project customers

Dr. H. Nikolaus Schaller hns at
Fri Apr 9 13:27:59 CEST 2010

Am 09.04.2010 um 12:37 schrieb Christoph Pulster:

>> Perhaps I should clarify that I don't mean to make fun of your
>> situation. We're all in the same boat here.
> No problem Werner, all your optinions and comments are very welcome.
> As you already said, companiess who built a solution based on the
> Openmoko need a reliable product AND a reliable company behind.
> The product, Freerunner, had a lot severe bugs (GPS not working, GSM
> buzzing, #1024 suspend problems). Also after fixing this with new
> revisions and third partys (Dr.Nikolaus), the product is not ready to
> compete in the market. Very poor battery life to mention just one
> serious no-go.

We also had many discussions with project customers and basically they  
were happy with the device. And would prefer it over any consumer  
oriented device.

There have been really interesting projects people have done with  
their Freerunners. Just some I remember:
* one was shot into space (60 km altitude) by DLR
* one was used as the onboard computer for a sudent built racing car
* two have been used in a history museum as visitor guides
* etc.

In my talks, the technical problems or lack of technological  
competitiveness (compare to the rumours of a 960x480 display for the  
next generation iPhone) were rarely a real issue. Most projects just  
need a device that works well enough for them. And is open enough so  
that they can completely install their own software down to the  
bootloader (this is critical for security related projects). Not all  
projects need GPS, not all need a good standby time more than the  
130-140 hours that are now available. And many would have been happy  
with a pure PDA.

But you are completely right in the analysis for the non-technical  
aspects. In marketing, there is the word "the Product of a Company is  
everything, not only the Device". I.e. logistics, customer support,  
long term roadmap, customer specific variants etc. are also part of  
the "product". And in these categories, project customers did not get  
what they had expected or required. And, the economical crisis did  
postpone and cancel many of the more flexible and innovative projects  
that could withstand such issues.

> The company Openmoko Inc. missed to give customers a reliable support
> and long-term concept. The "open" idea stopped behind the doors, no  
> info


> about stock availability, spare parts supply etc.

> CEO Sean is an visionary, not a sales guy. Steve Mosher's part of the
> game was not evident. (BTW, what is the status of Steve according  
> Qi ?)
> I had a project asking for 2500 units as a first order only.
> Openmoko Inc. failed to provide this customer a infrastructure.
> I can confirm sold units worldwide is 20.000 maximum.
> which is a very poor result and can not give a living for anyone.
> The game "openmoko" was only possible with the financial injection of
> FIC. the funds are gone, the Wikireader is an anachronistic product  
> and

If we take 50 employees over 2 years and compare with 20k units sold  
at rougly 300 USD average (with 20% gross margin which is industry  
avarage) one can estimate how much money had to be injected...

> will not give any cashback.
> Not to misunderstand, the game "opensource" is just starting.
> if you need to, remember Openmoko as a early hero.

Yes, they definitively were early heros.

And currently, we all work on their appreciation. Maybe there will  
come an "Open Phoenux" and fly again...


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