Category Archives: Embedded

OpenPhoenux LinuxTag 2013 Impressions

LinuxTag-Logo
The LinuxTag 2013 is over, and I want to share some brief impressions I got during our stay in Berlin.

The LinuxTag is a nice and well organized FOSS exhibition in Germany, attracting more than 10.000 visitors during 4 days.


We gave a talk about the OpenPhoenux project at the 2nd evening and had about 60 listeners. Some of them got very interested and followed us to the booth afterwards. For everyone who couldn’t participate, the slides are available online: Slides.pdf

We shared a booth with some other “Linux & Embedded” projects, namely: OpenEmbedded, Ethernut, Nut/OS, Oswald/Metawatch. Our Booth was professionally looking and I think we got quite some people interested in the project. Basically we had a constant flow of people at the booth during our 3 days stay and the overall feedback was rather positive!

OpenPhoenux LinuxTag 2013 (1) OpenPhoenux LinuxTag 2013 (2) OpenPhoenux LinuxTag 2013 (3)

We got interviewed by the “GNU funzt!” team, as well. The (german) video is now available on Youtube (OpenPhoenux interview is starting at 5:00):


All in all it was a very nice stay in Berlin. I especially enjoyed meeting and chatting with guys who already owned a GTA04. It looks like the community is growing again!

Links:

Openmoko/OpenPhoenux GTA04 jumps off

Table of Contents

gta04+pcblayout


The Story

All started off after Openmoko Inc. began to ship the Openmoko Neo 1973 (GTA01) and Neo Freerunner (GTA02) in 2007, which are fully open source smartphones. A dream became true for many open source lovers and technology enthusiasts at that time.

Sadly, Openmoko Inc. canceled their efforts for an open smartphone in 2009. But due to their openness (schematics, hardware specifications, software) it was possible for enthusiasts from the Openmoko community, with great support from Golden Delicious Computers (one of the german Openmoko distributors), to develop a new and modern open smartphone – the OpenPhoenux GTA04.


Technical Specifications

DSC00972

  • 1GHz ARM Cortex-A8 processor (DM3730)
  • PowerVR integrated graphics (SGX530)
  • 2.8” resistive VGA touchscreen
  • HSDPA 3G modem (Option GTM601)
  • 512MB RAM
  • 1GB internal memory & SDHC card slot (up to 32GB)
  • WLAN, Bluetooth, GPS, FM Transceiver
  • Accelerometer, Compass, Gyroscope, Barometric Altimeter
  • USB 2.0 OTG port, 2.5mm headset port, GPS antenna port, video out


Prototypes & First production run (2012)

om_beagle_hybrid
Golden Delicious Computers and the enthusiasts from the Openmoko community started off with the idea of stuffing a BeagleBoard into a Neo Freerunner case and connecting an USB UMTS dongle to it – this was the first prototype GTA04A1, announced in late 2010 and presented at OHSW 2010 and FOSDEM 2011.


Next, they started to integrate all of this onto a single PCB of the same size as the Neo 1973/Freerunner boards, so it could fit into their cases, use their batterys, antennas, speakers, buttons and touchscreens. This board was then called GTA04A2 – the second prototype, which had quite some problems. A redesign of that prototype resulted to the GTA04A3 “Early-Adpoter” boards, which were shipped to about 20 develpoers, enabling them to start with software development for the platform.

LinuxTag12The next step was to reach out to the people by presenting the project on other conventions like the FOSDEM 2012, Openmobility 2012, Linuxwochen 2012 and the LinuxTag 2012, to produce bigger batches of GTA04s. To finance the first production run of the GTA04A4 (which includes some more fixes over the GTA04A3) Goldelico collected pre-orders from interested people from the Openmoko community. They were able to collect about 250 pre-orders and were thus able to start the first big OpenPhoenux production run.

GTA04 Boards in vapour phase soldering machine

GTA04 Boards in vapour phase soldering machine

Unfortunately, “mass”-production turned out not to be an easy task. Goldelico had to find, analyse and solve a lot of problems within the production line and especially in the soldering process, which took a lot of time. Because of all the troubles the people who pre-ordered in the beginning had to wait about 1 year to finally get their devices. At the end of 2012 all problems were solved and the “Group-Tour” had successfully finished. The GTA04 team is very happy to have reached that big milestone. Now that there are about 300 GTA04s (A3+A4) out in the wild, the interest in the Linux/FOSS community seems to be growing for our project. To satisfy that growing demand Goldelico will happily produce more GTA04s of revision A5 (which will include some minor fixes over the A4).
“Now as we have finally learned everything about mass production […], it is time to kick-start the next [production run].” (Dr. Schaller, Golden Delicious Computers)


Next production run (2013) – Out now!

DSC01512To finance the 2nd production run of about 200 more GTA04 boards Goldelico started to collect pre-orders just recently. The production should run smoothly that time, as there were no big changes and the process is known. Production will start in march 2013 and the boards should ship shortly after that.

If you’re interested in pre-ordering one of those new A5 boards, check out the Handheld-Linux store. If you’re interested in getting a complete “Letux 2804″ unit (GTA04 board build into an Openmoko Freerunner case) now you can get it from the first OpenPhoenux reseller Pulster.eu (stock is limited!).


OpenPhoenux ecosystem

openphoenux
While preparing the next revision of the GTA04 and solving production problems, the guys at Goldelico started to experiment with other GTA04 powered devices. So it is no secret, that there is already an open GTA04 tablet prototype (Letux 7004) and the ready to use GTA04 professional PDA (Letux 3704), which can be used e.g. in logistics (RFID), measurement (GPS) or guiding tasks (big sunlight readable screen & long lasting battery).
The software for the GTA04 is already in a good shape as well. Besides the Debian (squeeze) hardware-validation image, there is the Debian based QtMoko distribution and the FSO based SHR distribution, which makes the GTA04 useable as a daily phone. Furthermore, a port of Replicant (fully open source Android) is in the works. All in all the GTA04 owners in the OpenPhoenux community seem to be satisfied with their devices, so is Nikolaus Schaller from Goldelico:

“[…] I enjoy every day to be member of this OpenPhoenux community. Let’s make the OpenPhoenux fly to new levels next year!” (Dr. Schaller, Golden Delicious Computers)

I really appreciate to see our community grow again and can just second Nikolaus’ sentence. I wish the community a successful year 2013, in which we can satisfy a lot of free software enthusiasts and freedom lovers needs. OpenPhoenux – Free your phone!


Some more Goodies

There are still some more goodies in the pipeline… So stay tuned!


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GTA04 production is processing

The OpenPhoenux GTA04 production is finally making nice process. All the GTA04A4 (Group Tour 1) preorders should be ready and shipped soon!

This is the lastest batch of devices, which has sucessfully passed Golden Delicious Computers’ QA process and fulfilled the high quality claims.

After a lot of production issues had to be solved in the last months, we’ve now found a method which provides us with a good production yield. After switching to vapour phase soldering [0], we got rid of most the soldering problems.

GTA04 boards in the vapour phase soldering machine (1/2)

GTA04 boards in the vapour phase soldering machine (2/2)

Happy hacking to all new GTA04 owners!

[0] http://lists.goldelico.com/pipermail/gta04-owner/2012-October/003241.html

OpenPhoenux: Letux Smartphone and Tablet

OpenPhoenux project

The OpenPhoenux project by the german company “Golden Delicious Computers” (goldelico) is creating a fully free software compatible mobile handheld plattform, based upon an open hardware design. The first step was to design a motherboard fitting the Openmoko Neo Freerunner, so owners of Openmoko phones could “upgrade” their devices to state of the art hardware.

To finance the production of the first big batch of GTA04 boards, goldelico collected preorders of interested people [0]. This “Group Tour” enabled them to start production of about 200 boards, which started to ship to it’s new owners in May 2012 and the last ones are going to be shipped in the coming weeks. Now – about one year and a lot of production complications later – the first batch of GTA04A4 boards is finished [1] and the next one is being prepared [2]. It will include the new GTA04A5 board design, providing some minor bug fixes, and a now working production process.

If you’re interested in one of the new GTA04A5 boards, please subscribe to the OpenPhoenux-Community mailinglist, to get notified about the next production batch and the next round of preorder collection.
It is also possible to register your non-binding interest in one of the new GTA04a5 boards, by using the “Wishlist” functionality, this enables goldelico to estimate the demand and thus the next batch’s size.

Register non-binding interest: http://www.handheld-linux.com/wiki.php?page=GTA04
Visit the project’s website at: www.OpenPhoenux.org

Letux 2804 – Smartphone

The Letux 2804 is a smartphone providing a 2.8” touchscreen and a GTA04 core. It’s case can be produced by a 3D printer.
Technical Specifications:

  • 800 MHz / 1GHz ARM Cortex-A8 processor
  • PowerVR SGX integrated graphics
  • 2.84” (43mm x 58mm) VGA touchscreen
  • HSDPA 3G modem
  • 512MB RAM
  • 512MB internal memory + micro SDHC up to 32GB
  • WLAN, Bluetooth, GPS, FM Transceiver
  • Accelerometer, Compass, Gyroscope, Barometric Altimeter, Camera
  • USB 2.0 port, 2.5mm headset port, GPS antenna port, video out
  • QtMoko, SHR, Android (Replicant), Debian, …

Letux 7004 – Tablet

The Letux 7004 is a free software centric tablet, powered by a 7.0” touchscreen and the same GTA04 core, as it’s small brother Letux 2804. This tablet was developed while solving the GTA04 production problems and is in the prototyping phase at the moment. So it’s not yet ready to order, unfortunately.
Technical Specifications:

  • 1GHz ARM Cortex-A8 processor
  • PowerVR SGX integrated graphics
  • 7” (140mm × 110mm) VGA touchscreen
  • HSDPA 3G modem
  • 1GB RAM
  • 512MB internal memory + micro SDHC up to 32GB
  • WLAN, Bluetooth, GPS, FM Transceiver
  • Accelerometer, Compass, Gyroscope, Barometric Altimeter
  • USB 2.0 port, 3.5mm headset port, Ethernet port, GPS antenna port, video out
  • QtMoko, SHR, Android (Replicant), Debian, …

If you’re interested in high quality open hardware, “Made in Germany”, which is fully compatible with you favorite free and open source software, you should definitely track the projects mentioned above and jump in to get one of those great devices once you’re ready. I’m absolutely satisfied with my GTA04A3 early adopter board, which I’m happily using since over one year!

[0] http://lists.goldelico.com/pipermail/gta04-owner/2011-November/000679.html
[1] http://lists.goldelico.com/pipermail/community/2012-September/000091.html
[2] http://lists.goldelico.com/pipermail/community/2012-October/000103.html

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GTA04 booting SHR in 17 seconds

Video

This video shows the Openmoko/Goldelico GTA04 booting SHR Linux in 17 seconds.
Note: SHR is not yet optimized for a fast bootup on the GTA04.

Got interrested?

If you’re interrested to participate in this open hardware and free and open source software effort, please jump in:
Get your GTA04 now by participating in the GTA04 Group Buy Tour.

Get more information at: www.gta04.org

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