[svlug] 3G for smartphones has "monstrous patent issues"

Sargun Dhillon xbmodder at gmail.com
Mon Apr 6 21:49:12 PDT 2009

Yeah, it would probably add a considerable amount to the cost.
Firstly, Rick, OpenMoko's Freerunner OS is open source. What is not
open source is the firmware for the calypso, the GSM chipset contained
within the FR, u-blox chip, and the Atheros firmware. Two of these
(U-blox GPS, and Atheros) were because of the FCC. The GSM chip
because of every GSM carrier locks their chip up. Due to the recent
work of several developers we've been able to develop an open source
glamo driver.

Anyways, what's really hurting the Openmoko project is:
A) Funding - Building a phone requires several million dollars _AT LEAST_
B) Poor communication - Openmoko has a nasty habit of having poor
communication with the community. Steve Mosher is basically the public
face of the company, but he's far too busy
C) The hardware - The hardware industry in relative to GSM is far too
costly, and closed.

On Mon, Apr 6, 2009 at 2:41 PM, Rick Moen <rick at linuxmafia.com> wrote:
> Quoting Chris DiBona (cdibona at gmail.com):
>> It is worth pointing out that the patent fees are usually built into
>> the bill of materials at teh factory, and usually includes radio,
>> codec and other patents on the device.
> Good point.  Thanks.
> The OpenMoko guy guestimated that adding circuitry for 3G would add
> $200 to the existing pretty-steep cost ($300 min.) of the GTA02 =
> FreeRunner, and would be feasible only if there were a minimum order of
> 50,000 units.  (They've sold a bit over 10k FreeRunners, total.)
> Actually, I'm not sure about that $200 figure.  Raster (yeah, our
> Raster) was quoting it on the OpenMoko "community" list, but I don't
> know whom it was from.
> --
> Cheers,              Híggledy-pìggledy / XML programmers
> Rick Moen            Try to escape those / I-eighteen-N woes;
> rick at linuxmafia.com  Incontrovertibly / What we need more of is
> McQ!  (4x80)         Unicode weenies and / François Yergeaus.
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