Solution to the shortage of Calypso devices

Mychaela Falconia mychaela.falconia at
Wed Oct 19 22:10:11 UTC 2016

Hi Harald,

> To be fair: It is *a* solution, unfortunately not one accessible to all
> people.  The price of the C1xx phones at the height of their
> availability some 5 years ago was in the range of 10-20 USD,

Actually the US band C139s are *still* available at these prices on
ebay today; dunno about EU band ones though.

My personal reasons for seeking to build my own FreeCalypso board have
more to do with these phones' extremely crippled nature, rather than
their shortage.  My FreeCalypso software puts more demands on its
underlying hw target than OsmocomBB, and a C1xx phone can never be a
fully satisfactory replacement for Openmoko's modem for FreeCalypso
purposes.  I want a hardware platform on which my FreeCalypso work can
shine at its full brightness, hence FreeCalypso hardware.

But I also heard many complaints from people who said they could NOT
get a Mot C1xx phone for the purpose of playing with OsmocomBB, thus I
thought that perhaps my board project could benefit not only the FC
community, but OsmocomBB as well.

> which is
> something never achievable with any new board if not only due to the
> economics of scale.

Absolutely true.

> I will re-read the mails, but as far as I remember it, there was some
> intention and some plans, but I do not recall having made a firm
> committment that we definitely will do it.

I don't think I said that you made a firm commitment, but the
announcement of those plans on this list did generate a lot of
excitement and interest.

> As usual, life happens and
> there are many other interesting projects to work on.

I have Asperger Syndrome, which causes me to remain focused on one
single project for years on end.  But I do realize that most "normal"
people don't have the same kind of single-minded focus.

> I personally and
> "my" company have been working ever since to create more and more FOSS
> for cellular communications - with a focus on the network /
> infrastructure side.

I very much appreciate your work on the network / infrastructure side,
as I suspect that it may become vital when the greedy uncaring major
network operators shut down their GSM/2G services.  When that happens,
those of us who absolutely require GSM/2G in order to live happy and
meaningful lives will have to set up our own networks, and that is
where your work on that side will come in very handy.

> I know of one company who has created a proprietary calypso-based
> design (not for public sale), but neither I nor sysmocom were involved
> in that.

I know (or I should say suspect) at least two, one of which is likely
the same one you know of.  They contacted me asking if I could make
AMR work for them in OsmocomBB, with the uplink TCH/AFS (or TCH/AHS
perhaps) bits coming from their external host instead of the
microphone-fed internal vocoder, and I told them that (1) I only work
on FreeCalypso sw and not OsmocomBB, and (2) I don't know if what they
wanted is even possible without *Massive* DSP reverse eng work to
produce a special DSP patch, so that was the end of the story.  But
they did mention to me that they had their own Calypso board, although
I have no idea how it differs from mine or from a C1xx phone.

The other company which I suspect is also building their own Calypso-
based hardware for use inside their closed world and not for the
general public is the anonymous company who did the FCDEV3B PCB design
in Altium - they did this work for me on a barter basis in exchange
for some consulting work I did for them, which consisted of extensive
hand-holding help with FreeCalypso sw on GTA02 devices - apparently
they are building something GTA02-based, but I can only guess, and
your guess would be as good as mine.  They are anonymous in that I
myself don't know who they are - they never told me.

> This is a misrepresentation.  I do not "feel" differently.  The point
> was simply that at that time, Openmoko Inc still existed, and there
> was confidentiality on the GSM modem part of the GTA01/GTA02 phone
> designs.  So I simply didn't have any authority to decide on that, no
> matter wat my feelings were.

Well, Prometheus did not have any authority from Zeus to give Fire to
Humankind either, but he did it anyway.  Every time you cook something
on a fire or warm your house with one, say thanks to the greatest NDA
breaker of all times!

> Great!  I have pitched USD 450 in to see how this bord turns out in
> reality.

I've already sent you an off-list thank-you note, but here I reiterate
my thanks for your donation publicly!

> I think it should be relatively easy to get 9 more people
> chip in to turn this into realaity.

I hope so...

> We also still have 100 units of calypso, iota and rita chips in stock at
> sysmocom,

The exact same number I have in my own stash - what a coincidence. :)

> which we'd happily donate to your project if you were
> interested.

Thanks, I'll keep you in mind if my own stash ever proves insufficient
and I have difficulty getting more from the Chinese market.


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