Creating a real usable phone using OsmocomBB

Martin Hinner martin at hinner.info
Wed Dec 14 08:28:29 UTC 2011


Harald,

On Tue, Dec 13, 2011 at 6:09 PM, Harald Welte <laforge at gnumonks.org> wrote:
>>  my 2 cents to the topic: I think the discussed situation (or target
>> audience) will change rapidly if there is open-source "mobile phone",
>> easy-to-configure, but for modern "low-cost" chipsets. Chinese
>> manufacturers will then very likely use the code for mass-production.
>> With CE certification/etc. I think that most of low-cost phones that
>> come from China use Infineon ULC eGOLDvoice or MTK.
>
> Why do you think so?  The chipset vendors provide their GSM stack
> together with the chips anyway.  I would argue that it is even difficult
> to get components (in quantity) + data sheets etc. from them _without_
> also getting the baseband stack from them.
> So why would any vendor be interested in switching to another stack?

The reason is simple, if the code (not just the GSM stack) provides
something more that MTK/Infineon RDK, they would be more than happy
to! My company is dealing with China. We are using them to purchase
low-cost parts, but they are also our competitors (they even copied
our products: have a look at our http://www.obdtester.com/focom vs.
http://sinosells.com/goods-7453-Ford+VCM+OBD.html - and thousands of
other Chinese webshops!). You would not believe how they are hungry
for even small improvements.

They are VERY GOOD at copying (in terms of both legal and illegal
copies), but if it comes to some improvements ... If OSS comes with
anything better than Infineon/MTK, they will surely use it. And I do
not think it's difficult to improve for example user interface (which
is horrible, btw).

> Without wanting to insult anyone here, my experience in the industry
> shows that no importer, not even the chinese phone manufacturers
> typically have any where near the skills required to do meaningful
> modifications to the GSM stack of a mobile phone.

Not all of them :-). This one I was talking about is capable of doing
many things. One of company shareholders (by the way, he is not even
programmer!) would be able to modify the user interface code
himself... but the point is not that some importer would play with the
code himself - Chinese manufacturer would do it for them. It's about
giving wider range of options to the customer.

Martin




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