Lets create the PineCom
Here are my two cents...

* Put the camera and GPS (if included) on a removable daughter board. Ship it with the board but people can remove it if they are wanting a device with stronger privacy, or if they are in an environment that does not allow cameras. Include a spare back case without the camera hole, should be minimal cost. This approach makes the device more flexible. Maybe alternate daughter boards could be developed to handle other needs if demand is there.
* Retain the same form factor as the PinePhone, with pogo pins in the same place. That way all work on accessories like external keyboards can be shared with the PinePhone.
* Make sure common docks work out of the box and you have a winner.
(10-10-2020, 05:49 AM)poVoq Wrote: A simple camera and GPS would be really helpful, adding in a barometer and compass as part of the GPS chip would be nice to have.

Maybe the camera could be placed in a way that would allow it to be used as a dashboard cam in a car that also acts as a navigation system?

In general it would be cool if the device was a bit more rugged and would allow use with gloves, maybe have a simple stylus included or a capacitative touchscreen? Or maybe some small programmable physical navigation buttons and a track-point? Something to allow input without actually looking at the screen would also be nice for use as a mp3 player or so.

The audio chip and output port should also be high quality so that it is possible to connect a ham radio for packet radio (a cheap Boafeng or those handhelds commonly used by emergency first responders). Connecting it to a radio in a sailboat for a GPS beacon and automated weather notifications would also make this an interesting replacement for expensive sail navigation solutions.

Really cool would also be one or two full sized USB A ports in host mode, as that would really increase the expand-ability of the device.

5ghz wifi support and maybe more importantly good modern bluetooth support would also be beneficial I think.

Edit: probably too expensive, but a build in infrared camera would be really cool, as that is commonly used to evaluate thermal isolation of buildings, and might also be helpful to optimize cooling of electronic devices etc.

Edit: maybe a lower resolution camera but capable of 60/120fps capture with a fisheye lense? Or make that two of those, with higher resolution to have something like a Lenovo Daydream camera for taking VR videos? Stereo cameras could also be interesting for robotics.

Edit: build in laser pointer and a laser distance measuring device? Just brainstorming Smile

That's actually a really good idea to use it as a dash cam and in-car GPS. That alone convinces me this device would be good.
Using the AP6256 (2.4Ghz/5Ghz Wifi + BT5) module as used on the PBP might be idea, as that would bring better wifi and BT support than currently used on the pinephone.

I also like the idea of being able to interface with packet radio mentioned by poVoq.

It's nice to see all the ideas coming out... it seems some form of modularity is a common theme here... as well as compatibility with the pinephone where possible - i.e. battery + backpack/expansion plates.
To be honest, I don't see the value in this idea. There are a lot of solutions in this space already, mostly cheaper embedded platforms, while the number of use cases is relatively small. I've personally never felt the need for LORA in a consumer device. A LORA backpack could make more sense - it's not like the current Pinephone is expensive as it is, so expanding it could cover this use case, and it could promote the idea that the Pinephone can be expanded in the first place.

Spend your energy on other things. For example:
- A more powerful Pinephone 2.0 with a better camera - someting that can actually be a daily driver.
- Something that moves into the smart home space while but could do a better job of protecting privacy (integrate ZigAZigAh and a speaker, with a USB microphone)

Just my 2 cents.
TBH I also don't see any value in such a device. Just one more thing in my pocket. So, in the end, the device will be left mostly at home for most of the people.
Hi I like the idea to have a simple cheap device for outside.
I like it to have GPS and sensors (and pogo to build extensions?).
I would like to experiment with mesh/ operator-less networks, for outdoors, emergencies, privacy.
So a radio that can cover some distance would be appreciated. I like the idea of coupling to a PMR or a (USB)SDR dongle.
I think Lora is to low bandwidth for most things, outside IOT data and short messages.
For mesh voice, local network or even internet relay we need more bandwidth.
Also having a PinebookPro or PineTab as "base station" with a transceiver dongle with matching radio tech would be nice.
For short distance we can start with Wifi.

Having a AM/FM/SDR radio receiver is a fun option when outdoors.
Having the same SDR as the PineTab would encourage software development for SDR based tools, wetherfax, noaa, AIS, etc.

If it is rugged/splash proof, I would use it outdoors as GPS and (low-tech) camera. As media play (mp3/4) so would appreciate a 3.5mm jack and decent DAC.

One can also deploy a standalone pinecom as a "pirate box" to share files either anonymously, or only with known clients encrypted.

Regards Paul
(10-12-2020, 09:49 AM)KC9UDX Wrote:
(10-12-2020, 09:27 AM)nyxxenator Wrote:
(10-10-2020, 04:25 PM)KC9UDX Wrote: 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 did explain the use case in my post.

To add to that though, I don't like the hyperconvergence that has happened with cellphones. It's useful sometimes but other times it gets in the way. For instance, I could use a separate GPS unit because of how bad it is to be in horrible highway traffic trying to go somewhere and needing updates from my GPS... and then someone calls me. I'd love a device that gives me a separate screen+sound but it could otherwise give me the same navigation as what I get on my phone. Then some annoying telemarketer, or a relative, wouldn't cause me to miss my turn.

I have a dozen old phones that do all these things very well.  And should there be an emergency, they will still call 999.  They just do everything so much better than any standalone device.  The only downfall in some cases is battery life.  But in all the uses I have, they don't run off the internal battery anymore.  And unlike standalone MP3 players, I can add songs and playlists from my NAS via ftp when the devices are places out of reach. Often I don't know exactly where they are when I do that.

OK, well.. good for you? I use my phones until they start having errors with the flash memory or other problems so I don't really have old devices that are very useful. My newest phone is 3 years old at this point and when it was new it replaced a phone I had for 4 years. And they're the size of a small tablet and not really convenient to strap on your arm for some running music.

A smaller device that is cheaper because it doesn't need the cell modem, because it's not your cellphone, should be a no-brainer in my books.
Sounds like an interesting project !.

I like the concept of a low-cost messenger device without the need for subscriptions, etc from mobile operators (or at least very low cost).
I suspect the device doesn't need cameras but requires GPS and ability to share location, etc.

WiFi & Lora at a minimum. I could imagine this (depending on cost of the PineCom) being very popular with those that just want to message between interested groups and over relatively short distances (metro areas, etc). This handled by Lora, with WiFi a good option when available.

So - relatively good sized screen but physical or virtual keyboard ?. If former, then only small screen required, if latter then relatively large primarily for the keyboard.

Anyway - really interesting project and can think of a number of use cases already........

I'm not sure about this one, it seems better to me to take advantage of the PinePhone expansion capabilites via its backplate and maybe offload some of the extra features to the PineTime (?)
Just thinking about this some more... perhaps the first thing that should come is PinePhone backpacks (LoRa, keyboard, etc), then a compatible PineCom could be released that also works with those backpacks. The backpacks would also help distinguish the PP from the Librem 5 on a dimension other than cost.

A PineCom device without such flexibility through add-ons would have a smaller market, so these may be essential to its success as a versatile device.

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