Crowdfunding an Ubuntu smartphone (right now)

Dr. H. Nikolaus Schaller hns at
Wed Sep 25 21:32:13 CEST 2013

Am 25.09.2013 um 20:45 schrieb Stefan Monnier:

>> I don't see reliability as a problem because it depends on what type
>> of reliability you are thinking of: component, software, hardware,
>> production, or availability.
> Small production runs means very few people have a chance of
> discovering, let alone, fixing the various problems that can show up.

Production problems show almost immediately, even if there is only one
person. And they show after making let's say 20 units. I.e. it does not need
to produce let's say 1000 units to find real production problems. And if
you produce 1000 and find that 5 are bad, you don't worry as much as
if you have 2 bad in 20.

>> In essence it goes to a modular approach - but "modular" typically drives
>> cost up (at least for the version having the highest production numbers)
>> and is in strong contradiction with miniaturization of handheld devices.
> In my part of the world, phones have been getting bigger rather than
> smaller.

Only in dimensions - but they became much slimmer in the same step.
I.e. the volume has been constant.

>  And while modularity has a cost, it can be offset by economies
> of scale (both in terms of production as in terms of
> developping/debugging the kernel support) if that module can be reused
> in more places.  Free Software strives on standards and modularity.

Of course it can. It is a matter of calculation.

> Also, if you can upgrade the screen and the CPU separately, you might
> attract a few other users, who aren't so interested in Freedom but do
> like the idea of customizing their phones.

That is a dream that is not realistic. Every display has a different connector
(there is no standardization!). And every CPU has different signals and
power supply needs. I.e. you can swap an OMAP3505 for an OMAP3530
or an DM3730 but nor for an OMAP4 or OMAP5 or Snapdragon or i.MX6.
Because they are not designed for this way of use.

> I'd be very happy to have a Free Phablet (and I actually wouldn't
> necessarily need it to have cell-phone connectivity, as long as VoIP
> works well), even if that's not my favorite form factor: at this stage,
> I'm willing to settle for anything smallish.
>> It would be sufficient to bundle buying power (by summing up # of
>> units for different projects), so that we get existing modules
>> cheaper.  I.e. if all projects would use let's say an DM3730+Memory,
>> they still can be soldered into different devices. Or  WLAN/BT and
>> UMTS are already coming as SoC/MCP "modules".
> Right.  That is a lower-leve of modularity than EOMA but it provides
> similar benefits (not only direct cost, but also development&debugging).
>> So the trick is to use a bigger shopping bag and make a different meal
>> out if it every day.
> Exactly.  The various "Free Hardware" communities need to pool
> their resources.

Yes but I have no idea how this could happen.


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