New FP2 Motherboard

@vomae

Isn’t FP2 already??
They are talking about Nexus 5, but - don’t tell me these top images are not from our FP2…:thinking::grin:

fp2head

Still one would get a more advanced and state-of-the-art core module.

On our Stuttgart Fairphone community meeting yesterday we discussed the same point.

If the price was equal - how would FP look then?
Also in means of having secured spare parts for ~3 years?

Having a choice how would one decide? - rather buy a core module (phone) with the old chipset or the new one at the same price.

I think the new module should even be slightly higher in price due to the difference in advancement. Not too much, but enough so customers (actual users) have a choice they can take. Just as with other products. Often there are slightly different versions of one manufacturer, many times it’s the price that decides.
Being in need of a spare part out of the warranty period would hurt either way.

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Keep in mind that the FP2’s core module comes with warranty in the first place (which is included in the price), while this comes with no warranty whatsoever. Hardware without warranty is not an easy sell, I’d say.

Anyway, Fairphone 2 doesn’t have support for any wired display cables/drivers. That’s why @vomae was talking about MHL. Unfortunately MHL is propriatery iirc so it has license fees. Convergence via wireless connections is not developed so far.

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This would be really cool. If they are on the fairphone forum please tell me their usernames so I can invite them to the post now that I have the right to invite people.

Good point you are mentioning here. Warranty is part of most if not all new purchases, but considering the price people are often shocked neglecting this fact.

I am not sure of that at the end. If there would not be the usual new item warranty period given it would not be interesting at all for me (probably not for most others too). Warranty as I know the law is mandatory.

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You should be able to invite people with their email address, regardless of them being a forum member.

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Or - @Leo_TheCrafter - you most likely will find them in this thread; though I have no idea how active they are in this forum:

And you will most likely find them on
http://ubports.com/

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Thanks for you replies.

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I would love to be at the moment when the question of warranty will be an issue: it would mean the project is finished and working :heart_eyes:

Warranty usually covers things like bad soldering (shortcuts, broken tracks, …) or design problems (power supply too small, missing current protection, …), which is the point of that work. Once everything works fine in labs (alpha test), beta test can be run on willing customers like us, then we can think about the future: it could as well be an open-source xGPL hardware design that people download and build with instruction. Like they say in the GPL: “THERE IS NO WARRANTY FOR THE PROGRAM, TO THE EXTENT PERMITTED BY APPLICABLE LAW. (…)

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So… you just opened the URL, saw the images and then jumped to conclusions… The post-truth era is real!!! :joy: :joy:

For those unaware, they speak of convergence as the ability of plugging your phone to a screen and having a computer (as cool as it sounds!)

Not possible for the FP2 due to hardware limitations.

Oh, man.

Maybe there’s an alternative. Still worth the price nonetheless.

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For the precision:

  • “cable-convergence” is not possible on FP2 due to hardware limitations.
  • wireless “Miracast-convergence” is possible ! But it could give a bad user experience due to the ~1 second lag…
  • “DisplayLink adapters” is a working solution as well ! But from what I understood, limitation= no charging of your FP2 simultaneously…
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@NeoTheThird is in the UBPorts team.

Indeed! They are very active in the Telegram supergroup :slight_smile:

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Thanks for tagging me @oli.sax.

Congrats on the interesting project @Leo_TheCrafter. Looks interesting, but after skimming the thread i have a couple of questions and comments.

  1. Are you 100% settled on the idea of using x86?
    a) FP2 battery life is subpar as it is. Sure atom processors are a little more efficient than the one in your average desktop, but they’ll never compete with any RISC arch.
    b) What standard modules do you want to keep from the default device configuration? Have you thought about the proprietary binary blobs you need for that? Or will you reverse-engineer them to compile them for x86? :smiley:
    c) You could just as well address enough ram with a 64-bit ARM chip.
    d) The biggest performance-breaker on the FP2 is the poorly optimized Linux kernel. Sorry, but that thing is hacked and stitched together, it’s pretty ugly. I don’t want to insult anyone here. Fairphone is a small company with very limited resources, and what they achieved with that is pretty damn amazing. But if you compare the FP2 performance with that of other devices with similar specs (like the Oneplus One), the difference is depressing. That problem would of course go away if you had a mainline linux kernel, but you’ll circle back to the issue with the drivers.
    e) Do people really want windows? Even with a more powerful atom processor, a juggernaut like windows 10 would still be excruciatingly slow. It could probably never be more than a funny gadget, idk if that can justify the price. Linux is considerably better optimized and works on ridiculously cheap ARM hardware. For perspective, i’m typing this on my 100$ Pinebook, sporting a 1.2 ghz A53 and 2 gigs of ram. Try running Windows 10 on similar hardware, i dare you.
    f) Cooling. You referenced the GPD pocket, that one has fans, iirc. How big do you want to make your device?
  2. Since someone mentioned MHL: If size is not a big concern and you’re able to get a native video signal from somewhere else, you could also just slap a native micro-hdmi port on that thing. That’d circumvent the need for slimport, mhl or a usb-c standard with video-out that’d probably require licensing costs.

Sorry, got a little lost in my anti-x86 rant there, so some other points i wanted to make about other things may have slipped my mind. I’ll come back to this later, if you don’t mind.

Please understand my criticism, i don’t want to shit all over your project, just want to give you some things to consider. Even the most beautiful PCB design will be useless if can’t draw to the screen…

Best of luck!

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You are not shitting all over the project, Neo. Your reply is worth a celebration.

That being said:

OH, YESSS!
:tada: :firecracker: :confetti_ball::man_dancing::dancer:


Where are you based @Leo_TheCrafter?

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Please be aware that I can only answer some of your questions.
a) The Intel Atom processor has a SDP of only 2W, but it can vary quite a bit, beacuse the Intle CPU has got a factory programmed voltage vs clock table thats indvidual to each CPU.
c) Most ARM (based) Processors (like snapdragon, Mediatek or others) use RAM thats layered on top of the processor. It’s still possible tu have something like 8gb RAM, but you’re limited to only one memory chanel.
e) Win10 runs on the GPD Pocked quite nicely. But still most people would run Android or Desktop grade Linux.
f) I don’t think I will need fans, beacuse most snapdragons (Including the one that is already build in) also have a SDP of 2W. And because of the higher efficiency the ATOM processor will reach the 2W not as often as the Snapdragon 801, which still uses 28nm processing.

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My understanding of that project is that it’s an “open-hardware” phone so the idea is to get some new chips (LTE, WiFi, SIM/radio, …), so drivers would have to be written from their specs. That would of course be open source :innocent:.

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Thanks Matthieu for your respons. Thats the concept of the phone and even the CPU has datasheet availeble. There is a 300 pages datasheet for hardware and then a 8000 pages datasheet for software development.

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Ok, but what hardware components do you want to keep from the original FP2? I wouldn’t be so sure there’s x86 blobs for most of them, let alone source code…

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I plan to reuse the bottom module, the top module, the screen, and the camera. The signals (or most of them) are processed in hardware (eg. the signal processor for the cameras). And for the software development of the CPU, well there exist a 8000+ pages datsheet. you can take a look at it if you have the time.

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Naaa…:frowning_face: don’t consider this, we are talking about more performance aren’t we?..
Single channel in 2018/19?

For my digital experience in the last few decades I strongly would prefer to have better performance over more ram. So, of course have dual-channel.

I consider 4GB ram for such a device as totally sufficient. I somehow cannot understand the reasons for some users wanting to have more than 4GB ram in such a device. What are they doing with it? Reaching out for mobile virtualization?? :thinking:
I mean having a computer replacement is one thing, but staying realistic is another. We are talking about a (mid-range) smartphone, not the latest top-notch on the market. Please stay a bit more down to earth. FP is not yet far enough to approach Apple, Samsung or other big boys heights. Three iterations are simply too less for this goal.

I think many users wanting to have 8GB in their handset probably don’t even keep a standard notebook with more than 4GB physical ram. So what’s the deal?
And still this is a Linux based OS not Windows. Yes, Windows may be run on this hardware, but if that’s the goal I am afraid there need to be two hardware options depending on the OS the user prefers to run.

I prefer to stick to (any) kind of Linux based OS, it’s unlikely that I want to pay for a 8GB ram unit knowing that it may take years to come needing that much ram, hence having to pay a noticeable higher amount for more (just in case/nice to have) ram I would not like and probably would decide against a purchase of such an oversized unit.

Actually I am following the launch of the (new) AMD Ryzen mobile APUs e.g.
5 2500/2600 & 7 2700/2800.
There are new notebooks out there (Acer/Lenovo) with a single channel ram design but keeping the stronger APU 7 line next to the the weaker APU 5 line with dual channel design which after all outperforms the stronger APU due to this imo design flaw just for the sake of low-costs. I´m helping to save costs and won’t purchase one such unit. :neutral_face:

Which one you would go for if having to take a decision and also in price comparison? (this one should be easy…).

There are FP2 users out there complaining about a lack of performance. Some complain about regularly running low on ram e.g. while browsing.
Both could be helped with 4GB ram as dual-channel setup.

Considering that all is working in form of more or less large memory shifts, it’s even more vital to have better performance (bandwidth) the more memory is available. I think performance is always the center key to focus on as it directly takes influence in the user experience.

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Hi @Leo_TheCrafter ,
I have been reading these posts with interest and have a few questions. Some might seem simplistic, but would like to understand them if you don’t mind:

  • What is the primary purpose of designing this motherboard ?
  • What would be any secondary objectives anyone would benefit from ?
  • How many people would need to buy your card in order to manufacture & distribute them ?
  • Any rough idea on what the cost would be (cost + cogs + your margin) ?
  • You asked for features. USB-C is what I instinctively would respond in order to connect it to obvious peripherals, but I guess that wouldn’t work as you would need to cram-in the connector somewhere… ?
  • What is the current status of your project?
  • Why on earth would you want to have a phone running any M$ products? On traditional hardware they are a nightmare already, let alone on reduced specs as in a phone.
  • I noticed a few ‘good luck’ comments on the UB-ports website. Any evolution in that? It would really be key to ensure to have a good relationship with some SW folks in order to have you MB light-up any OS.

My 2cts. really.

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