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New FP2 Motherboard

design
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#102

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.


#103

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…


#104

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.


#105

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.


:uk: Interesting links / news articles somehow related to Fairphone
#106

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.


#107
  1. I want to update the FP2 so that people who want a Fairphone don’t have to live with a lack of performance.
  2. This would mean that there will probably be software updates forever, because there will always be a newer Linux version as long a the specs support it.
  3. Roughly about 300-400€. I don’t want to talk too much about pricing, but my price margin won’t be high because I use high quality components (Not only the obvious one like RAM,CPU, but also high qulity SMD components)
  4. I can make the Board USB-C compatible, but there won’t be any bottom module to support it.
  5. I have already finished most of the board design, but the are still some minor things missing, like BIOS. Currently im drawing the scematics, which will (most parts) be open to everyone.
  6. Most people will probably run Linux.
  7. I think some may have misunderstood my project, because it’s not compleatly new. There is a Pocket-Laptop called GPD Pocket, which can perform and run Linux aswell as Windows very nicely.

#108
  1. sound just ok.
  2. 5-10 years would be fine :smile: ; well still it’s a phone, but software should not be the limit as we actually have with Android 8+
    The good thing with standard Linux is that there is hardly a piece of hardware out there which it does don’t support. Even my main machine is 10+ years old but runs smooth with Linux Mint. After all it has plenty of generic drivers.
    Still there would be enough space for tinkerers to have a play with your board bending the kernel to their needs.

Sure, anything else would speak against longevity, which this is all about. The price range sounds decent, slightly higher than the actual core module, but also more advanced.

  1. Actually I don’t know why many people are so eager to get their fingers on USB-C. I think often it’s due to the lack of more in-depth knowledge about the technique. The actual FP2 core module’s SoC could do quick charge, but the board design does not utilize this feature. So if it was only for quicker charging utilizing the QC feature for USB would do as well.
    But yes, USB-C is more versatile and in this forum we could read about users wanting to use the phone as replacement for a computer. Since there would be a standard Linux running such functionality could be made available.

Bottom module…I don’t know if you have more technical details on the actual FP core module and bottom module.
Maybe there could be done some preparation on your board? A final USB design for the actual module should not be too much work I think and a partial USB-C design in correspondence of a new module (2nd revision by FP supporting USB-C) so the main parts could be designed in the module itself but anyway connected to your board. Just an idea of mine that could work.


#109

It is important to differentiate between USB-C as a physical port and the protocols that run only over USB-C. The Intel processor has got 2-3 USB-C/USB 3.1 to be correct ports.


#110

I have to tell you that I will be using a 3G module instead of a 4G module. Th egood news is that 3G is only marginal slower than 4G and consumes less power. The reason for all this is that I just realised that my 4G module has no fallback 3G or 2G. The Downloadrate of the 4G module is 10mbps and the 3G module has got 7.5mbps. I want to hear if this is a issue or if you like that move, because some would prefer reliability over speed and 7.5mbps isn’t exactly slow, is it ?


#111

4G at 10Mbps or 3G at 7.5Mbps would not be a big issue in my opinion, I would certainly prefer reliability here.

It is in any case slower than the original motherboard. I get nearly 100Mbps down/10Mbps up in the SpeedTest app right now, over LTE.


#112

My FP1 only has 3G and I’m satisfied. I have WiFi in all university buildings and at home so I don’t have issues. But then again my FP1 isn’t really suited for HD video streaming in the first place (because it doesn’t have an HD screen and a weaker processor)… :wink:

Edit: I just tested my network speed and I get 23 Mbps with 3(.5)G on my FP1. Thus 7.5 Mbps really does sound quite slow… (Maybe you meant to say 7.5 MB/s, which would be 60 Mbps?)


#113

I don’t want to make any promises but I think I found a module tha fits the job. It’s by the same company and has got a integrated a7 processor (low power) to handle faster data traffic. It supports 150mbps. At first I thought it was too high but at a look at the closer description I found out that it is very thin and I only need to ad a few extra pads to my existing design, without changing much of the IO

Here is a link to the product : https://www.sierrawireless.com/products-and-solutions/embedded-solutions/products/wp7607/


#114

Yes, sure. But aren’t we moving on here? 4G is still in the expansion process in many places although reception is not always as reliable as with 3G.
Nevertheless the future goes for 4G or higher. This is hardware, nothing that could easily be replaced or upgraded.

I agree, although @Leo_TheCrafter seems quite well to know what he’s talking about this should once more be verified.

I’d like to share my personal experience on this point.

3G 7.5MBit/s
4G 10MBit/s

These are theoretical max. values depending on the used hardware.
But we are talking about wireless reception in best conditions.

Who could state always having best conditions for mobile reception even while moving?
It’s not about being connected by copper but having to consider different other impacts concerning wireless transmission as well.

I think I have a good practical (real) example for this seemingly little difference in speed.

In some cases I am trying to stay minimalistic.
So I am only keeping a 16MBit/s copper internet cable network (1&1).
One single computer connected to the Fritzbox (copper of course).
My NIC could deal in the GBit/s range, so that’s not the limit. Actually I’m only receiving a netto DL rate of ~9,5 - 10,5~ MBit/s. (I know for a 16MBit/s line it should be more, but that’s unfortunately the common way German ISP simply treat their customers, hence the contract is in cancelation state already :rage:)

Anyway this connected device is the only transmitting unit and WiFi is disabled (the Fritzbox WiFi option initially was unavailable due to the flashed vendor firmware which I later re-flashed with the original, re-enabling the WiFi functionality again :wink:.)

In praxis using Firefox on old XP or actual Mint without any other network traffic going on it is just possible to stream full HD videos from youtube. I don’t think there is a bandwidth lack on the side of youtube (ehm, Google).
If the full BW is used we are talking about 1,25Megabyte/s -> 10MBit/s.
In most cases videos stream flawless without caching troubles but in other cases streaming falls back to only 720p quality.

Things don’t turn to the better when enabling WiFi with only my FP2 connected. Although I am having a firewall there is always some network traffic going on when reception is enabled, who doesn’t know about this…

Before 1&1, Unitymedia was my ISP for ~ 10 years who delivered 24/7 101% of what was promised (10MBit/s). Same game here. Streaming full HD was just possible if there was no background network traffic going on.

Actually we are talking about mobile network reception here. Our FP2 could deliver and display full HD, so anything less than this is no advancement. Next there is still the reception quality. Can it be assured to always have the best 3G reception where ever we go (with whatever handset)?
Can we be sure to always have the full (theoretical best) bandwidth of 7.5MBit/s? And if so, it still would be a step back as we are actually holding a handset capable of delivering full HD streaming in cases of good/best reception (not to mention that I believe there are hardly new competitive handsets to be found offering less than full HD capabilities).
Nevertheless one should not neglect the fact that there is always background traffic going on. This will even reduce the available bandwidth for video streaming dynamically.

My mobile connection (1&1 / Eplus e-net) usually stays at 4G with a DL rate measure of ~15MBit/s which mostly works well.

I know it’s not all about video streaming and I don’t do much of it anyway. For everything else than this, 3G would be fully sufficient, let alone music streaming.
Unfortunately, music->music videos and similar content seems to be a major measurement for many interested users these days.

…consumes less power - I and maybe also others would consider this as the good news :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

…3G is only marginal slower than 4G

Due to the actual situation with FP2 specs (and my personal experience) I would interpret this as the bad news.

But anyway - kudos for putting all in a positive light :+1:

Reading this post I have the impression that you are approaching the famous remaining 5% mark for your project, which is always the most exhausting, time-/money consuming part to hit the final goal.

Pretty sure you will find a satisfactory solution, but maybe not today or tomorrow…good luck.


#115

In this concern I would like to know your opinion about the "new" eSIM technique.

  1. Technically -> complexity and space requirements (as space was your argument for the dual-sim implementation)?
  2. You like it or rather stick to the conventional µSIM (reasons?)

Thanks.


#116

Well, that might be a dealbreaker for people because 3G is going to get phased out before 2G. Providers want all the frequencies and bandwidth for 4G/5G.

And no, 3G doesn’t consume less power. The overhead of the protocol is AFAIK 15% like ATM. It isn’t even native TCP/IP. EDIT: 4G/5G has way better latency due to that.


#117

@jfdhuiz

After posting I could read that he might have found a better alternative. We’ll see.

If so that would even make things worse because there are countries/providers already not even having 2G active anymore.

or

So unlucky owners of the mainboard not having 2G and even 3G some day would hold a new unit degraded to crap without any reception option.
That would be the biggest frustration someone could experience.

So let’s hope the latest finding of @Leo_TheCrafter gives a working solution.


#118

This could be an optio if eSIM becomes more popular and wouldn’t be hard to implement, but for now I’ll stick with my standard SIM solution. A eSIM would be a great option to make space for more funktionality in the future. Thanks for the post.


#119

I’m very far right now and I hope I can finfish most of it this year. I’m drawing some scematics and refining the board layout right now.


#120

Sounds great.

Reading this some more came to my mind that was discussed here in the past.

There were more features requested which FP2 atm. does not deliver.

Like:

How does it look for your motherboard with these features, are they possible, maybe later by utilization with module upgrades?


#121

VoLTE is possible and even high standard bluetooth support is available