[Gta04-owner] GTA04 Status

Johannes Schauer j.schauer at email.de
Sun Aug 21 10:34:54 CEST 2011

Hi all!

@nikolaus: thanks again for this wonderful update on the progress! Let
me just reiterate (just as many of the previous posts to this list
already did) how incredibly awesome it is to be kept up to date with the
development status in this amount of detail!

On Fri, Aug 19, 2011 at 09:58:29PM +0200, Dr. H. Nikolaus Schaller wrote:
> a) working (hardware and linux drivers are available):
> * Booting
> * Display
> * Touch
> * SD card slot
> * Battery charging
> * ALSA sound (headset, speaker, earpiece, microphone)
> * Vibracall
> * LEDs
> * Buttons
> * WLAN & Bluetooth (i.e. SDIO and UART interface)
> * UMTS data connection (and SIM slot)
> * GPS
> * TV-Out

so great :D that already makes the gta04 useful for a number of

> b) works but quality is unclear:
> * Receiver sensitivity of UMTS, WLAN, Bluetooth, GPS
> * Audio quality

and "works" means: no apparent very bad quality? (like connection drops

> c) flaws (not easily fixable without running a new board layout):
> * Power supply stability of WLAN
> * OTG port has (too) many bit errors in USB 2.0 mode (unless cable < 15cm)
> * UMTS module can't be completely powered down
>   and drains battery with 3-10 mA even if CPU is off

doesnt sound like anything a software developer would need to have.
those are only things that are needed for being mobile and actually
using the gta04 productively.

( /me grabs some more <15 cm usb otg cables from the store )

> d) not tested (mainly because Linux drivers are missing and/or not properly configured):
> * UMTS PCM voice path (needs some McBSP interface to ALSA)
> * HDQ for battery status indication
> * IrDA communication (Tx works)
> * FM
> * Sensors
> * Camera
> * Flash / Torch
> * Headset microphone + remote control
> * AUX-IN (stereo input)
> * OTG Charge Pump (Host mode)
> For part d) we have recognized that we don't have enough
> expertise in writing the kernel software and those who have,
> don't have the hardware (yet).

while a potential user application developer can probably even live
without camera, sensors, fm radio and so on (in case there are still
some hardware flaws involved), a not working voice path to the modem
would be quite a bummer. It would be great if the early adopter boards
had at least confirmed that a working audio path to the modem is only a
software issue.

> 4. Kernel Drivers
> So we need your help. I.e. your Linux expertise and willingness
> to learn new things together with us. Mainly to develop the missing
> Linux kernel drivers and interfaces. And port new Userland code.
> Therefore, we decided to build all remaining EA Boards next week
> despite some flaws and untested areas.

meaning that all early adopters will receive boards with the flaws
mentioned in c) "not easily fixable without running a new board layout"?

would be fine with me. I wouldnt need stable wlan connection, usb otg or
long standby time as my gta04 will be connected to my laptop for ssh
connection most of the time anyways.

> So we will focus on producing the boards and do the post-production
> tests. And finalize the manual so that you will have all information
> you need.
> Two areas are still in negotiation with the chip manufacturers.
> One is the WLAN/BT module and the other one the UMTS
> module. For both, we do not exactly know if we can publish
> the schematics. And for UMTS, there are some proprietary
> AT commands where we need the written permission to
> publish them. Unfortunately, two of the commands are very
> nice to make UMTS networking simple and to enable the
> Voice PCM path.

maybe there is the chance to get those commands from some pdf hosted on
a chinese server?

In the worst case: if one knows what the result should be, could one
bruteforce the commands? They are probably not longer than 6 ascii

> Where we need more Kernel Expertise for testing the final bits
> of the hardware:
> * mmc driver (needs to detect SDIO if WLAN is powered on)
> * 1-wire/HDQ driver and BQ270x0
> * McBSP sound, ALSA integration (for UMTS & FM Radio PCM)
> * IrDA over OMAP UART
> * Camera driver (OmniVision + I2C)
> * ALSA-Integration of headset microphone, remote control, AUX in
> * musb driver and OTG charge pump

Hopefully people from the community with enough expertise and free time
show up for these tasks. Sadly I must admit I'm lacking the former :/

> 5. Linux 3.x
> David has got his GTA04 right for Chaos Communication Camo
> (did you meet him?) and has already started to work on patching
> a Linux 3.0 kernel. He will report results when they become
> available.

cheers david! hope everything goes well!

Btw, what is the status of arm in linux? I recently skimmed some news
about the apparent mess that arm is in the kernel due to the many
different boards out there. This probably means that upstreaming gta04
changes will not be possible until a solution to this is found?

> 6. Questions?
> Please ask us what you ever wanted to know about the GTA04
> but were afraid to ask...

So, yeah: only pressing question right now: will the gta04 early adopter
board have the ability to make a working phone call or could there exist
a potential hardware blocker avoiding it?

Upon receiving my early adopter board I'll put debian armhf on it and
make ofono work and add connman once this is done. Looking forward to

keep up the good work!

cheers, josch

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