GSM Modem Confusion

Harald Welte laforge at
Sat Jul 28 10:51:44 CEST 2007

Hi Wally.

On Sat, Jul 28, 2007 at 02:47:17AM -0400, Wally Ritchie wrote:

> However, if this means re-architecture then you may find yourself in
> great difficulties. There is always competition.

yes and no. We don't really want to compete with regular mobile phones.
There is no way we ever could, so why even try. 

The market that we're adressing for the time being is a market where no
competition exists.  Or how many other entirely open source phones does
the market provide?

We want users who love and understand open source, and who buy our
devices for that reason.

> In the consumer market if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck
> its a duck. Perhaps I am a wrong in supposing that you're after the
> mass market? Perhaps you just want to sell a few thousand a month of
> niche product to Linux geeks. But I am assuming somebody wants to make
> some serious money here. 

Well, I personally would be very happy if we can sell a reliable,
geek-friendly device (or series of devices) at quantities of a few
thousands per month.

Where is the point in competing with Nokia, Benq, Motorola and all the
others?  They're way bigger, have way better leverage from their
quantities, have existing distribution channels, deals with operators,
...  There's simply no point even trying to do that.

So our strength comes from having identified a niche market that we
understand(because we're part of it!), and trying to serve that niche
market with the best possible products.  And that niche market is not
intreresting to any of the big players either, because they're laughing
about the quantities :)

> IMHO, you could be in multiple 100K's per  month by Christmas 2008 if
> you don't screw the pooch by ignoring the ultimate mass market
> consumers of these devices.

I don't see why we would want to do that (sell multiple 100k to 'my
grandma' type end users for christmas 2008).  We _might_ be able to
create a device hardware and software that is acceptable to such a user,
but I sincerely doubt it, given the resources, and the plans for growth
of R&D, ... we have.

But there is no way, even if we wanted to, to get to this poin, since
there is no customer kare, user helpdesk, product documentation, ...
that comes anywhere close to the level that you need to go after that

Our target user is "The guy who puts OpenWRT on his Linksys Wifi
router", i.e. a person who is not a developer, but somebody who loves
the features he gets by having a open/accessible linux distribution on
his device.

Now, even to get there, it is a very, very, very long path.  And until
we get there, there is no point in thinking of all the various things
that a new target user group (post that point) would want.  If we ever
get to address that 'openwrt user' market well, then once we are there,
we can start to think about other things.

> Do you really mean you want to exclude say a windows-only user from
> sending a FAX through your device. Do you really mean you don't want
> to tap into KU250 in your other pocket? Do you want to cut off xyz's corp's
> win2000 laptops from GPRS?

that's not really our target user, at least not for the forseeable

> > Similarly, we don't have any intention to implement MMS, WAP, WML, etc.
> Do you really think there is not demand for these, especially MMS. Do you
> think there is some factor out there is going to cause $0.01/kilobyte pricing
> to disappear from every market in the world? It's about mobility and ubiquity!

Look, we have extremely limited resources to create a product for a
small nice market.  And I bet if you put a voting/election system and
announced it to community@, those features (compared to all the features
that we're missing, i.e. "everything") would really be on the lower end
of the scale.  Definitely far beyond 'voice call', 'SMS', 'GPRS', 'wifi
driver', 'messaging client', ...

> You'll eventually find that you have to reduce "what is openmoko" or "what is
> a FIC phone" (as my kids call it) to the elevator conversation. (15 second
> "what do you guys make"?) 

that again would be aiming for a different market than what we're
interested in now.

In any case, I would really want to stop this thread on gsmd-devel,
since its relation to gsmd is really peripheral.
- Harald Welte <laforge at>         
Software for the world's first truly open Free Software mobile phone

More information about the gsmd-devel mailing list