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  • The Neo900 Phone Project Is Still Happening

    Phoronix: The Neo900 Phone Project Is Still Happening

    The Neo900 project remains an effort to provide a motherboard replacement for the once-popular Nokia N900 smart-phone while carrying on the tradition of the OpenMoko project...

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=MTY5Nzc

  • #2
    Small correction:

    Golden Delicious Computers stepped down from its role as "project owner" it never intended to have, but it will be still working on the project - just this time for Neo900 UG, not the other way around. GDC used to do money accounting for the project, but that turned out to be a mistake, as it put liabilities on GDC side despite of the fact that it wasn't GDC who was supposed to develop the device.

    Also, "one of many Android smart-phones that can be rooted" is sure more powerful, but not as documented, not as hackable and not as flexible. Rooting most of Android phones is like running free software on Windows - very useful, for many more than enough, but not enough for others.

    Comment


    • #3
      >The hardware specs aren't anything to get excited about at all with anyone wanting a Linux phone with good performance will probably be best off with one of many Android smart-phones that can be rooted.


      Yes, you do that. I'll be over here with my phone that is actually awesome. Keep your Androids!

      Comment


      • #4
        The radio looks like it covers many bands well... however the price and specs are appalling. "motherboard w/o case expected to be in the 500-700 EUR " quoted from the golden delicious computers site... thats just crazy prices.

        I could understand the prices if they wanted to deliver a top end open source device it would be worth the premium but as it stands most 120$ phones can run circles around this :/ more cpu power, more flash, more ram ... larger screens and more battery is commonplace in other devices.

        Choosing open source shouldn't mean that you have to use a low end device.... that said the aesthetics and design are great just like an n800 or n800 series device.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by cb88 View Post
          The radio looks like it covers many bands well... however the price and specs are appalling. "motherboard w/o case expected to be in the 500-700 EUR " quoted from the golden delicious computers site... thats just crazy prices.

          I could understand the prices if they wanted to deliver a top end open source device it would be worth the premium but as it stands most 120$ phones can run circles around this :/ more cpu power, more flash, more ram ... larger screens and more battery is commonplace in other devices.

          Choosing open source shouldn't mean that you have to use a low end device.... that said the aesthetics and design are great just like an n800 or n800 series device.
          Yeah, well, the minimum order for larger ram chips is much higher. And the SoC is limited to something pretty darn similar to what they had, unless they want to do an entire SoC port on top of everything else. And if you want larger screen (if anyone is even making larger high quality resistive screens...), you need to engineer an entire new case. That ain't a hobby project anymore, and would need a much larger and more diverse team, besides more money.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by cb88 View Post
            The radio looks like it covers many bands well... however the price and specs are appalling. "motherboard w/o case expected to be in the 500-700 EUR " quoted from the golden delicious computers site... thats just crazy prices.

            I could understand the prices if they wanted to deliver a top end open source device it would be worth the premium but as it stands most 120$ phones can run circles around this :/ more cpu power, more flash, more ram ... larger screens and more battery is commonplace in other devices.

            Choosing open source shouldn't mean that you have to use a low end device.... that said the aesthetics and design are great just like an n800 or n800 series device.
            While I agree that this is very expensive, this isn't about the hardware. This is about the software. I've used a Nokia N900 for two years, and yeah eventually got forced to android because my phone wouldn't charge anymore (the famous microusb contact issue), and hell did I regress. Maemo may be lacking in apps, but god android can be so obtuse at times, and it's like the designers don't care about power users and their use cases. If it runs facebook and instagram and angry flappy quiz, ship it!

            But yeah, I'll stick with android. But I'll still be unhappy about so many of its design decisions. And I'll still long for the N900.

            Also note that Neo900 will be a QWERTY phone, and that is a smartphone category where the best hardware is my current phone: Samsung Galaxy S Relay 4G, which is not 4G (so Neo900 will be the only LTE QWERTY phone in existence), dual-core 1.5ghz, 1gb ram. So comparing against the top-of-the line QWERTY android, it's not *so* bad.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by cb88 View Post
              I could understand the prices if they wanted to deliver a top end open source device it would be worth the premium but as it stands most 120$ phones can run circles around this :/ more cpu power, more flash, more ram ... larger screens and more battery is commonplace in other devices.

              Choosing open source shouldn't mean that you have to use a low end device....
              How do you propose getting the million orders necessary to get those comparable prices? Economies of scale don't really work when you have an order for 100 devices.

              If you say "make a cool device and market it well to non-open-source fans", where does the $1M design budget and the $10M marketing budget come from?

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by [Knuckles] View Post
                While I agree that this is very expensive, this isn't about the hardware. This is about the software. I've used a Nokia N900 for two years, and yeah eventually got forced to android because my phone wouldn't charge anymore (the famous microusb contact issue), and hell did I regress. Maemo may be lacking in apps, but god android can be so obtuse at times, and it's like the designers don't care about power users and their use cases. If it runs facebook and instagram and angry flappy quiz, ship it!

                But yeah, I'll stick with android. But I'll still be unhappy about so many of its design decisions. And I'll still long for the N900.

                Also note that Neo900 will be a QWERTY phone, and that is a smartphone category where the best hardware is my current phone: Samsung Galaxy S Relay 4G, which is not 4G (so Neo900 will be the only LTE QWERTY phone in existence), dual-core 1.5ghz, 1gb ram. So comparing against the top-of-the line QWERTY android, it's not *so* bad.
                Right... basically 4G isn't even 4G. The whole #G description is a meaningless pile of horse shit.
                Also, you're welcome. I hand-wrote a pretty big part of the kernel for that phone, which unless you're running the crippled factory build of samsuckdroid, you are *definitely* running.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by dos1 View Post
                  Also, "one of many Android smart-phones that can be rooted" is sure more powerful, but not as documented, not as hackable and not as flexible. Rooting most of Android phones is like running free software on Windows - very useful, for many more than enough, but not enough for others.
                  Actually, the more powerful devices are MORE hackable, and MORE flexible.
                  First, it isn't hacking if you actually have source code and documentation, but more because of the bigger user base and bigger organizations providing code and documentation. A couple of guys in their garage can make some code, but not much. Take a look at all the code that comes through code aurora (qualcomm). Also, you would be really surprised at just how closely hardware vendors (like sony, lg, etc) follow the reference designs.
                  Second, when you're dealing with hardware that hasn't been "good" for 3-4 years, its really difficult to come up with motivation to actually do anything. So yeah, a bunch of zealots will probably buy this thing, and they'll be really into it for... a week. Then it will sit on their bench forever.

                  Yes, there are some bits of current android devices that are binary, but in the grand scheme of things, they are relatively few, and dropping.
                  Also, it isn't like these guys will be *allowed* or *able* to provide a full stack of source code for OMAP3. There are as many parts of that that TI will force them to keep closed under NDA, as qualcomm does, so in truth, our high-end Android devices are *JUST* as open source as this will be.

                  In fact.... OMAP3.... has a... get this.... POWERVR SGX 530!!!!
                  Have fun everyone, that is *THE* GPU that is absolutely the LEAST open source friendly of ALL. Even NVIDIA is better.

                  LOL
                  Last edited by droidhacker; 05-23-2014, 08:08 AM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Also dos1... when you compare rooting an android phone to running free software on MS... that is wholly inaccurate, since the first thing you do when you gain root, is to use it to blow the factory crippledroid off the device and replace it with something you build from source yourself... i.e., something *good*. Doesn't have to be Android if you don't want it to be.

                    https://github.com/freedreno/nexus4-fedora

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by [Knuckles] View Post
                      Also note that Neo900 will be a QWERTY phone, and that is a smartphone category where the best hardware is my current phone: Samsung Galaxy S Relay 4G, which is not 4G (so Neo900 will be the only LTE QWERTY phone in existence), dual-core 1.5ghz, 1gb ram. So comparing against the top-of-the line QWERTY android, it's not *so* bad.
                      My Motorola Photon Q 4G LTE is a QWERTY and ofcourse has LTE, so Neo900 is not the only LTE QWERTY phone in existence.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by nathan View Post
                        My Motorola Photon Q 4G LTE is a QWERTY and ofcourse has LTE, so Neo900 is not the only LTE QWERTY phone in existence.
                        Better question: What's the point of LTE when you don't have enough CPU power to even handle HSPA?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by droidhacker View Post
                          Actually, the more powerful devices are MORE hackable, and MORE flexible.
                          First, it isn't hacking if you actually have source code and documentation, but more because of the bigger user base and bigger organizations providing code and documentation. A couple of guys in their garage can make some code, but not much. Take a look at all the code that comes through code aurora (qualcomm). Also, you would be really surprised at just how closely hardware vendors (like sony, lg, etc) follow the reference designs.
                          Second, when you're dealing with hardware that hasn't been "good" for 3-4 years, its really difficult to come up with motivation to actually do anything. So yeah, a bunch of zealots will probably buy this thing, and they'll be really into it for... a week. Then it will sit on their bench forever.

                          Yes, there are some bits of current android devices that are binary, but in the grand scheme of things, they are relatively few, and dropping.
                          Also, it isn't like these guys will be *allowed* or *able* to provide a full stack of source code for OMAP3. There are as many parts of that that TI will force them to keep closed under NDA, as qualcomm does, so in truth, our high-end Android devices are *JUST* as open source as this will be.

                          In fact.... OMAP3.... has a... get this.... POWERVR SGX 530!!!!
                          Have fun everyone, that is *THE* GPU that is absolutely the LEAST open source friendly of ALL. Even NVIDIA is better.

                          LOL
                          Stick with whatever you prefer the most, nothing wrong with that. To me, Android feels like an toy OS in comparison to a distribution like Maemo. And not being able to run mainline/upstream software (including the kernel itself) on devices, or having to cope with all kind of missing hardware/software support, is not something I'm looking for. Having used both Android and Maemo for many years, and other Linux distros on various other devices for more than a decade, I have come to lose faith in the direction modern smartphones are going. For me, the Neo900 is a great relief, at least for the coming 4 years or so.

                          Sorry that something like Maemo is not for you, but at least you're in luck that Android seems to be in abundance.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by droidhacker View Post
                            So yeah, a bunch of zealots will probably buy this thing, and they'll be really into it for... a week. Then it will sit on their bench forever.
                            Like my Openmoko Neo Freerunner, which I'm actively using and playing with for past six years?

                            Originally posted by droidhacker View Post
                            Also, it isn't like these guys will be *allowed* or *able* to provide a full stack of source code for OMAP3. There are as many parts of that that TI will force them to keep closed under NDA, as qualcomm does, so in truth, our high-end Android devices are *JUST* as open source as this will be.
                            Surprise - full stack is *already* available. Neo900 is basically a modified GTA04 platform, and the original GTA04 also lays on my desk right now - and guess what? It runs 100% free software.

                            Originally posted by droidhacker View Post
                            In fact.... OMAP3.... has a... get this.... POWERVR SGX 530!!!!
                            Have fun everyone, that is *THE* GPU that is absolutely the LEAST open source friendly of ALL. Even NVIDIA is better.
                            That's true, but I don't need to use any 3D acceleration on my phone, as on OSes like SHR or QtMoko it's already smooth as hell without it (even Replicant works pretty nicely). Closed drivers for acceleration are completely optional.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by droidhacker View Post
                              Better question: What's the point of LTE when you don't have enough CPU power to even handle HSPA?
                              what do you define as enough "cpu power" to handle hspa? the htc dream had hsdpa, and a 528mhz cpu. it didn't seem to be incapable of handling its modem.

                              so with the neo900 using a much faster and newer cpu, it should definitely be able to talk to the modem fast enough.

                              and my n800 with its 400mhz omap2 could handle 54mbps wifi without issue. so i still fail to see how cpu "power" is directly related to modem performance.

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