Stage of GTA03 development?

Justyn Butler justynbutler+openmoko at
Thu Dec 18 12:12:19 CET 2008

2008/12/18 Dr. H. Nikolaus Schaller <hns at>:
> My practical experience is:
> a) in areas (urban) where you have HSDPA speed, you also have WiFi
> hotspots
> b) in all other areas (more rural) your connection falls back to GPRS
> anyway
> So, a phone that combines GPRS and WiFi is a little more difficult to
> connect
> to the correct network but has no dramatically worse connectivity than
> real 3G.

It depends a lot on where you are in the world.

Here in the UK HSDPA coverage is already extremely good, and I can get
it for as little as £10 (15 USD) a month, or £15/month for more data
than I ever use.

Basically everywhere I go supports HSDPA, and it costs me no extra to
use it whenever I like (and in those spots without HSDPA it seamlessly
drops to lower speed connections).
When I am out and about there may well be wifi hotspots nearby - but
you almost always have to pay for them, so in reality I end up not
using them.

I realize that in some other parts of the world 3.5G coverage/expense
is not so good (ie the USA). But these places are catching up fast
(thanks to the newer iPhone etc), and as they do, the demand for this
amazing ability to have flat-rate broadband internet wherever you go
will increase. I think it is the case that many people don't realize
how useful and enabling it is until they have it.

Almost all the latest big-brand smartphones support HSDPA (there are a
couple of exceptions, but have a Google, seriously).

I am worried, because as this trend towards 3G increases throughout
2009, Openmoko will be left looking like a poor choice in more parts
of the world. Of the three friends who were very enthusiastic about
Openmoko with me for many years, one has now gone for the G1 (Android
phone) and another got an iPhone - both with flat rate HSDPA.

I know there are plenty of people like yourself (Dr Schaller) who
don't feel the need for HSDPA, so if the GTA03 costs more because it
has connectivity unneccessary to them they are less likely to buy it.
This is an important point.

But there is also a proportion of people who won't buy the phone
because it can't support HSDPA data plans (but would otherwise - I
know people in this group).
This group will of course continue to increase in number in 2009 and
there will be more "open source" Android phones coming out, and Nokia
even hinting that they might use Linux in some phones [1].

I fear that once most open source enthusiasts have embraced Android
(or Maemo) for their phones, they are much less likely to care about
the extra freedom Openmoko can offer them (even when it eventually
includes the more advanced connectivity), which is a shame. So I feel
now is quite a critical time for OM in terms of mindshare.

But if 3G hardware and royalties cost too much, then perhaps OM has
little choice. And that's just life. We'll make the best of it.

See also:

More information about the community mailing list