[Gta04-owner] Some questions

Dr. H. Nikolaus Schaller hns at goldelico.com
Sun May 18 12:24:08 CEST 2014


Am 17.05.2014 um 14:47 schrieb Cyril Firmin:

> Hello,
> I have progressed in my study of the GTA04.
> I have made some break through the educational part, but not so much for the technical study.


> I have some questions about the GTA04
> - did you put some requirement for the component? like price, documented, availability, power consumption,....

Yes, all of them, plus: operation principles, signal voltages, component dimensions.

But usually you have to trade off heavily. And that is the step which makes these decisions really difficult.

The most prominent example is a WiFi chip (but the same holds for 3G module, CPU, Display panel and others).

We can choose between ca. 5 or 10 different chips.
* They differ in price. The cheapest one may not be available to us (at least in lower quantities) or no longer available.
* The second cheapest has a high power consumption.
* The third cheapest does not support the latest and greatest standards.
* The fourth cheapest is much too big.
* The fifth cheapest is not well documented (under NDA only)
* The sixth cheapest does not fit to the signals of the CPU (i.e. needs pricy and space wasting interface glue chips)

So what remains: the fifth cheapest with some documentation under NDA and a binary BLOB for the WiFi firmware.

The result is that some people complain that WiFi is not open enough and others that it is not cheap enough.
Although it is the most open and best price compromise we found.

One more thing to consider in this discussion is that prices may change and new chips may become available. Then it is a tradeoff to redesign everything (needing time and money) or stay with the suboptimal solution that is known to work.

This is the sort of tradeoffs that have to be made at many positions when designing such a system with very tight constraints (in space, cost and project timining). If you relax any of them it becomes easier. Building a smartphone in brick format can easily and cheaply be done (e.g. PiPhone). Or if you get 1000€ per unit for 10k units you can have almost everything inside. Or if you want to work on the design 3-5 years you might be lucky to get a better combination than is available todays.

> - why did you choose to produce only batch when financed by preorder instead of classical commercial scheme?

Because "classical commercial scheme" needs somebody to provide the money upfront. This would be an investor who risks to loose all money, if in the long run nobody buys anything. For the original design of the GTA04A2/A3 it was Golden Delicious Computers who did this investment into engineering - but it came from profit made by importing and reselling GTA02 devices. This has been completely exhausted now.

So who can provide financing better than those who really want a device? This consequently leads to a batch scheme with upfront-payments by interested persons. For a third-party investor you would need to prove that there are enough interested people. Or we have to pay very high interest rates.

Hope this answers your questions.


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