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.
May 25 2007, 12:57 AM
Joined: 7-April 05
From: Sydney, Australia
Member No.: 6,806
using the keyboard scaning logic makes it eaiser to go to low power mode, sure the usb spec can handel it but turning off the USB logic in suspend means greater power saving
as i see it there will be a power button for turnig on the device initially (or perhapes power on when power is applied) and let any keypless wake from suspend
however a dedicated usb device does allow for some wierd posabilities, for example using the usb "bridge" feature to connect the usb keyboard directtly to a host computer
if i remeber correctly there should be 24 gpio's free if i use the keyboard handeling stuff
as for the "backplane" idea, usb is fine for loading the firmware and you could use it for comms but i had a better idea in mind
make a pcb with some flash, ram, a fpga, an ethernet port and multiple controlable powerdomains on it with several PCI connectors, then make stripped down cards with the cpu/ram/fpga combo on it. basically you can swtich power to any slot on and off, allows hotpluing of cpu cards (usb handels detection) and use a fpga to implement a layer 1 and perhaps 2 OSI comms model. eg 32bit DR @ 133Mhz (233Mhz effective) the fpgas have this logic built in to talk to ddr ram but it would make for a nice way for these things to talk
its a cluster in a box of sorts. but its a better way of giving these things gigabyte comms in some ways (or @ 64bit, 400Mhz you get 3.2GB) you mem map it as sram and you get low latency comms between cards with enough speed to make rebote hardware (in this case hardware not attached to the chip) appear as local, which is my goal as well as some cluster and load balence stuff. its cheap
as for the actual bus, could be wishbone, wont be pci but i would rather make it seems like an ethernet card with RDMA capabilities and some ultra heavy offloading capabilites (eg scatter grab and assembley of packtets done by the card instead of the kernel)
but its a fpga so chuck whatever you want in there, and wihle your at it you could add a cryto offload egine in the spare space
lets just say i have refound my intrest in the project as well as finding a way that this design may be useful to more people
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