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  • OpenPhoneux / GTA04 Still Going As Niche Phone

    Phoronix: OpenPhoneux / GTA04 Still Going As Niche Phone

    The GTA04 is still being worked on and sought after by a small community of open-source enthusiasts and Linux developers as the next-generation OpenMoko platform. Unfortunately, the project has yet to really take off with success. As part of this there is the OpenPhoneux as "the future 'independent mobile handheld' project aiming at complete devices." Tomorrow also marks the four-year anniversary of the Neo FreeRunner launch...

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=MTEzMjI

  • #2
    While it's certainly admirable what they are trying to accomplish, it feels they are missing the boat and failing quite hard.

    First off, the price is extensively high. Paying a price premium can be understandable, prototype like 'runs' etc. On the other hand, the design would be 'free as in beer', while costing much time to do, they wouldn't charge you for it?

    It hardly compares to devices out there. It's faster then my current smartphone I'll give them that, but again, at what cost? The free-runner case is ugly as hell and the phone isn't even really much more 'free' then most devices out there.

    Modem firmware? Closed.
    GPU drivers? Closed.

    though I didn't RTFA, I would not be supprised if the GPS, Accelerometer and Compass be also closed drivers as seen with many other devices.


    So what does this phone give me, others don't? It's really just the same. Really, a shame.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by oliver View Post
      While it's certainly admirable what they are trying to accomplish, it feels they are missing the boat and failing quite hard.

      First off, the price is extensively high. Paying a price premium can be understandable, prototype like 'runs' etc. On the other hand, the design would be 'free as in beer', while costing much time to do, they wouldn't charge you for it?

      It hardly compares to devices out there. It's faster then my current smartphone I'll give them that, but again, at what cost? The free-runner case is ugly as hell and the phone isn't even really much more 'free' then most devices out there.

      Modem firmware? Closed.
      GPU drivers? Closed.

      though I didn't RTFA, I would not be supprised if the GPS, Accelerometer and Compass be also closed drivers as seen with many other devices.


      So what does this phone give me, others don't? It's really just the same. Really, a shame.
      Your stances are understandable, however they are not justified. The price is due to it being manufactured in a German factory. When you pay your workers a fair living wage and operate within safety standards the cost goes up. This is what all devices would cost if they were not made in factories where workers are underpaid, overworked, and treated improperly (eg many Chinese factories). They could've gone the cheap route, but they have a stronger moral compass than other manufacturers.

      The GPS, accelerometer and compass drivers are 100% FOSS. The only other thing that is closed besides the modem and gpu drivers is the wifi firmware. However when the device was being built, there were no SoC's at the time which provided a GPU with a FOSS driver. There is no working open modem firmware out there; osmocomBB comes very close requires one to telnet in to make calls. If you're interested in the choices they made, it is all on the mailing list. The fact is that this is the most FOSS device on the market.

      Comment


      • #4
        Michael Larabel please pay attention

        I sincerely thank you for covering the GTA04, but I (and some others apparently) found some of your points unfair. http://lists.goldelico.com/pipermail...ly/002556.html has written a very good response, please read this. I would really appreciate knowing what parts you disagree with.

        For the future, what can the GTA04 community do make a better case for people who are writing about it? I'm trying to collect marketing material at http://wiki.openmoko.org/wiki/Marketing_GTA04 and have added a section for good points about the product so future writers can have an easy list to pull from. The mailing list post I linked to is attempting to find more good reasons for a GTA04. Do you think this is sufficient? Can you make any other suggestions so the community can present the GTA04 and itself in a better light?

        Comment


        • #5
          The OpenMoko started as a nice 'idea' (I even got one of them) then the real mess started when hardware bugs were discovered and
          users like me had to solder smd capacitors etc in order to fix them... the device was not even useful as mobile phone, as I clearly remember the battery life was very short at first...(not to mention bad reception etc).

          Comment


          • #6
            ^ and thats the reason why open software works and hardware doesn't. HW needs money and a lot of them.

            Comment


            • #7
              GSM

              There exist no open source GSM?

              Comment


              • #8
                Yet it haves couple of huge advantages.

                First of all, new unlocked iphone could go as high as almost $1000. If you buy it locked and with long contract, you just re-paying "credit" during contract which costs far more than I would spend on mobile communications otherwise. Since OpenMoko ppl are not going to apply operator lock, it's not an option for them. The only non-locked iphone worth of $100 is iphone 1 or 2 generation which would hardly beat that omap as well.

                So you have to pay full hardware price at once. No discounts and credits. But what's good results from it?
                1) It's not locked to any operator. It's yours, not operator's. So you can choose operator and plan yourself. As it always has been in GSM/3G designs.
                2) No DRM (restrictions) crap as well. So you're owner and phone obeys you. And not going to make harmful actions you could dislike. Isn't it good?
                3) It haves clean system design, not HSPA modem centric at all, unlike many other designs. It's a computer and HSPA modem. Amount of harm it can do to you and your data on remote requests are limited. Other phones may contain really unwanted activity like RRLP, backdoor-style misfeature. Sure, it's declared for use in emergency but you see, it's possible for governments, staff and others to (ab)use this feature for very accurate position tracking. Lack of such features could be a good idea and once cell modem have to rely on Linux system controlled by owner, it's easy to keep under control who can use GPS and when. On some other phones it could be much harder. For example, on Qualcomm, modem is a core of system and can access everything. Including GPS. On a proprietary firmware will.
                4) It's not restricted in boot loaders so owner can boot anything that is able to run on this hardware. Isn't it nice to have such option?

                Basically, it's phone for owner and developer. Not a phone made to keep media mafiaa guys happy. Not a phone to make cell operators happy with their lock-ins. Not a tool of vendor to enforce their dictatorship what to do, what you can and when. Unlike many other devices. Sure, this device is not for dumb iphone users who abandoned their privacy and consumer's rights in favor of glamorous crap. But it's still haves it's niche.
                Last edited by 0xBADCODE; 07-04-2012, 10:12 AM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Here's some points for those arguments.

                  1) At least here in Finland, you can buy any phone without operator-locks. I do not know for US, but I have the feeling that huge majority of phones there are sold with operator-contract. Also I do not know how it's for the rest of Europe.
                  2) My phone obeys me just fine. I run community-build of Android 4.0.4 on my ZTE Blade. Stock ROMs might be different but I think this second point is mostly theoretical.
                  3) Again I think this whole tracking-thing is mostly harmless for average Joe. Is there any known case where average joe has been tracked? If government wants to follow you, I think you got bigger problems than what phone you use. Besides if I am not completely mistaken, GSM-connection alone can be tracked. For RRLP, I do not know. Also, with a rooted Android-phone, you can set the system pretty much the way you want.
                  4. Why would anyone want to boot everything that hardware is capable of running on their phone? Phone is a phone, I would like to hear why it's nice to have such option. At least when I used the device (2010 - early 2011) SHR and QTMoko were the only decent enough systems for the phone.

                  And yes, I do own OpenMoko GTA02, and for a phone, it is the worst device I have ever owned. I had to constantly reinstall the OS (SHR) because it started bugging out. I do not blame SHR-developers, they did a great job for their limited time & manpower. It's just obvious that the device doesn't cut it for so called normal user. It's a nice toy for developers who want to get their hands dirty in mobile-development, nothing else. These are my opinions on it. I have been using ZTE Blade with custom ROMs from the moment I received it, already unlocked & rooted from Ebay. iPhones are probably worse in this case, I never owned one. I still wouldn't go and call an iPhone user dumb. Everyone gets what works out for them.

                  Originally posted by 0xBADCODE View Post
                  First of all, new unlocked iphone could go as high as almost $1000. If you buy it locked and with long contract, you just re-paying "credit" during contract which costs far more than I would spend on mobile communications otherwise. Since OpenMoko ppl are not going to apply operator lock, it's not an option for them. The only non-locked iphone worth of $100 is iphone 1 or 2 generation which would hardly beat that omap as well.

                  So you have to pay full hardware price at once. No discounts and credits. But what's good results from it?
                  1) It's not locked to any operator. It's yours, not operator's. So you can choose operator and plan yourself. As it always has been in GSM/3G designs.
                  2) No DRM (restrictions) crap as well. So you're owner and phone obeys you. And not going to make harmful actions you could dislike. Isn't it good?
                  3) It haves clean system design, not HSPA modem centric at all, unlike many other designs. It's a computer and HSPA modem. Amount of harm it can do to you and your data on remote requests are limited. Other phones may contain really unwanted activity like RRLP, backdoor-style misfeature. Sure, it's declared for use in emergency but you see, it's possible for governments, staff and others to (ab)use this feature for very accurate position tracking. Lack of such features could be a good idea and once cell modem have to rely on Linux system controlled by owner, it's easy to keep under control who can use GPS and when. On some other phones it could be much harder. For example, on Qualcomm, modem is a core of system and can access everything. Including GPS. On a proprietary firmware will.
                  4) It's not restricted in boot loaders so owner can boot anything that is able to run on this hardware. Isn't it nice to have such option?

                  Basically, it's phone for owner and developer. Not a phone made to keep media mafiaa guys happy. Not a phone to make cell operators happy with their lock-ins. Not a tool of vendor to enforce their dictatorship what to do, what you can and when. Unlike many other devices. Sure, this device is not for dumb iphone users who abandoned their privacy and consumer's rights in favor of glamorous crap. But it's still haves it's niche.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by phoronix View Post
                    Phoronix: OpenPhoneux / GTA04 Still Going As Niche Phone

                    The price on the GTA04 is 666.66 , or about $840 USD, for hardware that's slower than a $100 iPhone.
                    There's no such thing as a $100 iPhone. You can buy contract free Android Phones for less than 100 though. But you being an Apple fanboy...

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Lasse. View Post
                      1) At least here in Finland, you can buy any phone without operator-locks. I do not know for US, but I have the feeling that huge majority of phones there are sold with operator-contract. Also I do not know how it's for the rest of Europe.
                      Here in Belgium (almost?) no phones are sold with an operator lock, because they have to remove it on simple request in the shop whenever you ask anyway...

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by AnonymousCoward View Post
                        There's no such thing as a $100 iPhone. You can buy contract free Android Phones for less than 100 though. But you being an Apple fanboy...
                        You can get iPhones for around 100 when you get something like a 2 year contract, but it is quite clear that Android phones are much cheaper, and that is the reason why they are used so much more all around the world.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by toby76 View Post
                          You can get iPhones for around 100 when you get something like a 2 year contract, but it is quite clear that Android phones are much cheaper, and that is the reason why they are used so much more all around the world.
                          You can get it for 1 too, but when you're done paying, you've payed 1000.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            There is no such thing as a $100 iPhone. It does not exist (I'm sure you can find an iPhone 1 for $100, but we're not talking stupid here).

                            What happens is, you make a deal, like with the mob, with your carrier. Your carrier charges you anywhere from $30 to $40 a month for your plan. $20 to $30 may be used to pay off the phone, where as the rest goes to actually paying for the minutes/data.

                            Hence, after 24 months, you have payed $20 - $30 * 24 months = $480 - $720 for the phone. In the first case, this doesn't cover the phone and thus you have to pay an extra $100 up front. This makes it seem like the phone costs only $100, but alas. You have now payed $580 for the phone. The phone probably costs without a contract only about $550 so the carrier STILL made some profit over your dumbness. If you go for the second option, and pay $0 (or $1) for the phone, you have actually payed $720 (or $721) for the phone and the carrier is extremely happy to have you as a customer, the phone still only costs $550.

                            Carriers do not EVER give you anything for 'free' because they love you. Not ever. You pay for it. It's called a payment plan or load. Call it as you like.

                            Android phones actually do come for about $70 for the really cheap ones. Samsung sells some cheap ones for $99. But yes, the Galaxy S3 and the like do cost in the $500 to $700 bracket.


                            Disclaimer. I have made up these numbers, but should be close enough to be accurate. It should be quite obvious what this little math example is supposed to show.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by toby76 View Post
                              You can get iPhones for around 100 when you get something like a 2 year contract, but it is quite clear that Android phones are much cheaper, and that is the reason why they are used so much more all around the world.
                              Also, if you are wanting to save on your contract, you can look into some residential VoIP providers, and see if any of them are compatible with iPhones. If you are able to, you can make the majority of your calls through voip, and it will save a considerable amount on your phone bill. I recently switched my iPhone to Voip, and I have been very happy with the service and the money I am saving.

                              Comment

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