GTA02-- : phoneless embedded development platform

Rúben Leote Mendes ruben at
Mon Apr 20 06:29:19 CEST 2009


I have been searching for some linux-based device that can be used to
do some embedded development with zero or near zero hardware hacking.
The GTA02 has everything I need. In fact it has more than I need and is
therefore too expensive. I don't know if this would be profitable but
I have the feeling that a device like what I describe below could be the
basis for a popular embedded development platform. The marketing guys
(hi Steve) will probably tell me to shut up. ;-)

Here is the main idea. There are many embedded platforms, even completely
open and linux compatible out there, but I can't find (m)any that have a
user interface built in, that is without additional hacking with the
hardware (adding LCD, keyboard). Software guys don't want to mess around
with hardware, they want a plug-and-hack device.

This is what I think should be present is such a device:

* Portability - should fit in a pocket (mandatory)

* Input/output
  - USB host and device mode (mandatory)
  - Wifi (optional but recommended)
  - bluetooth (optional)
  - ethernet (optional)
  - rs232 (optional)

* User interface
  - display (mandatory - QVGA enough)
  - builtin keyboard or touchscreen (mandatory - latter prefered)

* Storage
  - uSD (optional but recommended)

* Sound
  - Output (mandatory)
  - Input (optional)

Now introducing the GTA02-- device. Start with GTA02 and:

* Remove GSM (not a phone)
* Remove GPS (can use bluetooth gps if needed)
* Remove accelerometers (if costs go down enough)
* Remove vibrator (if costs go down enough)
* Eventually remove wifi and bluetooth (if costs go down enough)
* Optional glamoectomy
* Keep case and everything else as is to lower costs

As this is mainly removing parts it doesn't seem to be very hard or
time consuming project. It also makes less demands on the software side
because many drivers aren't needed anymore, so maybe this could be
sold as a "finished" product even today software-wise. Can also help to
reduce the surplus inventory of some parts that OM have in stock.

Later, if there is enough demand for it, a new case can be designed
and a completely new device engineered.

Some uses for this device come to mind:

* Home automation displays (wall mounted and pocket)
* Tiny point-of-sale (wireless or usb connected to thermal printer)
* Sensor data logger
* Many other embedded applications that need user interaction

So what do you think?
Would it take valueable resources away from the main projects?
What would be the expected price of such a device?
Could it be cheaper than a mass marketed netbook like the 7" Eee PC?

Sorry the for the long mail and thank you for reading.

Rúben Leote Mendes - ruben at

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