Wish List - Hardware

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This is a page detailing hardware features which some would like to go into future phones similar to the Neo1973.

Openmoko however may run on a large number of devices in the future, some of which may be DVD players, cameras, or convergance devices. Possible features for those devices are listed in Wishlist - Hardware - Novel Devices.

Hardware that is unlikely to appear in any OpenMoko device is listed in Wishlist:Unlikely - due to it being impossible to fabricate with near-term technology, or other reasons.

Accessories that people would like - initially primarily for the Neo1973 - are listed in Wishlist:Accessories.

Contents

Wireless data networking

WiMAX support

WiMAX is a high-speed data service, similar to wifi, though longer range and newer. Where service is available, this would complement WiFi. Unfortunately, unlike wifi, frequencies vary worldwide, so global usage may be complex.

Emerging Protocols

  • Near Field Communication has a few centimeter range, useable for keys, ID badges, pairing bluetooth devices and similar uses. Mentioned in newer bluetooth and SD standards. (No products.)
  • ZigBee is designed for connecting sensors and switches in buildings, with many options including mesh networks and aggressive power saving compared to bluetooth. (Almost no products available.)
  • The ANT network is for connecting worn devices. Similar to ZigBee, but much simpler and maybe lower power. (Short list of products.)

Camera

  • A camera that can take reasonable quality video and pictures is something many want. Applications vary from simple snapping, to gesture interfaces, video conferencing, barcode reading, buisness card reading, healthcare, servicing, 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.

Display

Multitouch screen

Main article: Spell weaving

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

A history of multitouch implementations is here (google cache version)

Video acceleration

Hardware acceleration for video playback.

3D acceleration

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

EPD

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.

Transreflective

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...

"Slightly" Larger Screen

43mm x 57mm (2.8inch diagonal) is tiny. A 53mm x 71mm (3.5 inch diagonal) like on the TD035STEE1 would be a nice improvement. A widescreen format at about 53mm x 82.5mminstead of the 3:4 aspect ratio would be even cooler (if one could be found).

Input devices

Just a few more Buttons

2 buttons more, 3 buttons total, mounted sideways would be enough. You could use them for play/pause and loudness controll while the phone remains in your pocket (display locked, ...), reading mails, rss, ebooks,... without wasting display space and so on.

With 5 buttons in total you could possibly emulate a keyboard (2^5 = 32 combinations) for those who know how to play a flute. Useable onehanded, not wasting display space and faster than t9. (It's not faster than T9 - I've used this system with the microwriter agenda --Speedevil 00:00, 2 July 2007 (CEST)) Hopefully this is not patented already.

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)
Neogame90.jpg
Shoulder buttons would be a great addition, too. It would be interesting if there was a total 4 of them, one for every corner. It would make the phone very flexible for rotating and 2 to 6 players playing on one device.

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
  • One of the layouts proposed in Hardware:Keyboards
  • What about virtual keyboard? [Keyboard]

Trackball

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.

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.

Accelerometer

This enables the phone to sense which direction 'down' is, and to sense any movements the phone makes.

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

In some cases integrated gyroscopes may also be needed.

Side-Mounted Touch Strip

Add a "touch strip" sensor onto the side of the phone which can be used to scroll. By having it on the side you can use your thumb to scroll comfortably while holding the phone one-handed. An 8-element capacitive sensor would work wonderfully and be easy to fab using either a Quantum QT411 (http://www.qprox.com/products/qslide_qt411.php) or Analog Devices AD7143 (http://www.analog.com/en/prod/0,2877,AD7143,00.html) controller. The Analog Devices chip seems better suited due to it's smaller allowable element size. With the AD7143 you can have an 8-element (128-position) 25mm long strip - Perfect!.

Heart Rate Compatibility

An RF interface to receive data from popular heart rate straps (Polar, Garmin, Sigma, Suunto, etc.). This would go along well with the existing GPS functionality and possible future Accelerometer functionality to make for a full-blown workout tool.

Software can be written to track heart rate along a running, cycling, skiing, swimming loop, to monitor max and min heart rate, to match heart rate data to GPS coordinates and print map data w/ relevant data.

Digital compass

A digital compass is useful for orienting maps to the terrain when the user is standing still (regardless of GPS reception) and for following a bearing when GPS reception is poor.

Thermometer

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

A 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.

Most fingerprint sensors in the embedded market include a navigation mode, where they work similar to either a touch-stick or touch-pad of a laptop.

Barcode Scanner

  • less cpu intensive and more reliable than camera+ocr
  • though, bluetooth-enabled readers are already available.

Light Sensor

Ability to sense ambient light, and act accordingly. i.e if it's 3am and LightValue<.1 then Ring Quietly.

Expansion

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.

USB

  • 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) / IR 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 2-3 wire bus in the phone. It is low powered, and can be daisy-chained. It would be a great candidate to bring out into the Expansion Back with an additional connector.

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

LED

  • 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.

Flashlight

For finding keys, or any other application. May also optionally pulse in time with ring, to make phone more visible.

FM transmitter

Small FM transmitter to output to car, and other nearby radios.

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 for faster data connectivity and coverage. 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 use multiple SIMs/networks

  • External SIM sockets are widely available in China, a dual external socket would be a very good solution.
  • Dual SIM card kit - two SIMs are trimmed and combined, software supportwould be needed, and both can't be used at once...
  • Some networks support multiple numbers on one SIM. Unfortunately this won't allow split networks.
  • A second/dual GSM module would allow full use of both sims at all times.
  • As a hack, use another mobile via BT.

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).

DECT/GAP

  • Include a DECT/GAP transceiver so you can use your home and/or office PSTN line

Casing

Expansion Back

  • Replacement backs with additional features ranging from solar power, larger batteries, extra hardware, ...

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.

Transparent

Make a transparent, see-through casing. Why do we need a closed casing for open hardware and open software? Show the world it is a truly Free/Open source phone.

Accessories

Some of the ideas mentioned below would make great accessories which could be sold separately.

Special covers

Different special covers could be made available with features like:

  • 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)
  • Case with mirror on the back, for putting on makeup/checking appearance or helping with self-portraits with an integrated camera.
  • Option to completely design printable case styles, perhaps with engraving. Ability to share these on a 'community' site.
  • Solar powered recharger (perhaps as extendable/unfoldable Expansion Back).
  • Rubber protection like available for iPod, of course in different colors and transparency.


Car kit

A car kit with a cradle which simultaneously recharges the device.

Charger conversion connector

A flexible converter allowing you to recharge the Neo1973 with power from many DC sources such as other devices chargers. Problems are that it may overload the DC source. It may require sensing of the input voltage, and reducing load if the voltage drops by a factor. Ideally the device should accept input voltage in the range of around 3.3v-28V in either polarity.

Misc

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. 2.5mm jacks are the commonest headset format.

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

There is an emerging convention used in the Nokia N800 and some other devices. 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.

Neglecting space limitations, multiple sockets - 2.5mm and 3.5mm would be nice. Probably not practical in a phone. Other expanded plugs might allow remote controls.

Other uses might be better met using bluetooth, or USB audio.


Laser Pointer

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

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.

Consider economy / inexpensive / less featured edition

Some people want less features, because they do not need them. Leaving out some features either lets the phone get smaller or possibly enhances battery live.

One big suggestion in this area is a b/w lower res display instead of the big colour display.

Personal tools

This is a page detailing hardware features which some would like to go into future phones similar to the Neo1973.

Openmoko however may run on a large number of devices in the future, some of which may be DVD players, cameras, or convergance devices. Possible features for those devices are listed in Wishlist - Hardware - Novel Devices.

Hardware that is unlikely to appear in any OpenMoko device is listed in Wishlist:Unlikely - due to it being impossible to fabricate with near-term technology, or other reasons.

Accessories that people would like - initially primarily for the Neo1973 - are listed in Wishlist:Accessories.

Wireless data networking

WiMAX support

WiMAX is a high-speed data service, similar to wifi, though longer range and newer. Where service is available, this would complement WiFi. Unfortunately, unlike wifi, frequencies vary worldwide, so global usage may be complex.

Emerging Protocols

  • Near Field Communication has a few centimeter range, useable for keys, ID badges, pairing bluetooth devices and similar uses. Mentioned in newer bluetooth and SD standards. (No products.)
  • ZigBee is designed for connecting sensors and switches in buildings, with many options including mesh networks and aggressive power saving compared to bluetooth. (Almost no products available.)
  • The ANT network is for connecting worn devices. Similar to ZigBee, but much simpler and maybe lower power. (Short list of products.)

Camera

  • A camera that can take reasonable quality video and pictures is something many want. Applications vary from simple snapping, to gesture interfaces, video conferencing, barcode reading, buisness card reading, healthcare, servicing, 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.

Display

Multitouch screen

Main article: Spell weaving

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

A history of multitouch implementations is here (google cache version)

Video acceleration

Hardware acceleration for video playback.

3D acceleration

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

EPD

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.

Transreflective

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...

"Slightly" Larger Screen

43mm x 57mm (2.8inch diagonal) is tiny. A 53mm x 71mm (3.5 inch diagonal) like on the TD035STEE1 would be a nice improvement. A widescreen format at about 53mm x 82.5mminstead of the 3:4 aspect ratio would be even cooler (if one could be found).

Input devices

Just a few more Buttons

2 buttons more, 3 buttons total, mounted sideways would be enough. You could use them for play/pause and loudness controll while the phone remains in your pocket (display locked, ...), reading mails, rss, ebooks,... without wasting display space and so on.

With 5 buttons in total you could possibly emulate a keyboard (2^5 = 32 combinations) for those who know how to play a flute. Useable onehanded, not wasting display space and faster than t9. (It's not faster than T9 - I've used this system with the microwriter agenda --Speedevil 00:00, 2 July 2007 (CEST)) Hopefully this is not patented already.

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)
Neogame90.jpg
Shoulder buttons would be a great addition, too. It would be interesting if there was a total 4 of them, one for every corner. It would make the phone very flexible for rotating and 2 to 6 players playing on one device.

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
  • One of the layouts proposed in Hardware:Keyboards
  • What about virtual keyboard? [Keyboard]

Trackball

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.

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.

Accelerometer

This enables the phone to sense which direction 'down' is, and to sense any movements the phone makes.

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

In some cases integrated gyroscopes may also be needed.

Side-Mounted Touch Strip

Add a "touch strip" sensor onto the side of the phone which can be used to scroll. By having it on the side you can use your thumb to scroll comfortably while holding the phone one-handed. An 8-element capacitive sensor would work wonderfully and be easy to fab using either a Quantum QT411 (http://www.qprox.com/products/qslide_qt411.php) or Analog Devices AD7143 (http://www.analog.com/en/prod/0,2877,AD7143,00.html) controller. The Analog Devices chip seems better suited due to it's smaller allowable element size. With the AD7143 you can have an 8-element (128-position) 25mm long strip - Perfect!.

Heart Rate Compatibility

An RF interface to receive data from popular heart rate straps (Polar, Garmin, Sigma, Suunto, etc.). This would go along well with the existing GPS functionality and possible future Accelerometer functionality to make for a full-blown workout tool.

Software can be written to track heart rate along a running, cycling, skiing, swimming loop, to monitor max and min heart rate, to match heart rate data to GPS coordinates and print map data w/ relevant data.

Digital compass

A digital compass is useful for orienting maps to the terrain when the user is standing still (regardless of GPS reception) and for following a bearing when GPS reception is poor.

Thermometer

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

A 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.

Most fingerprint sensors in the embedded market include a navigation mode, where they work similar to either a touch-stick or touch-pad of a laptop.

Barcode Scanner

  • less cpu intensive and more reliable than camera+ocr
  • though, bluetooth-enabled readers are already available.

Light Sensor

Ability to sense ambient light, and act accordingly. i.e if it's 3am and LightValue<.1 then Ring Quietly.

Expansion

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.

USB

  • 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) / IR 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 2-3 wire bus in the phone. It is low powered, and can be daisy-chained. It would be a great candidate to bring out into the Expansion Back with an additional connector.

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

LED

  • 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.

Flashlight

For finding keys, or any other application. May also optionally pulse in time with ring, to make phone more visible.

FM transmitter

Small FM transmitter to output to car, and other nearby radios.

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 for faster data connectivity and coverage. 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 use multiple SIMs/networks

  • External SIM sockets are widely available in China, a dual external socket would be a very good solution.
  • Dual SIM card kit - two SIMs are trimmed and combined, software supportwould be needed, and both can't be used at once...
  • Some networks support multiple numbers on one SIM. Unfortunately this won't allow split networks.
  • A second/dual GSM module would allow full use of both sims at all times.
  • As a hack, use another mobile via BT.

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).

DECT/GAP

  • Include a DECT/GAP transceiver so you can use your home and/or office PSTN line

Casing

Expansion Back

  • Replacement backs with additional features ranging from solar power, larger batteries, extra hardware, ...

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.

Transparent

Make a transparent, see-through casing. Why do we need a closed casing for open hardware and open software? Show the world it is a truly Free/Open source phone.

Accessories

Some of the ideas mentioned below would make great accessories which could be sold separately.

Special covers

Different special covers could be made available with features like:

  • 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)
  • Case with mirror on the back, for putting on makeup/checking appearance or helping with self-portraits with an integrated camera.
  • Option to completely design printable case styles, perhaps with engraving. Ability to share these on a 'community' site.
  • Solar powered recharger (perhaps as extendable/unfoldable Expansion Back).
  • Rubber protection like available for iPod, of course in different colors and transparency.


Car kit

A car kit with a cradle which simultaneously recharges the device.

Charger conversion connector

A flexible converter allowing you to recharge the Neo1973 with power from many DC sources such as other devices chargers. Problems are that it may overload the DC source. It may require sensing of the input voltage, and reducing load if the voltage drops by a factor. Ideally the device should accept input voltage in the range of around 3.3v-28V in either polarity.

Misc

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. 2.5mm jacks are the commonest headset format.

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

There is an emerging convention used in the Nokia N800 and some other devices. 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.

Neglecting space limitations, multiple sockets - 2.5mm and 3.5mm would be nice. Probably not practical in a phone. Other expanded plugs might allow remote controls.

Other uses might be better met using bluetooth, or USB audio.


Laser Pointer

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

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.

Consider economy / inexpensive / less featured edition

Some people want less features, because they do not need them. Leaving out some features either lets the phone get smaller or possibly enhances battery live.

One big suggestion in this area is a b/w lower res display instead of the big colour display.