Crowdfunding an Ubuntu smartphone

Radek Polak psonek2 at
Sat Aug 24 14:22:55 CEST 2013

On Friday, August 23, 2013 10:21:33 PM arne anka wrote:

> the missing money is just the indicator for this project's failure to
> create sufficient public interest or even awareness.
> while the GTA01/2 was a nice idea, it was already slightly outdated when
> it appeared -- and since then nothing has changed, the gap between what's
> considered standard and what the GTAxx is prepared to deliver rather has
> widened.
> to get even close to standard (and thus being a realistic alternative for
> smartphone users), the project would need backing of a far more potent
> entity than this tiny community is -- both money- and publicitywise.
> since the GTA02 i spend about 2000€ on this project, maybe more (well, i
> can afford it and it was worth supporting the idea behind it), and in my
> very personal and subjective opinion, the GTA04 has been a huge
> disappointment. i wouldn't spend the equivalent of a highend, state-of-art
> smartphone or even tablet just to buy yet another even more outdated
> device, free or not. compared to the shortcomings of the GTA04, even
> complete freedom is not sufficient to justify that amount of money.
> whenever i told somebody who had heard of OpenMoko that there's a
> successor, they were surprised -- and when i told them the features and
> the price, i got an incredulous grin and the question if someone really
> believed that people would spend that amount for such a device.
> i am still undecided if i should admire or pity the thread starter, if he
> honestly believed that this community would be able to succeed where
> ubuntu failed -- and on top of that to jump from todays GTA04 to the
> device as imagined by ubuntu ...
> all things considered, the realistic path is imo to cater to a tiny niche
> of institutional customers -- like jörg(?) proposed.
> while i am personally rather fond of the original GTA01 case (and think
> that's almost the only tangible unique feature), i, too, would prefer it
> to pick up where the n900 left. maybe then it could even tap into the pool
> of still active n900 fans ...

Very well written. I can add a few more points.

For me GTA04 is not usable as daily phone. It's now collecting dust in shelf. 

1/ poor power management
2/ bugged reenumerating modem

GTA04 is good enough only in some situations. E.g. ok if i carry it to work 
where i can anytime charge it. When i am on bike 150km from home i must have 
reliable phone in case that the bike breaks up or in case that i need map.

I took GTA04 with 2 batteries and N900 on my bike trip this summer. I used 
N900 as a phone with SIM card. GTA04 was switched off - i just used it for 
GPS. But after 4 hours one battery was empty and second battery was 50% empty 
during one night in suspend. On the other hand N900 was working whole 4 days. 
I used it for calls, for wifi in camps and in the end even for GPS.

I though that self-made open source phone will have good power management. I 
though it will be easy or at least possible to identify where the power goes. 
I am even more dissapointed that noone except Neil Brown tried to improve the 
situation. Event GTA02 is soooo much better in this area. For me this is so 
important that GTA02 is now much more usable then GTA04. It's like having car 
that can go just 30km.

And the reenumerating modem - i really dont understand why we havent tried 
newer firmware. For me missed calls is quite serious problem.

I dont understand why produce more phones until these problems are fixed. I 
even dont understand the efforts to make PVR, camera, radio and other 
components working, unless we have working phone and not mobile heat 
generator. Well you can answer why i am just writing mails instead of doing 
something. But i always worked in userspace. I barely understand kernel and i 
have no EE skills and equipment to contribute. I can contribute only as a 
tester. I thought that i will deliver working userspace and IMO QtMoko is very 
good at it. But without working kernel and HW there is not much point to 
improve it.



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