[Tinkerphones] ZeroPhone site offline

H. Nikolaus Schaller hns at goldelico.com
Sun Jan 2 22:01:51 CET 2022

> Am 02.01.2022 um 21:33 schrieb Paul Boddie <paul at boddie.org.uk>:
> On Wednesday, 29 December 2021 10:15:45 CET H. Nikolaus Schaller wrote:
>> Next question: are there enough interested developers for writing free
>> software?
>> And one more thing to consider is the power demand of a non-phone-processor.
>> Especially the ∏02 needs much more energy or must be heavily underclocked
>> (if that is possible at all).
>> Even the N900 upstream kernel is wrestling with power management of the
>> good old omap3.
>> The key feature of a featurephone over a smartphone is that it can
>> run 100 hours or more in standby but wake up immediately. And all that
>> coming in a small and lightweight case with big buttons and display.
>> This combination of requirements is very difficult to achieve with
>> off-the-shelf components.
> Sorry to rewind back to this, but reading a selection of comments about the 
> PinePhone is certainly enlightening in this context:
> https://www.pine64.org/2021/12/29/pinephone-community-poll/
> It seems to me that some of the issues that are mentioned above, plus various 
> issues previously mentioned about the Openmoko devices, still seem to be 
> present even in today's initiatives. For example:
> "Got one because my husband is very into Linux and wanted to see if it could 
> replace my 6 year old Samsung but I can kind of live with the slowness but the 
> battery level is so unreliable and drains quickly."
> https://www.pine64.org/2021/12/29/pinephone-community-poll/#comment-5434
> "I was using the pinephone as a daily driver, and was even using XFCE/PMOS as 
> my os for a while. Then went to Manjaro and just recently (4 days ago) bought 
> a new Android (Motorola G Power 2021) specifically because of the battery 
> life."
> https://www.pine64.org/2021/12/29/pinephone-community-poll/#comment-5445
> "I’ve used my PPs in convergence format with a cooling fan to dissipate the 
> heat when a monitor is connected. I’m hoping the Pro as promised will be safer 
> to use."
> https://www.pine64.org/2021/12/29/pinephone-community-poll/#comment-5474
> "If the battery life would improve I’d love to use it as a daily driver but I 
> just don’t see me getting a 12 hour day with it off charger. Plus last time I 
> popped a sim in it(admittedly awhile back now) it didn’t handle receiving 
> calls when screen was off very well."
> https://www.pine64.org/2021/12/29/pinephone-community-poll/#comment-5476
> "The biggest blocker to actually using the Pinephone for me has been buggy 
> hardware and incomplete drivers (or drivers that must work around buggy 
> hardware). Particularly the USB-C support for video-out and power negotiation. 
> If USB-C, sound, display, wifi, & bluetooth were all hardware with reliable, 
> upstream kernel support then the Pinephone would be immediately usable for me 
> for many daily tasks and a fun playground to experiment with. Unfortunately 
> both Pinephone models that I’ve purchased have hardware issues and have been 
> largely shelved — they don’t work as a phone (which is expected) nor do they 
> work as a tiny Linux computer (which is not expected and disappointing)."
> https://www.pine64.org/2021/12/29/pinephone-community-poll/#comment-5479
> "Even though I was able to get my Pine Phone Community Edition up and running, 
> I abandoned any notion of using it regularly due to reports from callers who 
> reported hearing very distorted and poor sound when I used this device. It 
> seems that problem is because the mic and speaker are located too close to 
> each other."
> https://www.pine64.org/2021/12/29/pinephone-community-poll/#comment-5484
> "Main issues are critical low battery life (I think it is bug in SW, since it 
> stayed longer before), not receiving non-GSM notifications when the phone is 
> in sleep mode (like jabber, whatsapp etc – because the wifi is disconnected) 
> and also the GSM SW support is not perfect – sometimes I miss a call or sms."
> https://www.pine64.org/2021/12/29/pinephone-community-poll/#comment-5513
> "microphone not working on receiving calls, too slow, I cannot pick up the 
> call in time in time"
> https://www.pine64.org/2021/12/29/pinephone-community-poll/#comment-5519
> "The Pine64 developers and the community need to put more focus onto making 
> the PinePhone perform the most basic of mobile phone tasks, Like making and 
> receiving phone calls, using headphone earpieces, receiving and sending SMS, 
> phonebook. The basic essential stuff required for someone to just buy this 
> pinephone and use it to replace a cheap android phone. Focusing on apps and UI 
> and all that stuff means nothing if the average idiot cant use this phone out 
> of the box!"
> https://www.pine64.org/2021/12/29/pinephone-community-poll/#comment-5521
> There's also a lot of complaints about Signal not being available for the 
> phone, but I think that those people bought the wrong product.
> The PinePhone initiative seems to be an interesting experiment in seeing 
> whether various Linux-plus-graphical-environment distributions can deliver a 
> usable phone experience. I recall things being said about the Openmoko 
> FreeRunner not being quick at handling calls, with assertions about the 
> software stack not being responsive enough to deal with the different 
> hardware-driven events, and I imagine that despite a lot of disdain for what 
> Openmoko and others sought to achieve all that time ago, the situation is 
> still not that great even now.

Hi Paul,
you have probably pinpointed the most important aspect of all discussions.

We have no high-quality power management in any of the devices...
We spend (spent) a lot of time to make it work, get hardware out just
to get the same feedback as you have cited above.

We (as the OpenMoko and GTA04 community) have faced it. I think also
the Librem 5 has. And the Pinephone you have cited.

What should be different?
- well it needs a team dedicated at making hardware reliable and improve
  power efficiency
- this needs a lot of insights into hardware and good doscumentation
- and - maybe - a stable basis to work on
- there should also not be fragmentation between several groups
  having multiple desktops to choose from is good, but having multiple
  power managements?

This raises an interesting question: can a loosely organised open source
community ever fulfill these user's expectaions? Or does it need a commercial
effort following a plan, an agenda, doing scrum etc. having enough resources
and not waiting for volunteers? This does not exclude to make the results
open source (like Google does with Android), but it needs big funds...


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