Wishlist - Hardware - Novel Devices

From Openmoko

Jump to: navigation, search

This page details hardware some would like in future Openmoko devices that are very different from the Neo1973. DVD/media players, cameras, ...


Hard Drive

Providing a hard drive, will allow storing music, movies, etc. Add USB storage device capability to use the device as an external hard drive.

Openmoko-branded modem card

A 3G modem card for use with other computing hardware, in particular PCs. Probably an internal expansion card such as an ExpressCard or Compact Flash card, with an alternative external (USB) unit for computers without internal slots. (In fact, a PCI-factor internal card for desktop computers might be reasonable too; see below.)

There are already CardBus and external USB 3G modems available. In hardware terms, Openmoko's modem could well be a simple rebranding of one of these existing products. But, at least in some areas, the 3G modem products available to end-users tend to be tied to a particular telco and bundled with that telco's software. They also have a mysterious tendency not to actually allow voice calls over the modem, even when the modem hardware appears to be quite capable of it. An Openmoko modem that simply provided open drivers, no lock to a particular telco, good support for various operating systems, and simple support for voice and video calls over the modem, all out of the box, would already have some fairly unique selling points. (Since video conferencing is now taking off on personal computers, hardware that allows your desktop computer to make video calls to 3G mobile phones might well have a market, which is one reason why a PCI-factor card might not be so crazy.)

But more than that, any software or services that Openmoko develops to overcome the tricky problems of juggling and integrating different Internet and phone connections and different email, IM, VoIP and telephone-number identities on Internet-enabled phones would be available to users of the Openmoko modem too. That would be a powerful selling point for the modem if and when Openmoko has compelling solutions to these problems. In fact, the increased integration with PCs would make all Openmoko devices more attractive. ("Whenever I'm logged in to my laptop all my calls go there, even when I'm not in range of WiFi.")

Since FIC already has well-established relationships in the PC world, it could presumably make good use of those connections in selling the modems.

  • Obviously the Openmoko modem faces much the same problems with getting reasonably open access to 3G hardware that are delaying 3G for the Neo1973 series
  • Naturally a 3G Neo1973 or other Openmoko phone would (or should) be able to provide many of the same advantages when acting as a modem for a PC. But there will still be a place for dedicated modems, if only because yoking a full mobile phone to your computer isn't always the best solution
  • Bonus points if the hardware provides a POTS landline connection and the software can juggle it along with 3G and Internet connections...


Extensibility would be nice. Standard pcmcia would be great for allowing wireless too. And pcmcia cards tend to be very low power.

  • 1. can be used for a spare battery (is this possible?)
  • 3. i can use my Echo Audio Indigo I/O
  • 2. can be used for different cards around

This is certain not to happen in a production phone, it's simply far too large, and requires complex support in hardware, which does not exist in most system on a chip devices as are used in phones. Even for the Expansion_Back it would be too large. --Speedevil 06:05, 28 February 2007 (CET)

Cameras & Imaging

See Wish_List_-_Hardware#Camera for additional/updated info on camera suggestions

Interchangeable Camera Lenses

A camera phone with a lens mount would allow swappable camera lenses and filters. Camera phones are usually stuck with tiny fixed lenses that don't allow focusing. Imaging being able to swap out the default lens with one that provides a better focus... or even a zoom!

The C-Mount or T-Mount would be a good choice. Both are standard lens mount with many supporting lenses. Minolta, Canon, Nikon, Olympus, & most other lens manufacturers also have mount adapters for their proprietary lenses. Then share lenses between your camera & cell phone. The mount hole would need to be about 1 inch in diameter and go about 1/4 inch into the camera-phone (with the focal plane array chip at the bottom of this hole).

CS-Mount would actually be better than a c mount because it requires 12.52mm from surface to imaging chip, instead of the 17.52mm required for c mounts.

Added bonus If you work somewhere that doesn't allow cameras:
The lens could be removed and a blank insert could be screwed in.
The camera capability would be physically disabled!

concept image from Hardware:Neo1973:Alternate_Cases:Camera

Business Card Reader

This is probably technically difficult if not impossible, maybe you could do it with the embedded camera hardware & software

I want to be able to place a business card face down on the the screen, and have the device automatically read the card and enter the info in the contacts.

  • There is no simple way of reading something placed on the screen, for the basic reason that the screen is in the way.
  • Of course you could always just take a picture of the card with a camera-phone. Then store it as it is or image recognition software could do character recognition & extract the information.

Solar Panels

My old pocket calculator had solar panels, why not my phone? See also: Expansion_Back#Ideas which require slight modifications of the phone.

Here is my Solar Panel Mod for the Neo1973(GTA01) File:Http://i98.photobucket.com/albums/l274/subfunction/PIC-0007.jpg --KrisAbsinthe

May be not so bad idea when you are somewhere in mountains and cannot easily charge the battery. This may at least prolong the battery life. AudriusA 17:56, 12 July 2008 (UTC)

Fuel Cell

Some people want to put them in laptops & fuel cells are the way of the future.

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.

The only possible solution so far would be a bluetooth presentation device such as the Sony Erricson MMV-100 (2009: frequently available on online auctions for $5-10 and $18-50 to buy directly). Other devices are the "Hama Bluetooth Mobile Picture Viewer" or "Nokia SU2" for example. Such devices are capable of receiving JPEG (800x600) and MP3 (128kbps) files which is sufficient for simple presentations.

Another possible solution could be a "pocket beamer". Aiptek released a device that allows streaming via USB. The protocol would need to be analysed, unless aiptek releases a linux driver.

USB-Videocards are interesting as well, but usualy designed for USB 2.0 and require a fast processor. Even the native resolution of 640x480 should cause performance problems.

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.

Tiny Video Projector - "Beamer"

At the DisplayWeek2007 several embeded video projectors for phones were presented.

Those projecting devices are not much bigger than a cell phone. A LED-laser projects a sharp image at variable distance

Could such a device be connected by bluetooth?

Explay uses two a red and a green laser-LED as well as a conventional blue LED in its "oio".
Blue laser-LED are to expensive for customer products. The light passes a transmissive WVGA-LCD(640x480) and goes on 
to the screen. Its frequency is 60Hz and the projecting distance can be varied from 20cm(8inch) to 2m(80inch) with 
a sharp picture. It consumes about 5W and its light power is about 6 lumen. As the sharpness does not depend on
distance, one can project the image on screens that are not plane. Like someones t-shirt.
Microvistions PicoProjektor however uses soley laser-LEDs. It is also 60Hz though 800x600px or 800x640.
Potential problems might become the approval of a laser class 3 device.
Final prices could be about $300.

Taken from: http://www.heise.de/newsticker/meldung/90141 (german)

Aiptek also released a USB-Projector with LED technology, though no Linux drivers (yet). While such devices do not reach the brightness regular beamers produce, they are well capable of projecting a larger image as long as the room is dark enough.


Possibility to use something like Eyeglass Mounted Display.

Or a HUD for use in a car windscreen. Needs a small projector attached to the phone. The phone is placed in front of the steering wheel on the console and displays information projected against the windscreen.

Multi I/O adapter

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

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.

Modular hardware design / interchangeable components

It would be great to have several interchangeable components on the 'bus' of the device. Imagine opening the case and being able to add GPS to an empty internal bay or swap an Accelerometer for 3G support. Similar to the PCI hardware model of desktop PCs -- let savvy users swap and upgrade internal components by intentionally designing swappable components on some standardized bus.

Unfortunately, this is a big problem for compact devices.
To take the above examples. An accelerometer module may be 5mm*5mm*2mm. 
A 3G module 50mm*30mm*10mm, a GSM module 30mm*40mm*5mm and a GPS module 20mm*15mm*5mm. 
Apart from the wasted space problems, this means also that each module has to be custom-built for FIC. 
Then there is a second part - you have to have connectors and some way to clamp the module in place.

This adds yet more weight and volume.
--Speedevil 12:03, 29 June 2007 (CEST)

Audio & video

In-dash car computer / tuner / cd-player

I would love to see a FOSS, OpenMoko-powered in-dash car computer. I think there's a good market for it and component-wise it's probably easier and cheaper to build than the Neo phones (more off-the-self components, less hassle with parts under legal wraps like the Neo GSM chip). There are several possible versions of such hardware, ranging from similar to existing devices to completely innovative.

A model similar to competing devices could be build from a standard 1-din case with a customized detachable front. Features: Tuner, RDS, CD player, USB port, aux line-in, Bluetooth, SD card slot. Except for the detachable front (which would have to be custom designed, or at the very least branded) most of the components are standard off-the-self components. The case is standardized and is large enough to hold a microATX or nanoATX board and a slim CD/DVD player such as found in laptops. Power supplies that hook to the car battery, USB, SD and Bluetooth are standard as well. Either on-board audio or an internal sound card can provide all the audio input and output required. The SD card slot and USB port could be put in the detachable front. That way you could simply take out the frame, hook it to your PC with a male-male USB cable and reprogram the device. No need to fiddle with the SD card. All this powered by the OpenMoko software stack of course.

A more geeky version of the above could offer wifi for example (to communicate from your PC with the car that's in the garage. E.g. uploading new music). Or perhaps the USB slot in the front can be made a full USB host so you can use USB wifi sticks or other USB devices as well as standard USB storage.

A more innovative version of such a device could be by embedding a big touch-screen LCD in the front of the device and optionally just one button: a knob that you can turn and push in. Resolution would have to match the aspect ratio of a standard 1-din device so it would probably be something like 1024x480 or 800x320. Such a device would also need a more capable graphics processor, perhaps one similar to the Neo FreeRunner capable of OpenGL ES. Touchscreen LCDs are common in car navigation equipment but to my knowledge have never been used on standard 1-din in-dash receivers before. You could get a very novel and elegant UI using this, much more elegant that in-dash receivers usually are.


Virtual laser keyboard

see... http://www.virtual-laser-keyboard.com/?an=google

Different Shapes & Styles

See Wish_List_-_Hardware#Casing for case suggestions & case mods

The current shape is great and many people love it (and I myself plan on getting one). Still, different strokes for different folks & we're allowed to muse about other options.

Dump the egg-shaped case design and go rectangular for more screen space

  • I'm all for devices that look great and have great features - aside from that I really like the current design. Thus I'd like to comment that the design change request is probably not the majority's opinion. Abraxa 00:00, 18 February 2007 (CET)

There will be many Openmoko devices, of different designs. --Speedevil 06:19, 28 February 2007 (CET)


Nuff said

Twisting top

Perfect for a multi-directional camera phone (for easier self photos & video conferencing)

Alcohol Sensor

Alcohol sensor adjacent to microphone. It doesn't have to be accurate, just has to detect any amount of alcohol on the speaker's breath. I understand this is a very narrow market, but alcohol is on every parent's mind.

I think those who drive cars might profit from this feature too. --cedel 16:02, 20 February 2007 (CET)

Although this is a good idea, you have to be very careful about liability here. If it gives a false positive (i.e. you're not over the limit), and you have an accident, the Openmoko team might be liable.
I guess the good alcohol sensor is very expensive, cheap very often give false outcome. However, they more often produce negative (no alcohol) while there is. And there's still the thing about guilt Openmoko team would bear. --tolein 18:01, 1 October 2007 (GMT+1)

Bottle opener

  • including a bottle opener is very hard, but could be useful.
  • example
  • It definitely is useful. A metal reinforced corner might be enough. While it is possible to open bottles with most cell phones, they don't look too good after opening a few cases.
  • Every multi-tool has to have a cork screw

Stackable Back Expansion plates

A reference specification for creating add-on devices. The phone has a back where other backs can be added and removed as the user desires depending on the function needed at the time supplied by each back expansion device. A USB 2.0 port which can use all usb devices such as a USB Storage or a Printer Etc.

Great idea, however it would require some other port, not USB. It should be thin, so it wouldn't take much space "inside" phone, and also should let you spin the add-on device, so it should be circular. --tolein 18:02, 1 October 2007 (GMT+1)
Personal tools