GTA04A5 / Letux 2804

Michael Spacefalcon msokolov at ivan.Harhan.ORG
Fri Jan 24 08:45:58 CET 2014

Stefan Monnier <monnier at> wrote:

> There are tradeoffs everywhere.  I think that having a 100% free
> firmware for the cell-phone part is really great.  Having an up to date
> "smartphone" that runs Free Software is also great.

Hypothetically speaking, if someone would like to have a device in the
Neo FR form factor that combines a FreeCalypso modem with an "up to
date" AP (application processor) subsystem like that in the GTA04,
there is nothing to stop you (that's an abstract "you", not directed
at anyone in particular) from building such a hybrid device.  Calypso
and its companion chips are still available on the Chinese surplus
market; the 100 chipsets I bought some months ago most certainly
weren't their last.

But I doubt that someone would want such a device badly enough to
invest the massive amount of time, effort and money such a project
would require.  I suspect that I may be the only person crazy enough
to actually (want to) build a new phone (or a mobile device of any
kind) based on the ancient Calypso, but it just so happens that I want
a "dumbphone" rather than a "smartphone" (or "mobile computer" or
whatever you want to call it) in my pocket, and naturally I'll be
building the device which I would want to use myself...

Oh well - when I do build that "dumbphone" for my own personal use and
enjoyment, it will also have a side effect of a known-working Calypso
reference design (quad-band!) becoming available for anyone to reuse,
so at that time (probably in a few years) we can look into combining
this FreeCalypso modem with something like Neo900 for the AP subsystem.

> I see no reason why one project should feel like the other is a threat.

It's the destruction of GTA02s entailed in the process of making GTA04s
that sets me off.  Some months ago (or was it a year or two ago?)
someone here posted about how he wanted to use GTA02 motherboards as
wall decorations or somesuch - now THAT kind of waste should be
criminally punishable!  If you feel that your Openmoko-made
case+LCD+misc set would serve you better with a GTA04 mobo inside,
and you don't see value in the GTA02 mobo, then please pass that old
mobo to someone else who would appreciate it enough to 3D-print a new
case for it or whatever, rather than waste it.

> BTW, one issue with Calypso is that as the proportion of non-3G phones in
> use decreases, coverage for non-3G phones is going down.  Maybe it's not
> yet a problem, but it's only a question of time.

Yes, that is a very major threat.  Fortunately it hasn't happened yet,
at least not in my part of the world.  I use a Calypso-based Pirelli
DP-L10 as my daily phone, I roam all over Southern California (from
Los Angeles to the Mexican border), and I have yet to encounter even
one spot with poor or no GSM coverage.  And that's despite this phone
(like all of my other GSM phones) supporting only the primary USA band
at 1900 MHz and not secondary band at 850 MHz!  (The latter is a
relatively new addition, a spectrum reallocation from AMPS which was
still in service as late as 2008, at least according to Wikipedia.)

But when the major commercial operators do shut down their GSM
services, we would have to set up our own, squatting on "unused"
frequencies like pirate radio broadcasters do...


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