
> secondly these "$100" phones are mostly QVGA, not VGA. we have to fill/drive 4
> times as many pixels as they do.
Valid point, but as you said the Freerunner will not be able to play 
QVGA from the SD Card ...
> thirdly - they don't (mostly) offer wifi. in fact they don't do a lot the
> freerunner does. an actual $100 phone (that is $100 when unlocked) does very
> very very very little - the $100 ones u think of are actually much more.
Well I estimate that in autumn the Motorola K1 will be in that range, 
eg. It does not have WLAN, of course, and it doesn't even have

However I did not want to make a point about the openmoko's capabilities 
vs. such a cheap phone. *I* still think the freerunner
is worth every penny of the 400$.
I wanted to make a point about *consumer expectations*. And if even a 
phone like the K1 plays Video, people will expect a device of
freerunners class to have this capability.
>> I think that this design should be reconsidered as soon as possible if 
>> Openmoko really wants to go into the consumer market.
> it can't be. it's too late in production. freerunner is as-is. with the good
> and the ugly. we are open about it and at least give you the option of doing
> something about it, and knowing in advance all the gory details.
Well of course not for the Freerunner (GTA2). And I'm very happy that 
it's far too late for that because that means I'm gonna have mine soon.
But for GTA3 this should be considered as an *very* important issue. But 
that should go to another thread then.

And again thank you for the detailed explanation of the really gory 
details :)

>> PS: What about streaming media from the net? Any musings and/or actual 
>> experiences with that? If I interpreted Carsten right 640x480 video will 
>> display at 5-10 fps at best, right?
> you will be able to manage 320x240 at 30fps i expect streamed video. of course if
> you lower the framerate you can increase the resolution. you can do the math
> (with 15fps you get 2x the pixels - 448x336 at 15fps for example, 640x480 at 7.5fps
> etc.).
In a way that is great for my project that aims to develop a grid based 
filesystem for mobile devices ;)
> again - we could do better if we limited ourselves to just mpeg4 (which is what
> almost all phones do - they do only 1 codec or maybe 2), but the problem here
> is that xv does not provide a way to do this sanely (stream just mpeg4 data to
> x so it decodes in hardware). the graphics chip (glamo) can decode mpeg4
> itself, but we dont have the time or resources to do this properly ourselves.
> you are free to do it yourself as we provide all the code, but you would need to
> reverse-engineer the graphics chip or hope that graphics documentation can be
> made public. right now you need an NDA to see the docs.
I'd love to see this, but as I'm not in the position to put considerable 
efford into this either I will just shut up
and not complain :)
> <snip>

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