[ANN]: Openmoko Beagle Hybrid - News
Dr. H. Nikolaus Schaller
hns at goldelico.com
Fri Jul 30 21:11:37 CEST 2010
it is quite a while since our first announcement of the Openmoko Beagle Hybrid  and you may have wondered how the project is going. Since we have got a very positive feedback for our experiments and targets, we have tried to take seriously on all the feedback and worked on a new version (as far as it was possible in this phase). So let me report about news and progress:
1. The key software components (u-boot and kernel 2.6.29) are now available in a git repository  as well as binaries to be directly copied onto an SD card 
2. The binary downloads also includes an Debian Lenny rootfs demo image which is configured for our kernel and display/touch extensions. It opens LXDE and allows to run TangoGPS .
3. We have fixed a major hardware issue which had made the LCD flicker and behave strangely
4. Touch screen is working (but will need some more driver configuration).
5. We have joined forces with the Freerunner Navigation Board project (barometer, compass, gyroscope etc.)  and also have added such sensors to the schematics . But since some the chips are very expensive, not all will be populated on the PCB.
7. And, a big majority did vote for inclusion of GPS. So we will add the Sirf III GPS receiver (W2SG0004) and the 3-Axis I2C gyroscope (ITG3200) although the board became a little more expensive than originally thought (129 EUR instead of 99 EUR).
8. We have received bare boards and components, have worked with a SMT assembly company, and now have nice boards which are ready to be ordered . Since we need to test and pack them, we can ship in approx. 2 weeks.
9. Regarding the request of a nice plastics case, we got quite encouraging ideas and proposals. E.g. using RepRap/Makerbot/Cupcake like 3D printers . But this needs much more study and a long learning phase. Since the Openmoko Beagle Hybrid is more a development tool rather than a product, we will see what we can achieve. If you have such a 3D printer, please try to "print" a Freerunner case and report results (e.g. precision, appearance, quality, speed)!
10. We also got some hints and offers for support to make high-density PCBs that are needed for the integration of a full OMAP system onto a motherboard replacement for the Freerunner. So we now think that finally, *we can do* a OMAP3530 upgrade for the Freerunner. But don't expect it soon. And it may not be cheap. This project will still take many small steps until we can announce something. One of the major hurdles we see is that we will have to pass CE, R&TTE certifications (since we have to add radio hardware). This is the ultimate challenge for a small team devoted to open hardware and software (even if backed by a company like Golden Delicious Computers). So we prefer to exercise for this "tournament" behind the curtain.
11. The best way to support our (current and future) projects is to buy the Beagle Hybrid . And do experiments with it. Learn how to use and/or modify OMAP3530 software and give us feedback through a dedicated mailing list .
We would be very pleased if distributions like SHR, QtMoko, and others also start to support this hardware/kernel platform. It is not difficult since user space is quite compatible to the Freerunner and/or Beagle Board and Open Pandora. First experiments of just running the untarred Freerunner-rootfs of QtMoko were quite promising (we got touch calibration and were asked for choosing a user language before some component did segfault).
So, let me invite you to help to build a new future of Openmoko devices!
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Geschäftsführer: Dr. Nikolaus Schaller
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