User experience
#11
(03-22-2021, 09:44 AM)moonwalkers Wrote: If I were to hazard a guess - it has to do with costs. I wouldn't be the first one to express an idea that by price-limiting their products Pine are painting themselves into a corner - they cannot get new units into the hands of the users since the shortages hit, and I have to wonder how are they financing their original R&D. Because all the economic breakdowns of the device costs I've seen show one of the biggest parts is actually amortized R&D cost, and it's the R&D that's needed to resolve the issues, not just QC alone - certain designs are just more prone to issues than others, given the same workmanship quality.

Please, keep in mind that Pine64 actually cannot function without the community, because pretty much the entire software support for all their products has been implemented by the community.  There's absolutely nothing wrong with that, but the bad and weird part is that Pine64 now actually remains silent to the the community efforts aimed at product improvements.

(03-22-2021, 08:36 PM)Vasant Wrote: My suggestion for them would be to partner with a high volume Android phone/tablet  manufacturer who is willing to release kernel and uboot code and resell them as development platform. Another benefit would be that we can have access to more recent SOC's built on new process technology.

That would be great, but IMHO that's never going to happen with the current state of IP protection.  Unfortunately, nearly all embedded hardware manufacturers keep the internals of their SoCs and ASICs close to their chests, as a way to protect their IP.
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#12
(03-26-2021, 05:43 AM)dsimic Wrote:
(03-22-2021, 09:44 AM)moonwalkers Wrote: If I were to hazard a guess - it has to do with costs. I wouldn't be the first one to express an idea that by price-limiting their products Pine are painting themselves into a corner - they cannot get new units into the hands of the users since the shortages hit, and I have to wonder how are they financing their original R&D. Because all the economic breakdowns of the device costs I've seen show one of the biggest parts is actually amortized R&D cost, and it's the R&D that's needed to resolve the issues, not just QC alone - certain designs are just more prone to issues than others, given the same workmanship quality.

Please, keep in mind that Pine64 actually cannot function without the community, because pretty much the entire software support for all their products has been implemented by the community.  There's absolutely nothing wrong with that, but the bad and weird part is that Pine64 now actually remains silent to the the community efforts aimed at product improvements.

What I was talking about is that even with community actively contributing actual designs they would still need to do at least some of their own effort to integrate that, and that takes time and therefore money. But again, like I said before, I may be just talking out of my ass. All I can say with certainty is I would love to see Pine64 succeed releasing great hacker-friendly devices and fostering a great community, and if it requires to pay a bit more for their devices to help them achieve that - I'm willing to do so.
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#13
(03-26-2021, 09:41 AM)moonwalkers Wrote: What I was talking about is that even with community actively contributing actual designs they would still need to do at least some of their own effort to integrate that, and that takes time and therefore money. But again, like I said before, I may be just talking out of my ass. All I can say with certainty is I would love to see Pine64 succeed releasing great hacker-friendly devices and fostering a great community, and if it requires to pay a bit more for their devices to help them achieve that - I'm willing to do so.

I would agree that Pine64 certainly needs to validate hardware improvements and fixes submitted by the community, which certainly cannot happen if they don't listen to the community at all.  Please, keep in mind that I'm not talking about some arbitrary improvements or random new features; I'm talking about fixing major, well-known PineBook Pro hardware issues that cannot be worked around in software.

It is reasonable to expect from the community to report issues.  However, even if no actual fixes for well-known major hardware issues were submitted by the community, Pine64 should discuss and acknowledge such issues, stop manufacturing and selling flawed devices, and work on the new hardware revisions either internally or (preferably) together with the community.  As simple as that.

Quite frankly, I've already invested a lot of my time into debugging more than a few issues with the PineBook Pro, but more work is still required.  For example, I am not willing to risk my own PineBook Pro by testing out changes to the battery charging circuitry.  So, I've asked Pine64 to donate one PineBook Pro for the purpose of testing such changes to the hardware, and I got no reply.  Not even a "get lost" reply.
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#14
(03-26-2021, 10:54 AM)dsimic Wrote: However, even if no actual fixes for well-known major hardware issues were submitted by the community, Pine64 should discuss and acknowledge such issues, stop manufacturing and selling flawed devices, and work on the new hardware revisions either internally or (preferably) together with the community. As simple as that.

I think "stop manufacturing and selling" would go against their stated goals, though I agree there is no point in the whole "development" if it doesn't actually manifest in improved product. But I personally would be OK with improvements incorporated on a generation-by-generation basis. That is, I'm not going to be too offended with existing PBP flaws not being addressed in the current iteration because frankly even the charging current limit is not gonna motivate me enough to buy a new unit for as long as my current one still works fine. But if Pine64 releases next PBP iteration, say RK3588-based, and that next iteration still has the same issues with low charging current, overheating charging circuit, having to deal with SW workarounds for headphones switch-over, crappy touchpad, dislocated lid magnet, etc. - yeah, I'll definitely be upset in that case and probably will be looking into other ARM laptops.

(03-26-2021, 10:54 AM)dsimic Wrote: Quite frankly, I've already invested a lot of my time into debugging more than a few issues with the PineBook Pro, but more work is still required. For example, I am not willing to risk my own PineBook Pro by testing out changes to the battery charging circuitry. So, I've asked Pine64 to donate one PineBook Pro for the purpose of testing such changes to the hardware, and I got no reply. Not even a "get lost" reply.

I can kinda understand that. If they sell at no profit they'd be losing money sending you a free unit. With no guarantee (no offense intended, mate) that you actually follow through and don't stuff things up. And communicating with customers (A.K.A. PR) takes a lot of time and effort even when it's just a polite "no" and is (or at least can be) pretty much a full-time job. But yes, it would be very nice if the communications were better.
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#15
(03-26-2021, 03:32 PM)moonwalkers Wrote: I think "stop manufacturing and selling" would go against their stated goals, though I agree there is no point in the whole "development" if it doesn't actually manifest in improved product. But I personally would be OK with improvements incorporated on a generation-by-generation basis. That is, I'm not going to be too offended with existing PBP flaws not being addressed in the current iteration because frankly even the charging current limit is not gonna motivate me enough to buy a new unit for as long as my current one still  works fine. But if Pine64 releases next PBP iteration, say RK3588-based, and that next iteration still has the same issues with low charging current, overheating charging circuit, having to deal with SW workarounds for headphones switch-over, crappy touchpad, dislocated lid magnet, etc. - yeah, I'll definitely be upset in that case and probably will be looking into other ARM laptops.

I agree with you to a certain point, but there are a couple of important things to remember, which I will describe below.

As a result of the awful pandemic we're all suffering from, it's been quite a while since the last PineBook Pro was manufactured and sold by Pine64.  Thus, there's been more than enough time to acknowledge and resolve all major hardware issues, meaning that the "stop manufacturing and selling" policy actually has been already in effect for quite a while, but nothing has been done by Pine64 to acknowledge or fix the hardware issues identified by the community.

It will be a long time before we see a successor to the PineBook Pro.  Yes, RK3588 with its four ARM Cortex-A76 cores is much better than RK3399, but there hasn't been even a hint from Pine64 about an RK3588-based SBC.  Furthermore, even when an SBC becomes available, it will take a lot of time for the RK3588 support in the Linux kernel mainline to mature to the level already achieved by RK3399.  Thus, resorting to a generational fix of the issues simply isn't the way to go.  Even worse, if that would be the general approach, what can guarantee that the next-gen device isn't going to be plagued with similar issues that will be left unresolved?

(03-26-2021, 03:32 PM)moonwalkers Wrote: I can kinda understand that. If they sell at no profit they'd be losing money sending you a free unit. With no guarantee (no offense intended, mate) that you actually follow through and don't stuff things up. And communicating with customers (A.K.A. PR) takes a lot of time and effort even when it's just a polite "no" and is (or at least can be) pretty much a full-time job. But yes, it would be very nice if the communications were better.

Quite frankly, there's no way that sending me a free PineBook Pro would cost Pine64 more than what it would've cost them to hire someone to do what I've done so far.  The value of the work I'd actually be able to do with the free PineBook Pro would be at least ten times greater.  What I'm trying to say is that the donation of hardware would actually be a very profitable investment for Pine64.

I understand that the world is full of crooks, but I'm not one of them.  See, I do not want a free PineBook Pro; I actually want to buy another PineBook Pro with all hardware bugs fixed, but as Pine64 is probably not going to make that available, I have to invest my own time into making that happen.  That's fine, too, but then I need some help from Pine64, which would be the donation of hardware required for the debugging and development of hardware fixes.

It wouldn't be only nice to see better communication from Pine64, it is crucial for Pine64 to have excellent communication with the community.  Without the community, Pine64 cannot continue to exist.
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