[Gta04-owner] Status GTA04 GroupTour

Timo Jyrinki timo.jyrinki at gmail.com
Fri Dec 30 10:15:03 CET 2011

2011/12/29 Neal H. Walfield <neal at walfield.org>:
> First, if someone orders a GTA04, that person doesn't get all the
> hardware--that person needs to have a GTA01 or GTA02 and do some
> non-trivial assembly.  I realize that you have some cases that you are
> selling, which is the route that I went, but I think these are limited
> and independent of the group tour.  If this option hadn't been
> available, I would not have signed up for a GTA04.

In my opinion the GTA02 requirement is the unfortunate limiting factor
(in additition to lack of publicity, but it perhaps wouldn't help to
enough extent with the GTA02 requirement). That, and the fact that
many GTA02 buyers are not _that_ interested in GTA04 as they could and
should be.

This is just speculation, but I believe that since FreeRunner was well
advertised, too well from some perspectives, it was bought by many
people expecting a working phone out-of-the-box, freedom issues
important but secondary. They got disappointed over a long period of
problems, and possibly lost their hope for similar "free phone"
efforts since Om Inc also stopped phone business and years passed.

Another big part of the FreeRunner owners are people interested in
general in "cool hackable devices", and in 2008 FreeRunner was IMHO
easily the coolest hackable and own OS installable mobile computer
device in existence. The freedomness was a plus but not necessarily
the driving factor for the big mass of FreeRunner buyers. Now there is
a multitude of cool hackable devices - Pandaboard, Raspberry Pi and
many others, in addition to mainstream phone devices like at least
Nokia N9 which also can be run with alternative OS like
Mer/Nemo(/SHR/Debian), while the default OS is very hackable Debianish
GNU/Linux as well. They are free enough for many of the original
FreeRunner buyers, I'd believe.

Both of these groups, I think, have the majority of currently
available GTA02:s ie. the target group for GTA04 buyers, but the
devices are possibly sleeping in the drawers while a lot of other cool
hacker devices are out there. GTA04 is just one another option, and it
has the minus side of not being the coolest gadget of 2012, unless you
are interested in precisely 100% free software phone, while the GTA02
interest group who also ended up buying GTA02 was larger. The GTA02
case was also kind of cool or at least ok in 2008, but nowadays to
make similar "wow" effect you'd need GTA04 to be not just an expensive
motherboard upgrade to an used and old pretty bulky external case from

And as mentioned, still a few people also have FreeRunner as a
functional, primary phone, and they can't risk it. I have two
FreeRunners and also N9 so I could "risk" mine and ordered a piece of
GTA04 group order of course. Also notable is that I didn't even
consider doing the motherboard upgrade myself, but ordered the service
from Golden Delicious.

The various marketing ideas seem great, since GTA04 is a _really_ cool
device for many user/hacker groups. I just fear the GTA02 requirement
problem doesn't go away since it's very hard to reach current GTA02
owners so that they could eg. pass their GTA02 on if they're not
interested themselves of buying GTA04.


(btw: I can let go of my other FreeRunner, GTA02a5, for just postage
costs + eg. 10/15€ extra if it helps to get another GTA04 buyer. It
has a slight screen related problem which shouldn't cause too much
grief though: it requires a small plastic piece to be in place between
screen and case that adds a bit of pressure so that touch works
fluently - but it has been working nicely for over a year after I
discovered the workaround. you can also of course just order a new
screen together with GTA04)

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