Lets create the PineCom
#31
I'm a little surprised that anyone uses an MP3 player. I went straight from cassettes to smartphones. I'm not sure what good an MP3 player is when everyone carries a smartphone.

I'm a little confused as to the point of removing the cell modem but keeping WiFi. Is there really a security disadvantage to a cell modem that can be turned off? Why do I care? 5G is coming, and I wonder how that affects a device like this. Forget the tinfoil had stuff, doesn't 5G kind of replace WiFi for a device like this? Unless you're using your own private WiFi network of course; but if that's all you use for this, it seems to conflict with the usefulness of such a device.
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#32
I'm not really seeing what you want to make here:

If you want to make a device the same size as the pinephone with a hardware keyboard on the front you can keep backpack compatibility. Also it should still be made as easy as possible to use an already existing motherboard (e.g. an old braveheart board) to upgrade it with a builtin modem and vice versa, the new stripped down motherboard should be usable in already existing pinephones that don't need a modem. This way the least resources would go to waste.

If you want to make a lighter pinephone like device with it's own expansion modules making it smaller and dropping backpacks would of course be worth it, but if you do that, releasing a pinephone backpack, that accepts the same expansion modules is a must.

Anyway:
camera: only on the back
sensors: I'm the wrong person to ask here
wireless: "As long as it works"
gps: yes with killswitch

Aesthetically I really like the pinephone, minimal branding, clean and color neutral, I wish more brands would go that route.

But before throwing out yet another device, please consider that you *really should* also support the older ones by providing add-ons and backpacks (Don't starve your already running projects)
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#33
(10-09-2020, 06:34 PM)patrickmollohan Wrote: Being honest, I'm not sure this device is really a necessity unless you can absolutely commit to the $99 (or less) price point. My PinePhone is already closer in nature to my old Palm PDA than any of my Android phones (which is a good thing); I can't really see a reason for this existing. I would instead focus on the products you currently offer, iron out all the kinks, and hire some software devs to work on the kernel of the PinePhone. For that matter, let's see some back covers for the PinePhone. The keyboard and gamepad would be great to see materialised. From there, if LoRa is what you think justifies creating this new device, add an ESP32 to the back of the PinePhone, have it communicate over the I2C pins. Maybe consider partnering with Espressif or Arduino to get some microcontroller back covers. Or a back cover that adds NFC support. Or one that adds both a microcontroller and NFC. Or make a battery cover. Or one that adds a higher megapixel camera. There are so many opportunities with what you already have. Also....let's talk about this server that keeps going down....might be good to invest in something more stable. I believe it was a TWiT video that came out last month during the major outages. So many potential customers turned away because they couldn't get to your site. Seriously, there are so many better things to put your money into right now. And I don't mean this to be ugly, just would like to see more commitment to existing products and customers.

This is a very good post and points. Accessories to the pinephone would be appreciated. Ignoring those points though it should have:

- BT
- AC wifi
- GPS
- Front/rear cameras

A question? By not using the same size screen how well that affect the keyboard slated for the pinephone, which I imagine should also work for this device?
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#34
Following on from my earlier post on my thoughts on this, I now envision this as sitting somewhere between the pinephone and the pinetab, and in doing so, be more focused on 'communications' than being a jack of all trades like a phone is.

Getting rid of the cellular modem will make this a niche product for sure, as everyone wants their 5"+ touchscreen LCD device to be able to make and receive phone calls, SMS/MMS, and be able to browse the net over 4G/LTE, etc. So that market is out the window. Plus there is then zero doubt as to "is off really off" Wink And then there is the power hog nature of the cellular modem, which doesn't fit with this being able to be a longer-running device due to using more power efficient comms.

Giving this LoRa + WiFi + Bluetooth would make it so that projects around mesh communications and tracking will have a platform to work from. Perhaps the Pinecom could also be used as a LoRaWAN gateway, which is battery backed for extra resilience and reliability? Maybe this is the start of pine64 getting into making LoRa stuff?
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#35
No. 
Not now.
You'll be all over the place with the hardware and nowhere with the software. 
Develop modules for Pinephone and use to the maximum it's communication opportunities (pogo pins, I2C, etc).
Why people would buy a hardware that needs more specialized software when the Pinephone is not usable as a daily driver?
Wait and learn from the previous experience and than apply that knowledge to a future, more developed product.
If you guys are doing this as a competition to Popcorn Computer, better not. You'll have your time and for sure you'll deliver a more robust product.
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#36
(10-11-2020, 05:08 AM)c0n57an71n Wrote: No. 
Not now.
You'll be all over the place with the hardware and nowhere with the software. 
Develop modules for Pinephone and use to the maximum it's communication opportunities (pogo pins, I2C, etc).
Why people would buy a hardware that needs more specialized software when the Pinephone is not usable as a daily driver?
Wait and learn from the previous experience and than apply that knowledge to a future, more developed product.
If you guys are doing this as a competition to Popcorn Computer, better not. You'll have your time and for sure you'll deliver a more robust product.

Pine64 doesn't develop a lot of software anyways. So it'd kinda not change anything. The question is, would it divert some volunteers' efforts? If it doesn't overlap massively with some existing product I doubt it.
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#37
(10-11-2020, 05:10 AM)Avamander Wrote:
(10-11-2020, 05:08 AM)c0n57an71n Wrote: No. 
Not now.
You'll be all over the place with the hardware and nowhere with the software. 
Develop modules for Pinephone and use to the maximum it's communication opportunities (pogo pins, I2C, etc).
Why people would buy a hardware that needs more specialized software when the Pinephone is not usable as a daily driver?
Wait and learn from the previous experience and than apply that knowledge to a future, more developed product.
If you guys are doing this as a competition to Popcorn Computer, better not. You'll have your time and for sure you'll deliver a more robust product.

Pine64 doesn't develop a lot of software anyways. So it'd kinda not change anything. The question is, would it divert some volunteers' efforts? If it doesn't overlap massively with some existing product I doubt it.
I know they are not involved in the software developing process, more like donating for it. The idea is: you can go wild on the hardware side if you wish, but some people might like to open their camera other way than tipping commands in terminal (if you can access it in the first place...)
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#38
Quote:Do we need both a front and back camera on the PineCom? In fact, do we need any cameras at all?
Take the OV6540 and make it a front camera. Video communications matter to many people in this pandemic.


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

I really don't know, it depends on the use cases you can imagine.

Quote: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?

If this is going to be a more private device, please try to find a WiFi chip that uses free firmware and has great Linux driver support (like the Atheros AR9271 or (I guess) the Redpine Signals RS9116). I would consider this more important than the feature set.


Quote:Should the device feature a GPS (and compass) or are those features redundant in this type of device?
I think it is not necessary, as long as there is a way to connect to an external GPS chip for people who want to use this device as a car navigation device or something.


Quote:We are currently considering following the PinePhone’s general design and aesthetic for the PineCom, but if there is some sort of physical (within reason - also financially) that you think would fit this type of device well then make sure to let us know. 
Make it more blocky and angular, so that it looks truly nerdy, like the awesome devices n-o-d-e.net keeps creating.


Quote: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?
I would love to see a QWERTY hardware keyboard, which likely would require a smaller screen. That sad, 5" sounds fine, depending on the aspect ratio – a 16:9 5" sounds fine, a 21:9 5" would be to narrow.
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#39
In case its useful: This is my wish list for versatile device.

Same size screen, so I can see it easily (I'm not young, small screen is deal-breaker...)
Must have 3gig ram, prefer 4-8 so it can run modern stuff (maybe even qubes!? xen was ported recently I think...?)
Remove all radios, bluetooth, wireless, sensors, cameras, -just simple mainboard, cheap, driver-friendly and hopefully easy on compliance.
On device, under back cover, at very top, place usb port pogo pins
Make back cover which clips on and connects to the pins, and incorporates hub with 3 usb ports inside it at top, facing downwards inside the cover, so that user can insert 3 usb dongles of various types into them, ie: bluetooth, wireless, even cellular data if available(?), and these would lay lengthwise inside the back cover
The back would have switches in it, to turn off the power to each usb port, so the devices could be conveniently isolated without removing them.
The back cover could also incorporate a back camera and mic, also with switches.
There should be room at the bottom of back cover for an optional, extra-thick battery, depending if there is a long cellular dongle in place or not.
The device might be very versatile, as people can add any usb device they wish.
It should also be very secure and controllable, as devices can be switched off, removed or replaced.
Cheers all!
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#40
Heart 
Personally, I have a PinePhone and love it for what it is.

For my money, the answers are:
1) Only keep the back camera, and I'll be using it for utility so it doesn't need to be a high resolution. The 2mp should be fine for me.
2) I would keep only the compass and barometer. Accelerometers and gyro creep me out, and I never use ambient light.
3) I'd love to have dual-band wifi! That's my one minor hangup on the PinePhone. I'm mainly a wifi user.
4) No GPS, for me. If the compass and/or barometer rely on GPS, drop those, too.
5) I'd like to see some SPI flash, but it's low on my list.

A 4.5 to 5 inch screen would be good for me. I like to carry small, when I can. The PinePhone's 5.95 inch screen is a little bigger than I'm used to. It's usable, and I love it, but it's more than I need.

I'm extremely excited about the possibility of a pocket-portable communicator with LoRa and WiFi, especially if it uses the same batteries I already have for my PinePhone.
Thank you!
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