Intro & Faq
Intro & Faq
Jul 27 2006, 07:57 PM
Joined: 7-April 05
From: Sydney, Australia
Member No.: 6,806
Well we finally have our own fourm for discussion and i intend to break up the monolithic highly technical posts in to as many smally highly technical post as i can
Anyway here is where we will keep an updated list of whats in the pocket penguine as well as a place for FAQs about the project
Q: What is it:
A: This is our attempt to build our own PDA to our own standards. allowing us complete control over the hardware in an attempt to build a totally open PDA platform [/artistic babble]
Q: What is in it:
A: as best summed up by ferret simpson:
CPU: Freescale iMX30 - 533mhz ARM11
RPU: Freescale MXC300-30 3G ARM11 with StarCore DSP. 533mhz.
RChipset: Freescale RFX300-20 3G Radio Platform.
RAM: 2Gb (512MB) Laptop DDR266 Memory in 2x1Gb chips.
HDD: Internal ATA CF/MD interface, User provided Card
SD: 2x 4bit SD slot, SDIO capable with 3rd Party Commercial stack.
NAND: 16MB RO for Bootloader only. Will kExec any Kernel from a variety of Media.
RFlash/Mem: Indeterminate NAND and SDRAM. (16Mb Flash 128MB ram minimum)
Wifi: Zydas ZD1211 chip on CF16: 802.11G-54, WPA.
BT: Unknown Bluetooth V2.0 on USB-1.1
Rad: RPU connected over SPI, Audio, and USB480
Keyb: Internal Backlit KBD,
Mous: Internal Trackball with "Select" function and illumination,
DPAD: Internal with OK/Canc.
Roll: On Landscape Rear.
L/R On Landscape Rear
ACC: 3D Accelerometer.
BIO: swipe-bar Fingerprint scanner on SPI.
AUD: 5.1 with Microphone, and BlueTooth routing.
MSC: 3.5-4 inch, VGA, with integrated Resistive Touch Layer.
SSC: 4bit Serial on rear of device, for Phone display and viewfinder for Camera shots.
CAM: On main screen panel, above TFT in portrait mode. Supports Video and Stills.
CPLD to act as Programmable ASIC for SPI interconnection to devices.
Possible MicroProcessor to control Buttons and roller for use with phone when PDA disabled.
External full-size 480MBPS USB2 port.
Video out, Possibly 768i HDTV compatible, will be used for connection to external monitor.
Socket for network operator SIM card.
Key-signing of OS to prevent Unauthorised OS replacement.
Possible GSM trace functions including local MAC addresses and signal tower strengths.
Biometric identification of allowed users.
1800mAh Battery: Easily available Digital Videocam model.
Customised Aluminium case.
Q: Whos working on it (offically)
A: Da_Blitz (post to be added to the list)
Q: I have very few technical skills but want to help, how can i do so
A: Poke fun at our ideas as well as come up with some of your own, we intend to inovate with this platform as we dont really care about profits so we can chuck nearly anything we want in it.
If you want to help us futher than help contribute to the wiki (see Da_Blitz's tag) or start reading the chip documentation, you dont have to know electronics to understand the chips (it helps) a basic knowlge of how computers work is fine
Q: I have a highly technical background in electronics/kernel hacking how can i help
A: Introduce yourself and have a look at what we need done, i will try and maintain a list of what needs to be done but dont count on its reliability (check first). we will need driver writers and people with a background in security (i have a side project or two we will need for this thing)
if you have experince with mobile phones or GSM stacks please get in contact with us as we could really use someone in that area for writing a bit of firmware
Q: will this cost less than my car? what are you wildly estimating to be the shipping cost (with the understanding that if you answer this this early you won't be held to the figure-- looking at the specs, I'm thinking I might have to save a few pennies..)
A: We are aiming for the price of a c3x00 when fully loaded (ie full ram and storage) shipping should be included in that cost whoever we dont expect shipping costs to play a big part in the final price
Q: when do you expect to finalize the design and begin production?
A: as soon as posible, current goal is no latter than the end of 2006 but dont hold us to that
Q: what standard os is it shipping with? I'm guessing something built on OE?
A: Inital efforts will be focused on linux. at this point we may not ship with an OS on board as all you willl have to do to load an OS is use gpg to sign a binary and copy that binary to a CF/SD card for it to boot. therefore we may ship with several options on CD that a user may chose from and load to a CF/SD card to try out in a LiveCD fassion
Q: the screen description is vague. Still looking for parts? I would hope to see the 4" transfective from the zaurus 6000, or or better... mostly, outdoor light capability would be nice.
A: Yes we are still looking for parts or more to be more presice suppliers, at the moment we are aiming for 640x480 4" transreflective
Q: Whats the holdup on starting the design rather than talking about it
A: Before we can really design this thing we have to know which chips we are using in the final design, some of the critical things that we need to know what we are using are the screen, Wifi, RPU (radio processing unit) and keyboard.
Jan 15 2007, 09:23 PM
Joined: 7-April 05
From: Sydney, Australia
Member No.: 6,806
well in an ideal world an OSS company would sponser me but that wont be happening
so i am going to have to do it the tough way, it means the prototypes wont be fully populated, only with what will be tested and i will be hand soldering and butchering the prottypes (ie recycling them) to keep costs down
i also hawe a fpga board on the way (http://cgi.ebay.com/XILINX-USB-FPGA-BOARD-SPARTAN-3-200K-ETHERNET-WEBSERVER_W0QQitemZ220069714762QQcategoryZ50913QQcmdZViewItemQQisPrinterFriendly
1QQpvZ1) that will allow me to build virtual hardware for some things (ie looking at buses and doing logic analysis) and emulate some parts in softhardware
i entend for it to cost as much as the top range PDAs, but for each country the price is diffrent and for each individual, what is considered top end is diffrent
from my perspective i am looking at $1000 AUD for a final price as a maximum but even making 100 units will bring down the price, in fact 20 or more units will shave about $20 to $40 off of the price due to a lower retooling cost for PCB creation
at the moment i have a rapid prtotype manufacturer in china that i use (the US stuff is 10x more expensive, gives a lowwer quality product and forces me to wait 3 months instead of 3 weeks. not to mention the chinese people have better english skills than i do)
so they make it and i test it, repeat. you guys wont pay for dev costs in the final price. you will pay ONLY for raw hardware costs. so that saves a bit
but basically it comes down to my ability to debug without fancy tools and lukily the fact that the hard stuff is only RF which there are established practicies for and high speed busses which includes the ddr ram which is accounted for as well (more best practicies)
but yeah it comes down to skill and i hope i have it. i just have to remeber that along time ago when SDram came out they didnt have all these fancy tools so they had to inovate, the fpga helps but the thing that helps the most is old electronic magazines and infomation on old design practicies and debuggining teqnieqes
sure i wont have a 100Mhz ossciliscope but i will have a high speed logic analyser that i could wire a high speed ADC to to make a Digital storage ossciliscope
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