[Gta04-owner] Openmoko Community Survey 2011 – Results

Bob Ham rah at bash.sh
Mon Jan 16 13:17:32 CET 2012

On 16/01/2012 10:21, Dr. H. Nikolaus Schaller wrote:
> Hi Bob,
> Am 16.01.2012 um 10:59 schrieb Bob Ham:
>> Perhaps a simple phone that does what it does, and does it well, is a good idea.  A cut-down phone running free software could well be very popular.  Perhaps the answer is hidden in Q1: the high-end feature set.  Let me reverse the question: why produce a phone with a high-end feature set, rather than a functional phone with a low-end feature set?
>> Cost is evidently a significant issue.  The lack of sales demonstrates the need to find the right balance between cost and features.  Unfortuntely, it seems that the GTA04 is not so well balanced in this respect.  That's not to say it won't be successful; it's still pretty much the only option for those who have strong beliefs about freedom (or will be, once cases are readily available).  However, a low-end phone with a good balance between cost and features will no doubt be much more widely popular.
> I tend to disagree.
> First of all, what is "a good balance between cost and features"? People disagree a lot
> on this. And it changes every two weeks. So one week you get one half and the other
> week you get the other half. I.e. leaving features out has the same result of splitting the
> 100% of basically interested into those who had preferred feature 1 and those who had
> preferred features 2. This is also done by price.

Indeed, this is why big manufacturers produce more than one device at 
any particular price point: to cover as many of consumers' wants as they 

As for how many people would be interested, according to the survey 
responses we have 90% of the people who are interested, not buying the 
device because of cost.  As for what "a good balance between cost and 
features" means, in this context, it would mean selling to half of the 
50% of people prepared to pay a lower cost, rather than all of the 10% 
of people prepared to pay the higher cost.  That is, 25% of the total 
market instead of 10%.

> Regarding the GTA04 feature set, we see comments on /. and elsewhere, where the
> GTA04 is brandmarked as being underfeatured. People keep saying: high(er) resolution,
> capacitive touch, multi-core, LTE is needed to make a useable smartphone.

Well, the question I was asking (and I'm just playing devil's advocate 
really) is: why make a *smart* phone at all?  Why not just make a simple 
"feature phone"?

I wonder how many of those commenters are buying their smartphones 
sim-free from the manufacturer?  I'm sure their expectations would drop 
dramatically if they were presented with the real cost of the device 
they propose.

> Now let's assume we define a low-featured device. Reduce UMTS to GSM, reduce VGA to QVGA,
> etc. It will not reduce cost dramatically.

These are the same features, just a reduction in their quality.  What I 
mean is to *remove* features, such as accelerometers, wifi, etc.  I'm 
not sure if that's what you meant.

> The reason is that 50-70% of the cost is just making
> a device that can be called "phone"

Are you saying that it's possible to produce a free phone which is 
30-50% cheaper than the GTA04?

> ... So the shift to a lower feature set increases the distance to
> commercial smartphone platforms and does not reduce cost significantly enough.

What kind of reduction are you talking about?  Let's say, as a 
hypothetical example, that the goal was to produce a phone with UMTS, a 
headset connector, a touchscreen, bluetooth and nothing else.  Can I ask 
you, what kind of reduction in final price, compared to the GTA04, would 
that reduction in functionality bring about?

I also wonder what would be involved in producing a variation on the 
GTA04 board design which could provide that kind of minimal functionality?


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