ancient hardware? - Software matters

Tilman Baumann tilman at
Mon Jul 7 12:57:03 CEST 2008

I never had a phone for the last decade.
Mostly out of protest against the ridiculous data rates and prices on 
GSM. And because all phones sucked.
I had sworn me, when UMTS would comes out and the prices are ok, i will 
buy a phone.
UMTS came, the prices where ok but the phones still sucked. And i did 
not feel i would miss much.

And most important of all, i completely lost hope for all mobile phone 
software. There where no iterative improvements. Features came ant went 
with no regular pattern. Phones did not get better with time, they just 
stagnated. They did not even managed to put all features in which they 
had in earlier models.
And bad software did never get fixed. The only way to overcome bad 
software was to by a new phone.
It never felt right for me to give them money for theyr bad service.

And all of them completely missed the point about having internet on a 
mobile device. The franticly searched for the killer app for UMTS but 
could not find any. But the killer app for phones was clearly IP (open 
communication) and a open software stack.

Opensource was clearly the answer for all that.

Then things happended. Openmoko and the iPhone came. The iPhone started 
a big fire under the fat and lazy ass of phone manufacturers. They are 
reminded that innovation is something that sells phones and makes 
customers happy. But i'm sure those who will not burn to death will not 
manage to stand up for the next time.
Changes will happen slow. Its after all the mobile phones business. :)

And there was Openmoko. There was never any doubt for me that this will 
be the right answer to a good and healthy software evolution and 
constant improvement for mobile phone software.

So i'm here. I broke my oath to never buy a GSM only phone (Neo 1973). I 
was not able to make stable phone calls for month with my rather 1990ish 
new phone.
But i was happy and i still am.

Sure. The hardware could be better. But this is something the industry 
managed to do all the time.

We need to make software a important part of phone development.
This is where the industry (and subsequently the customer) needs help.
This is where a bunch of hackers can make a big difference.

I'm sure Openmoko started something important.
The vastly successful way of software evolution and development which 
opensource provides will greatly improve all phones to come...

I'm happy that Fic gives us this stepping stone to change the world. I 
gladly ignore some bad teeth of this horse. ;)

Ajit Natarajan wrote:
> Hello,
> I've seen a number of remarks on this list that the hardware in the FR 
> is ancient and this is the price of openness and freedom.
> I did a quick search for some of the parts:
> The Samsung 2442 SoC seems to date back to 2005.  I got this from the 
> revision history in the user manual [1].
> The Antaris 4 GPS chip dates back to 2006.  This is the from the 0635 
> datasheet revision history [2].
> The Calypso GSM chip dates back to 2000.  This is from the leaked 
> hardware definition manual revision history [3].
> The Accton 3236 WiFi chip dates back to 2006.  This is from the 
> ``2006.12'' at the end of the datasheet [4].
> I haven't looked at the other chips.
>  From the above, the GSM chip looks ancient.  However, the other chips 
> don't seem that old.  And some recent devices are using these parts as 
> well.  For example, the RoverPC C6 introduced in December 2007 uses the 
> Samsung 2442B at 300MHz.
> So, I don't understand the comments on ancient parts.  What have we 
> compromised on by choosing these parts?
> Thanks.
> Ajit
> [1] 
> [2] 
> [3]
> [4]
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> community at

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