[ANN] GTA04 Status

Dr. H. Nikolaus Schaller hns at goldelico.com
Mon Apr 23 09:51:48 CEST 2012

Hi all,
I think it is time to share some update on the GTA04
overall status and where I think it can go.

1. Software

appears to be in a quite good shape now, QtMoko as
well as SHR. Last Thursday we had a meeting ("Stammtisch")
in Munich with approx. 5 or 6 working GTA04 in many different
configurations :) And the SHR developer team now has
several GTA04A4 boards to do further testing.

BTW: this meeting was the best visited ever - 10 participants
in total.

2. Bootloader

I have revisited the MLO/X-Loader code.

Major changes:

* check the SDRAM when fetching U-Boot from SD card
* serial x-loader (for recovery) is now built from the same sources
* optional command line interpreter for ram tests etc.
* sources on GIT: http://git.goldelico.com/?p=gta04-xloader.git;a=summary

3. GTA04A4 general availability

We finally have finished the backlog of preorders and
now (for the first time) have two or three boards in stock.
So the promise to be able to deliver from stock finally
became true.

4.  Group Tour

For the Group Tour, all components have arrived and the
first 10 boards have been built this week. Unfortunately, again
with some soldering problems. We have discussed and tried
almost everything and the production company has checked
every step twice, but we still have shorts and too many not
working boards to continue straight ahead and produce all
ordered boards.

Although the boards usually can be repaired (by identifying
the crucial chips and replacing them on a SMD rework station)
this is too much manual work and the worst thing is that it costs
a lot of money and time.

This week the company will try again another stencil for
solder paste printing since short circuits indicate too much
solder paste. And failed boards will go to a new 3D X-Ray
service center where we may be able to magnify single solder

5. Wishlist, Preorders and future Group Tours

One thing is clear: we definitively want to organize and run
more Group Tours! As soon as the production issues got
under control.

Therefore, we have invented a new feature for the
Handheld Linux Shop: a Wishlist. 

From the experiences of the GTA04 Group tour we found
that it is problematic to define a fixed deadline and collect money
in advance. And then we do not meet the number of units
that were assumed for the original price calculation. This comes
mainly from lack of market knowledge (which may change on a
daily basis).

Now, the Wishlist may become a much better solution. It is not
a real preorder, but we kindly ask you to state your interest
in buying the GTA04 [1]. And the number of units you are interested
in. This does not mean any obligation to buy a device
at any time in the future, but it gives us an indication how
many of you are really interested. And at which price.

For the price, we have added a surprising function: you can
state your price wish! This does not mean that you eventually
can buy at this price, but it also gives us a better indication
where to go. And if you give a higher price, the likelihood
increases that you can buy it sooner at that price. You
can also change your wishes anytime and delete them [2].

From time to time we make a statistical evaluation
of the Wishlist and can see what a reasonable price is
and how many of you would buy units at that price. And
compare with component and production cost. Then,
we make a call for real pre-orders.

If we make new developments - let's say a feature upgraded
GTA04 - we will also announce that and then everyone
can decide to adjust the price and increase the likelihood
that we really can produce it.

And, we have plans to use this Wishlist not only for the
already developed GTA04 but other, new product ideas.

As soon as we have some prototype and feel that it is
feasible, we will just publish the product concept on the shop
and you can express how much you are interested. This
will help to make the hardware supply more continuous
and predicable.

So if you have new hardware ideas, please discuss them
and let us know. Some are already being worked on...

The idea is to make this community again a first-class
address for new open and independent mobile hardware!
Will it work? We will see!


[1]: http://www.handheld-linux.com/wiki.php?page=GTA04
[2]: http://www.handheld-linux.com/wiki.php?page=Wishlist

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