Lets create the PineCom - Printable Version

+- PINE64 (
+-- Forum: General (
+--- Forum: News (
+--- Thread: Lets create the PineCom (/showthread.php?tid=11772)

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19

RE: Lets create the PineCom - diodelass - 01-21-2021

I still have serious questions about the overall purpose of this device.

Is it a testbed for post-Internet decentralized wide-area networking? That's what it sounds like. If that's the case, then we're really bikeshedding this by worrying about irrelevant details like how large the screen should be and whether or not it needs a front-facing camera. If we're going to make any progress on the extremely involved technical problem of self-configuring mobile mesh networking - a problem that no one has yet solved to the degree needed to make it scale to continent-spanning or even city-spanning networks - then we need to focus on that and let go of the rest. If this is what the PineCom is for, and it needs to be low-cost, then it shouldn't bother having any cameras, extra fiddly bits, and maybe not even Wi-Fi; all of the extra BOM budget should go into putting a decent software-defined radio transceiver in it, ideally backed by an FPGA for DSP tasks. Yes, that's expensive territory, but that's the territory we're in if we're trying to push the limits of mobile wireless networking. My first choice of hardware for this sort of project would be the Fairwaves XTRX, though since that costs about an order of magnitude more on its own than the target retail price for the entire PineCom, we'll obviously have to start smaller. The AT86RF215 chip, or whatever similar part happens to be available, might be a good start.

LoRaWAN is not going to be an effective solution, because it's designed for polling sensor networks over relatively small areas (a few kilometers, not tens or hundreds) and generally relies on internet-connected gateways as well. Additionally, LoRa is proprietary and its chips are expensive, which adds pointless complications to this already-very-complicated project. LoRa's link budgets are impressive, but an FPGA-backed SDR could relatively easily outmatch those numbers with the right spread-spectrum techniques, and with the specifics of those techniques published openly, it will actually be possible for other types of devices to interoperate with this one, which will be crucial.

Regulatory issues are going to be another challenge that I'm not really an expert on. I don't expect this will be able to get certified as an FCC-compliant consumer wireless handset, but it might not need to be if it, like other SDRs, gets sold as test equipment (which it will be).

RE: Lets create the PineCom - the01player - 02-01-2021

Any reason why this would have LoRa and LoRaWAN technology instead of DASH7 or IEEE 802.11ah?
LoRa uses a proprietary spread spectrum modulation, while DASH7 and IEEE 802.11ah are open.

Maybe I am not understanding these technologies fully, but if possible it would be nice to use non-proprietary tech.

RE: Lets create the PineCom - zer0sig - 02-08-2021

I like the idea of a low-power, low-speed network for communicating over a good distance, but I am not fussy about what protocol is used. Obviously lower cost and greater ability to communicate over long distances, with the ability to jack into wifi and run many common linux or android apps would be cool - and I am a big proponent of alternative networking methods on general principle and maybe as something to take hiking, camping, etc - good closeup speeds would be important but it wouldn't take much to communicate, say, GPS coordinates, text or light pictures, or similar. This is a long thread and there are obviously a lot of ideas here. I am definitely interested.

I also really like the idea of making the device decent as a music player, that way I could use this for music in the car and take it out to communicate, and it doesn't seem like it would be super expensive to ensure that the audio was decent and not too hard to support. It also wouldn't require notably more CPU or battery use.

RE: Lets create the PineCom - novhack - 02-08-2021

I don't know much about LoRa and alternative ways of communication so take my opinion with a grain of salt. To be honest even if a device like that cost less than $99 I would rather get the PinePhone (if I didn't have one already) since the form factor would be basically the same. What would make the PineCom an extremely interesting device for me would be some very distinct physical features related to communication like a build in physical keyboard for easier typing (BlackBerry style). Out of cameras I would keep only the front one because of videochat.

RE: Lets create the PineCom - KC9UDX - 02-08-2021

It still just seems to me that a ruggedised sleeve for the PinePhone with LoRa, Freenet, MURS, whatever capability, plus a larger battery, is the way to go.

Or heck, a PinePhone with licensed radio service capability* would probably sell like hotcakes, even for Librem5 prices. But that's a very sticky wicket.

*6m, 4m, 2m, 1.25m, 70cm, 33cm, 23cm. GMRS would be nice too but I don't think it's feasible to add that along with the others, without treading into Baofeng (quasi-legal) status.

RE: Lets create the PineCom - bookhydra - 02-13-2021

I agree a PineCom back / case for PinePhone would be ideal.  Thinking about applications locha mesh seems a good use of LoRa - Chat and send Bitcoin without internet 
perhaps the pine64 community could add Litecoin on Pine Forest(LoRa mesh)

RE: Lets create the PineCom - barray - 02-13-2021

Given the disagreement about exactly what the device should/could be, I think it could be cool to have some space inside for a removable card (maybe a small M.2 for compatibility with the PineTab SDR). Also this would allow other people to easily develop/test their own hardware projects.

RE: Lets create the PineCom - Braillynn - 02-19-2021

Q: Do we need both a front and back camera on the PineCom? In fact, do we need any cameras at all?
A: I understand the security concern with having cameras, but they can be very useful for a lot of applications, so I think it's better if they stay.

Q: Should we bring over all sensors present on the PinePhone? If so, which do you think we can do without?
A: Yes

Q: Should we use the same single band/11n/BT4 WiFi module in the PinePhone (for compatibility sake) or change it out for a dual band/11ac/BT5?
A: Considering the device will be without a modem and rely on WiFi more than the Pinephone would, it makes sense to upgrade the WiFi module.

Q: Should the device feature a GPS (and compass) or are those features redundant in this type of device?
A: Those features are not redundant in a device like this. I'm sure many developers can find a use case for those features on a device like this.

Q: Should we include SPI flash?
A: Yes

Q: We are currently considering following the PinePhone’s general design and aesthetic for the PineCom, but if there is some sort of physical change(within reason - also financially) that you think would fit this type of device well then make sure to let us know.
A: Would love to see the power button and volume up and down buttons on different sides of the phone. Accidently press the wrong button when they are on the same side.

Q: We’re currently thinking of using a 5” LCD panel for the PineCom; what do you think about this - is there a reason to go bigger or smaller?
A: Well for cost it makes sense to go smaller. For use case, I think it would be nice if there were two sizes 5' and 6'. People can order the one that works best for them. I'm sure some people will try and use this a phone replacement.


RE: Lets create the PineCom - KC9UDX - 02-19-2021

As far as power buttons on cell-phone like devices:

I've had them with power buttons on every side.  Unless they're recessed (and I wish they'd do this more often!) I find it utterly impossible to accidentally press them no matter where they are.

My latest phone is the worst.  Nothing like sitting in a meeting (since covid, the few I have to go to are even more solemn) after someone says "please be sure to turn your cellphones off" and having



simply because I leaned back or forward or to the left or right.

RE: Lets create the PineCom - zer0sig - 02-21-2021

(02-13-2021, 06:08 PM)barray Wrote: Given the disagreement about exactly what the device should/could be, I think it could be cool to have some space inside for a removable card (maybe a small M.2 for compatibility with the PineTab SDR). Also this would allow other people to easily develop/test their own hardware projects.

Agreed. I guess I didn't say it in this thread, but a couple of decent modules for different purposes would be a cool idea.