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Personal tools

Wireless data networking

Integrated WiFi hardware

  • Syncing data
  • Accessing internet
  • Free text messaging.
  • VoIP
  • For videoconferencing (as with AccessGrid)

Assorted WiFi power reduction tricks may be used to increase battery life.

See also this article about WiFi support in OpenMoko.

WiMAX support

WiMAX is targeting high-speed mobile data and telecommunications services. Hardware for portable usage based on the IEEE802.16e standard is now availabe and deployment around the world is being executed, heavily promoted by Intel Capital. For example, a Dutch initiative called WorldMAX has the exclusive license to use the 3.5GHz band in The Nethelands to offer "internet-in-your-pocket" services.

Near Field Communication

Near Field Communication support would enable many new applications for the Neo1973 such as a digital wallet or electronic keys. NFC is designed to work at very short ranges (0-20cm) and can be used to pair devices for longer range/higher bandwidth communications such as Bluetooth. In fact, the recently introduced Bluetooth 2.1 Core Specification includes NFC support.


Video-capable camera

  • A camera that is able to take reasonable quality video and pictures is something many want. Applications vary from simple snapping, to gesture interfaces, video conferencing, barcode reading and more.
  • Some people can't take cameras into work - a model without the camera, or some way of removing the camera would be useful.
  • This is also useful for several business applications (like healthcare, servicing, etc)
  • Camera with macro - useful for taking pictures of flowers/insects, but also for scanning business cards for an automated business card to contact informantion process


Multitouch screen

Main article: Spell weaving

See also this page containing a link to a video demonstration.

TV Out

With help of mouse and keyboard, a TV output may be very useful. Or to watch photos taken with a digital camera on holidays. Or for showing a slide presentation off.

Larger Screen

A model with a larger screen would be of use to many, especially with multi-touch. Higher resolution is probably less important than size until the DPI drops below 150 or so.

Video acceleration

Hardware acceleration for video playback.

3D acceleration

3D hardware acceleration for 3D games, GUIs, etc. (maybe a PowerVR MBX Lite ?).


Possibility to use something like Eyeglass Mounted Display.


Or electronic paper display, EPD is used in many new devices such as the new Motorola motofone, sonys new e-reader and Irex's iliad. The technology provides thin, flexible, power saving screens using new eink technology. This technology could cut the weight of the phone and its power usage. For more info see: eink's website.

Multi I/O adapter

  • VGA, standard Jack (line in & out), standard USB


It would be nice to have (the option of) a transreflective display, which while being less bright, is readable without needing to power the backlight. Then again, it depends on how much power the backlight uses compared to everything else...

Input devices

D-Pad and Buttons

  • Adding a D-pad (to the bottom of the phone) and 2 to 4 buttons (to the top) would provide some tactile input controls, in addition to the touchscreen. They could be used as shortcut keys in the menu, or playback control when playing media. When the phone is held sideways, they can be used as games controls. (With touchscreen alone, gameplay options are limited)

Game buttons would be best on both sides of the screen. The larger the buttons, the better. 2x 4 buttons in up-down-left-right configuration + some extra buttons separately a bit lower on the device would be good for many for emulation games.

Here is a concept drawing of a possible neo1973 gaming version: (This has a 4-way direction pad, 8 way may be better for gaming)

TV/radio receiver

Digital Television, Digital Radio or even normal analogue TV/radio is available widely in the world. Though unfortunately in various different forms. In markets where one standard is widespread, and hardware is suitable, it would be a great extension of the phone to a general entertainment device for when you're away from home. Multi standard devices would be ideal, but may not be small, low-power, or cheap.


This enables the phone to sense where 'down' is - to enable various options.

  • Change playlist when jogging vs walking. (there is an mp3 player on the market that does this).
    • GPS uses a moderate amount of power when on, it would be nice to save this. (though it is a small amount compared to the power draw from playing MP3s.

3 axes Accelerometer and gyros

  • Most of these would at least benefit from 3 axis accelerometer, and integrated gyros, for some it may be required.

See Accelerometer Fundamentals for more information on accelerometers as they may be used in phones.

    • Shake mitigation when using the camera (wish list item #1). How many of us end up with blurry pictures because we can't hold the phone steady?

Digital compass

A digital compass could be built in but will not be necessary when Galileo/GLONASS/GPS receiver is available.

Barcode Scanner

  • less cpu intensive and more reliable than camera+ocr

Thumb keyboard or keyboard attachment accessory

  • Could be slide out or clamshell (hinge on long side) design with an external OLED. The keyboard should be protected when not in use.
  • Could be a clip on keyboard that attaches to the serial port or communicates by bluetooth (not preferred for permanent keyboard users).
  • Cheap clippable miniusb keyboard
  • Here is a proposal for an integral thumb keyboard. It is based on the concepts proposed in this document "A METHOD FOR OPTIMIZING SINGLE-FINGER KEYBOARDS"


Some important notes about this design:

  • Green button on top, left is dial. Red button on top, right is hang up. Could double as enter/escape.
  • Blue buttons are shift, symbol, backspace and localization.
  • Localization button modifies the basic Latin symbols to produce the variants used in many European (and non European such as Turkish) languages.
  • Yellow buttons make the numeric pad.
  • Provides a full keyboard, yet the device is significantly smaller than any other comparable.
  • The design above uses a 2.6" screen, which is the minimum size for VGA.
  • Keys are bigger than, for example, those of a Treo.
  • Allows for one handed operation. Absolutely necessary for a phone.

Credit Card Swiper/Reader

  • A credit card swipe function on the device, so that business operators can use the device to accept payments. In some markets a 'chip+pin' card reader may be an alternative. Existing devices are very expensive. Transaction information is sent over the internet, transaction "hub" services like 1stData could receive the data and reply with email receipts to the merchant, who could then forward the receipt to customer's email, or print a receipt on a bluetooth printer.


An electronic thermometer might become handy for some users.

There are very small I2C devices available, that could easily integrate to the existing bus. For example this one from ti.

Barometer and Variometer

A Barometer measures air pressure. This can be used to give weather information, and also as a variometer, to sense relative altitude. Variometers are commonly used in flying microlight and ultralight aircraft, to get accurate relative altitude.

See Wish List - Hardware - Atmospheric for more information.

Finger print sensor

Fingerprint sensor gives easy and fast access to the phone, could lock the touchscreen etc. An example of this device can be found at Sony UX17.

As these are typically implemented with a small camera (256*4) focussed on the finger, with appropriate hardware and software, you can also use them as an optical mouse in reverse, detecting movement of the finger over the sensor.


A trackball would provide an efficient mouse-like interface in a very compact package. As exemplified in the newer Blackberry® models. Maybe instead an optical sensor as are used in mice could be used so that the whole phone can be moved over a surface just like a mouse. The same sensor might be usable as a barcode reader

Analog Joystick

A joystick, or Rollermouse-like device would provide additional control, compared with touchscreen only.


MMC/SD/SDIO slot (rather than?) miniSD or microSD

  • Cheaper, more durable cards in a widely accepted format.
  • Cards are harder to lose
  • Wider selection of accessories, including SDIO accessories.
  • Make externally available so that larger length SDIO cards can be used (thinking about SDIO WLAN here)

Two SD slots

  • Micro SD for /home partition.
  • Hot swappable mini or normal SD for movie, music etc.

Expansion Back

  • Replacement backs with additional features
  • I believe this would be a great idea, if put into practice. It would solve the extensibility need, usually associated with Open Source projects. It would allow for lots of other devices and for functionality to be developed and put into use without making it a burden for FIC.
    • With extra card slots and small footprint hard drive (if possible), Neo might become a nice image tank for photographers - --cedel 18:34, 19 February 2007 (CET)


  • USB 2.0
  • Powered, to avoid having to carry around a hub for when you want to occasionally plug in a memory stick. Many powered hubs will not recognize a totally unpowered host.
  • OTG (is this maybe supported already ?)
  • Bootable USB device emulation: the possibility to boot any computer on a bootable flagged partition of the transflash.

Wireless USB support

Wireless USB is the wireless version of USB offering data-rates up to 480 Mbit/s over short distances (<3 meter). Chipsets suitable for a phone are likely to take some time to be available.

SIR/FIR transceiver (Serial Infrared) / remote control

  • An infrared transceiver is cheap, small, and useful for sync with many laptops and mobile phones.
    • FIR would be a nice option, as it's some 40 times faster than SIR.

Other uses.

  • Learning infra-red remote control with macros.
  • Detecting reflections from inside of a caddy, and switching from active mode.
  • FIR would be a nice option, as it's some 40 times faster than SIR.

I2C breakout

I2C is an internal bus in the phone. This is a simple bus, with only 2-3 wires, hence ideal for making accessible to those making add-ons, as it is low powered, and can be daisy-chained. It would be a great candidate to bring out into the Expansion Back.

Readily available I2C chips range from temperature sensing, digital input/output chips, to 1-wire bridge chips (which is designed for external switches, ID, sensing, ...)

Output devices


  • A blinking LED would be a cheap, low power way to inform the user of new SMS/Email....
    • An alternative to this would be for one small part of the LCD to be separately backlit.
    • This requires the CPU and LCD to be somewhat active, to keep the LCD refreshed, but gives much more information.
  • For example a multicolor LED which pulses yellow for GSM/GPRS transmit, blue for Bluetooth/Wifi, green to indicate non-urgent information - missed call etc, red to indicate battery low or other urgent notices.
    • The LED and button ideas could be combined: illuminated buttons.
    • It must be possible to completely disable the LED to save power or other personal preferences.

Mobile Communication options

Faster/better mobile connectivity.

GSM/GPRS is at best slow. Ideally supporting EDGE - which is an evolved form of GPRS, UMTS - which is widespread in Europe, HSDPA (asia) and any other mobile standards would be nice. It is unlikely that all of these will be supported initially, but it is a goal. Until that goal is reached, it is likely that some phones will be brought out for various specific markets - Europe, Asia, US.

Ability to insert more than one Sim-Card and (if possible) connect to more than one network at the same time

  • This could be achieved via a specialist dual SIM card kit (currently on market)- where two SIMs are trimmed and combined on one card, software support for dual SIMs would need providing...
  • Some networks support multiple numbers on one SIM. Unfortunately this won't allow split networks.
  • Use two mobiles connected via BT: [1].
  • Put the SIM slots on the side of the phone for easy in/out. These are common in mobile phones in China. Very handy for travel or switch carriers.
  • Add a second radio and GSM chipset. This would allow full independence and registration of both sims at all times.

PMR446/FRS Radio

  • Include a PMR/FRS Radio.
  • A two-way walkie talkie lets you use the phone to communicate with friends without requiring a GSM connection (crowded networks at festivals, at locations with no GSM coverage).


Galileo/GLONASS/GPS receiver

  • A multi-standard satellite positioning module would be nice eventually, it does not seem to be near-term due to chipset availability problems. Galileo is the to be launched (2011) European positioning system. GLONASS is the already existing Russian one.

X10 RF Remote

Many PC-based media centers are being equipped with an RF (433 MHz) / X10-based remote control. The X10 protocol also facilitates home automation to control lamps, switches, etc. The advantages of using RF for control instead of Infra-red this that it also works when furniture, walls, or doors are blocking the path between RF remote and the equipment or device. Lirc supports X10-based RF remotes (but expects having an USB RF receiver attached to the media center).

RFID tag/RFID Reader

  • Implementation/Cooperation with: RFID-Guardian
  • An enable-able tag would be of use - for example being able to use the phone to open doors, or cars. Unfortunately, it's moderately hard to do secure programmable tags that are compatible with existing systems, for obvious reasons.

Standard 3.5mm headphone jack

The Neo1973 uses a 4-conductor 2.5mm jack for stereo headphones and a microphone. One advantage of a 2.5mm jack is that voice headsets are most common in this format.

Adapters to 2.5mm are of course available, but 3.5mm jacks are much more robust.

There is an emerging convention for a 4-conductor 3.5mm jack that can use a microphone with special headsets, but can also be used with off-the-shelf 3.5mm stereo headphones. The Nokia N800 and a few others use this type.

Perhaps it is possible to offer both a 4-conductor 2.5mm jack and also a 4-conductor 3.5mm jack with the 4 extra pins on a small rectangular extension like you find on iPod headsets. The latter will provide buttons for play/pause and prev/next. In this way you dont need to carry along jack converters and you can connect whatever you want.


  • A speaker-phone is more than simply connecting the speakers to GSM audio, it's also echo cancellation, and eliminating the feedback that will otherwise happen between the speakers and the mic. This software has not been written.

Tripod connector

Mechanical tripod connector to mount the entire device on a mini tripod or whatever stand offers this kind of connector. This would be handy for making steady pictures or simply mount the device to anything you want.

Special covers

  • A standard slip-on or clip-on template (possibly with buttons) to make the touch-screen blind accessible
  • Small metal frame for protection (like Siemens M65, only with more style)

Laser Pointer

Include a built in laser pointer. Everything is better with lasers.

Space efficient Lanyard

The hole at the bottom of the phone takes a lot of space. A Kensington Security Slot could be used instead.

Ruggedized Version:

We need something you can drop from 4 feet in to a puddle of dirty water on construction site. You know the big ugly pseudo military version

Completely free hardware

Consider selling one device with absolutely no non-free components in it, even if that means dropping the GSM support. I believe having one such device available would be good, because then it could be recommended by organizations like the FSF which typically never recommends anything if it has even a little non-free code in it.

What not to do:

Avoid anything proprietary, I know it helps generate $$$$, but it really irritates everyone.

Do not embed the battery, it needs to be user replaceable

No DRM music system or you must buy from our network etc... I want to plug it in to my USB port and drag and drop my music, that's it, simple, no synchronization needed.

With all due respect to the keypad people, please do not add a keypad it just takes up space that should be occupied by the touchscreen, there are good text recognizers out there that are simple and easy to use, if you need a keypad make it an attachment. That being said you may want to add simple keys for easy dialing, don't forget its a phone, don't make it hard to use it as a phone.

Ideas that are unlikely to be implemented in phones similar to the Neo1973.

  • Some may be put into very different phones, some are impossible with current technology.