Openmoko Community Survey 2011 – Results

Al Johnson openmoko at
Mon Jan 16 18:43:46 CET 2012

On Monday 16 January 2012 09:31:23 Dr.  H.  Nikolaus Schaller wrote:
> Let me describe my first observations from these figures (not deeply
> elaborated):
> 1. this result shows that we have a very large bandwidth what we
> see as an acceptable price. For some of us the current price (which is
> production cost driven) is ok, while for others it is far too high.
> 2. I find it interesting that there is no big difference between Q1 and Q2
> which indicates that we either buy immediately or are just willing to add
> 50 EUR to make us unwilling buyers. This appears to be a strong
> "mental level of maximum acceptable price". Or is it just available budget?
> If we have it we buy immediately, if we don't we can't even buy
> unwillingly? Or is it driven by the addition of Q2 only after 30 responses
> on Q1 only?

For me GTA04 is a bigger chunk of a smaller toy budget than GTA02 was, plus I 
needed a new phone then and I don't now. I want a GTA04 but it's hard to 
justify right now. Making a donation to help keep the project alive would be 
much easier to justify, but I haven't seen any way to do that. I'd like to 
give something now so that there's a chance I can still buy an open phone in 
the future. Having a gold standard for phone openness is important, even if I 
can't afford one just now.

> 3. at the current price of the GTA04 group tour (450-500 EUR range) we
> can expect approx. 30% buyers. This would still mean 6000 of the originally
> sold GTA02 devices. Hm. We are still far away from this figure with
> subscriptions. What are the reasons?

That's an apples/oranges comparison - eventual sales vs. early adopters. I 
imagine experience with problems that emerged after launch (buzz, #1024, bass 
etc.) might put people off buying early, as might the unknown battery life. 

> 4. a final observation is that I have to conclude that some of us have
> no realistic perception of the market prices.
> More than 40% would not want to pay more than 200-250 EUR
> for a complete GTA04 (even with case etc.).
> This makes me really puzzled as the GTA02 was never sold cheaper
> than 199 EUR. Isn't getting UMTS, fast 3D graphics any value to the
> majority of the Openmoko community?
> The cheapest UMTS Android 2.2 device I can currently get in
> Germany is at 129 EUR (most likely from some overstock clearance).
> Has a 320x240 display, no sensors, no free and open software. No
> hardware description, no schematics. Appears to be crap and much
> less featured than the GTA04. But the poll result indicates this is the
> way we should go. Really?
Consistently cheaper (99UKP/117EUR) than the model you suggest, and 
significantly higher specification. The bootloader isn't locked, and I think 
the only binary blob is for hardware accelerated graphics. It was recently 
superseded by a higher spec version (ZTE Crescent) at the same price, 
apparently with a similar level of open/closedness - the android mod community 
is still getting to grips with it. I don't know if anyone's tried building SHR 
for it, but it's MSM7k family.

When GTA02 was released there was nothing like this on the market. If you 
wanted any degree of openness your choices were very limited and all 
relatively expensive. GTA04 retains the gold standard of openness, but there 
is now competition from devices that aren't documented, but where you can 
build cyanogenmod from a git checkout, for a fraction of the money. For some 
people that will be all the openness they want, or can afford.

> I wnder how the community thinks it can be done at such low prices?
> One answer (that I don't like at all) could be:
> So please prove my last observation and conclusion to be wrong.

I don't think there's any illusion in the community about how it's done - 
major economies of scale combined with working practices that wouldn't be 
allowed in Europe or the US. The recent RaspberryPi manufacturing post has 
probably been a timely reminder for many. It's ubiquitous and hidden though, 
so people tend not to think about it, and the price of virtue can come as a 
bit of a shock.

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