[Gta04-owner] Openmoko Community Survey 2011 – Results

Xavi Drudis Ferran xdrudis at tinet.cat
Mon Jan 16 14:29:33 CET 2012

On Mon 16/01/12 13:17 , Bob Ham <rah at bash.sh> wrote:

> 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 
> can.

I thought they did it to increase the obsolesence of "old" models. 
If they wanted to satisfy customers they could simply give support 
for each model longer, and they wouldn't have to produce so many 
different models. But they want you to throw away your phone and 
buy a new one with somethign you don't need.
> 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"?

The point is that the GTA04 is already designed and AFAIK the design 
works, so I don't see the point in desiging soemthing else (I mean, anybody
can of course, but if every device that gets designed is simply discarded 
at this point in develepment and a design for another one starts, it won't
get very sustainable). 

And besides, I don't see what can be so free in a feature phone. I think 
there are projects for soft radios or things like that, but trying to sell that
to the public would probably require expensive certification. If you want to 
buy GSM modules to avoid certification then you are very limited in the 
freedom you can bring to the users. 

In fact the GTA04 is not so free in some features, so if you just remove
the more free ones, I don't see how can you make it more attractive. 
The more free ones are about the CPU and some sensors, so it should
be a smartphone.
> 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.

I think it is pointless to try to compete with that. The idea is a different device
which people can use for other things, modify and buy because of other 
reasons. If there isn't enough demand then the only option is producing
less units, more expensive and hope that with time people know it more 
and demands it more. I guess the problem is that you don't have much time
before the design becaomes obsolete, components get harder to source, etc. 
> 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.

I think the features and freedom are not orthogonal. The more powerful 
a device is the more interesting its openness becomes. 
> Are you saying that it's possible to produce a free phone which is 
> 30-50% cheaper than the GTA04?

I have no idea, but once months/years of effort have been put into a design, 
and people has already paid for some units, it is not the best idea to just
switch requirements and start anew. I think it would be easier to focus
on how to market the existing design. And everyone is wellcome to start anew
with another design, maybe reusing some of the GTA04 work. But please,
let's see what we can do to increase the use of the already done work.
> 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 guess little. But maybe we need to detail the requirements to answer 
that ? What processor ? how much RAM ? 
> I also wonder what would be involved in producing a variation on the 
> GTA04 board design which could provide that kind of minimal
> functionality?

I don't know about electronics, but apparently you get chips with more 
features than you really need, and you can almost only choose to use 
them or leave them unwired (I'm exagerating). 

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