[Gta04-owner] gemini PDA

thomasg thomas at gstaedtner.net
Wed Mar 8 15:43:45 CET 2017

On Mon, Mar 6, 2017 at 3:31 PM, Belisko Marek <marek.belisko at gmail.com>

> Seems that Indiegogo campaign was successful and this device will be
> shipped to users. Looks like competitor for Pyra:
> https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/gemini-pda-android-
> linux-keyboard-mobile-device-phone#/

I think there are a few points to mention:
1) Even if a crowdfunding campaign is successful, it doesn't mean that THE
product (or even A product) will be shipped to donors
2) The company behind the campaign does not seem to have experience with
hardware of that complexity level at all
3) they claim to have a fully functional prototype device, but it is not
shown. in fact nothing is shown but rendered models
4) the "reward" tiers are surprisingly low for a device of that complexity,
produced with quite limited budget. USD 500,000 is not enough for a mass
production run of this device, and the average reward tiers are too low to
pay for a device with a production run under 10k units.
5) the platform is based around a Mediatek SoC, a company with a quite
questionable track record in GPL compliance
6) they do claim linux support, which seems unlikely since they are
dependent on Mediatek source code which is android-only (i. e. the built in
LTE modem cannot ship linux drivers, but will depend on a closed source
android RIL blob, the Mali GPU will only be usable with a proprietary
android "SurfaceFlinger" display driver, no X and no wayland support;
amonst other problems)
7) there is no evidence of any open source ambition or experience (which
matters to this community I think)
8) there is very little transparency. No information is given how they
expect to actually produce the devices. No information to software or the
prototype is available.

Let's estimate what the components will actually cost:
Mediatek sells its Helios X20 dev board for USD 199, this is a bare bones
SBC without any extra features, and likely close to production cost (as
this very likely is a sub 10k production run as well). The SoC alone is
reported to be around USD 30, if you buy 100k or more.
The advertised display is LGs newest and by far most expensive (small)
display to date which will easily be above USD 50 for 100k units.
On that basis, I'd estimate large quantity orders for components alone will
reach USD 150, for medium orders it might be almost twice that.
This leaves a very tiny margin for production problems, if any.

To make it clear: I'm not saying that they won't succeed or can't succeed.
In my opinion it's just unlikely.
There's always good reason to be skeptical with crowdfunding, even more so
with highly ambitious projects, and much more so with relatively small
Many crowdfunding campaigns fail. _Most_ such ambitious campaigns fail.
In my amateur opinion, producing a device of this kind on a 500k budget for
USD 400 per device cannot be done.

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