How to bring forward the community?

Dr. H. Nikolaus Schaller hns at
Sun Mar 4 20:11:56 CET 2012

Am 03.03.2012 um 14:07 schrieb Gerald A:

> On Thu, Mar 1, 2012 at 8:03 AM, Dr. H. Nikolaus Schaller <hns at> wrote:
> Am 01.03.2012 um 13:28 schrieb Wolfgang Spraul:
> >> So what to use? Nothing to use...
> >
> > We should look for what comes after phones and tablets.
> > What's next?
> Next generation phones and tablets :)
> As a consumer, it's a bit hard to distinguish between one generation and the next, though. In the past, it was easier -- upgrades from LCD to mono screens, from mono screens to color, from telephone keypads to qwerty.
> It's harder lately to distinguish, at a quick glance, a "retina" display from a regular one.
> It is difficult to develop something totally new.
> (My standard methapher: each revolution looks
> like evolution if you have a sufficiently distant point
> of view).
> I agree to a certain degree -- from a hardware point of view, at least.
> But it's pretty clear that the iPhone and iPad were dramatic shifts for smartphones and tablets.
> The iPhone brought new energy and enthusiasm to the smartphone market. There were a few big players already in this market, but Apple managed to change the direction of the market.

I think they mainly could because they were neither a network operator nor a classical phone manufacturer. So they could decide to make standard Web browsing (instead of MMS "services") the default.

> The iPad brought tablets, which had languished for years, from being ignored to something that many people knew something about.

And, they have very valuable content to distribute. That makes IMHO the main difference. Before, a smartphone was a device to communicate and have some preinstalled games plus "PIM" applications to sync with your desktop.

Now it became the access device to a plethora of well organized content. And the Apps ecosystem is nothing else than a publisher business model (incl. selection and quality control). This was IMHO the most dramatic change.

> Now, the hardware they used wasn't the greatest in each case -- it had and has lots of limits. But they had amazing software, and a vision for the "customer" of their device.
> They didn't end up inventing a "new" device, per se, but they did end up re-inventing it. To consumers, they are new devices, because they never saw the clunky windows tablets or older smartphones. 

Consumers mostly see the content (that is always well packed by Apple/Disney), not the device.

> For phones and tablets it means they will increase in
> screen resolution, increase in processing power and
> networking speed, increase in battery life, increase how
> easily they can be used.
> The last one is the most interesting since it includes
> both hardware and software.
> One thing is clear: Until a device is commercially successful, it has no chance to survive in the arms race that is commercial phone development. Things change too fast and cost too much to bring out a new rev every X months.
> Every hardware piece is a compromise, and I've been a close watcher on the sidelines when FIC/OM launched their phones. It's harder with a phone, because since almost everyone has one, everyone will have an idea about one.
> So, where does that leave us? I think it's simple -- we have to compete, at first, mostly in software. I held out lots of hope for this with the Neo and the Freerunner, but they had basic issues that made them a bit difficult to deal with.

I think QtMoko and now SHR are on a good path. The OPAM3 used in the GTA04 is a much better supported platform to concentrate GUI development on the useability aspects.
> I do think there are markets that are out there that are unserved and underserved, where something with good software could flourish.
> I'm still not convinced your business model is the best approach. While it involves the least risk for all concerned, it feels to me like it's not working well. I gave you some thoughts earlier, and you had good points why your point of view was better. But, your current rallying point is to get to 40% of your goal, and that means that 60% remains. Don't get me wrong, I do hope your device gets built, and I intend to order when budget allows me ... but without some major donation, I'm not sure your timeline is feasible.

I think it is still feasible. The only thing we must improve is the positive feedback look.
The more GTA04 (from stock) devices are out there and the more users of the GTA04
are happy (and report that), the more the undecided ones can decide.

Several factors are not yet positive enough, but we are working on it:
* production yield for the "from stock" devices is being increased
* we are working on a case kit so that a 3D printed case from Shapeways becomes a 100% replacement to disassemble a GTA01/02
* we work to preinstall QtMoko in NAND flash so that the first power-on gives a better impression and has less problems formatting the SD card correctly

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