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#11
You are taking a (calculated) risk with this project already and it would make sense to ship with the most risk-free solution: GMS Android. That way you could differentiate yourself from the rest via hardware and appeal to the maximal number of customers. I would expect that many are missing hardware keyboard, better get this out for as many as possible.

Would be great to make this device as developer friendly as possible. I don't know how compatible it is with the GMS, but making bootloader unlockable as simply as on Nexus would be great. Its another problematic area right now and making it appeal to developer community would surely help you.

I wonder whether its possible to ship with TWRP out of the box. If it is, why do others keep their crippled recoveries ...

I wonder if you could consider keeping the warranty after device was re-flashed, in terms of hardware failure. Again, its an option that would appeal to many developers.

As for Android base, Lineage would be great. Porting SFOS to it would be simpler if it has Lineage base, at least it used to be in CM days. However, I don't know whether Lineage folks make it possible to preload it on the device.

I presume that you want to be ready ASAP since all components get older every day. So, if Lineage takes too long time, ship a working product as soon as you can - being AOSP + GMS.

With the product available for developers, there will be people porting Lineage to it anyway. Maybe it would be great to get in touch with their community and ask if there are any specific requirements that can make their work easier.

I presume many in this community would be very interested in getting such device with SFOS. I do wonder if we can get SFOS images for extra fee, similar to Sony Xperia X program, and how large would the fee be. With Lineage ported/shipped it should be possible to make community port as well. When the choice of chipset is done, maybe its great to check whether it would be problematic with Jolla and/or porters.

Few additional pointers: please include SD Card slot. If possible, please use AMOLED screen.

Good luck!

PS: Ubuntu Mobile is discontinued and there is only a fan-based UBports
 

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#12
Originally Posted by chainsawbike View Post
well in my view your target market has two clear groups within it
1, those who just want a hardware keyboard for their phone
2, those who want real linux on a phone with a hardware keyboard
To this users groups distinctions, there are also two ways to use the device:
* keyboard closed : a touch friendly OS is needed
* keyboard open : a landscape friendly OS is needed, with good support for keyboard shortcuts

Sailfish OS is one of the best touch friendly OS in my mind, as it has been design with this in mind, whereas android is usable but can be a pain (small buttons, things in top and low bar, and all), and debian would need a UI for touch (KDE Plasma ? Hildon ?) and phone (with calls, sms, contacts and apps like that) that I am not sure exists.

Sailfish OS is not the most landscape friendly OS, for example the home screen or events views don't exist in landscape. If this phone is a success it may help to push them to add it. But for people who used an other-half hardware keyboard, it looks like a lot can be done, especially on the shortcuts side.
Android is a bit more landscape friendly, but I don't think the keyboard is a first class citizen. On my "old" Motorola PhotonQ, it is usable, but there are no shortcuts that I know to switch between apps, most buttons can't be reached by the keyboard, so that you constantly switch between the touchscreen and the keyboard.
Debian is obviously landscape friendly, but the chosen UI would have an impact to the usability too.


And finally, the OS will have an impact on the apps we can run:
* Sailfish : can run Sailfish apps, and can also run some standard linux app with some work. For android apps, Jolla's support is needed (or an open source emulator like AnBox or fDroid is finished), and Google Service is not available legally.
* Android : can run Android apps, and some linux apps with some work (chroot ?). Google Services are needed for some mainstream apps. Sailfish apps cannot run without a lot of work and maybe legal issues (Silica ?)
* Debian : can run linux apps, maybe Android apps through emulators (AnBox, fDroid). Google Service is also not available legally, and Sailfish apps would probably not run without a lot of work.


So I would prefer Sailfish, but for the success of the phone I understand that an Android flavour would help getting it to the masses, and that a community port of Sailfish would be enough (especially if you can help with as much info and sources on the drivers used).
 

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#13
Originally Posted by Zeta View Post
Android is a bit more landscape friendly
Unfortunately, I agree.
For example "sticky keys" function (when I don't need to push Shift + other key nut once but I can click Shift and then other key, of course using both keys at once also do work) is very useable for me on Motorola Droid 4. Sailfish lacks this function.

Originally Posted by Zeta View Post
On my "old" Motorola PhotonQ, it is usable, but there are no shortcuts that I know to switch between apps, most buttons can't be reached by the keyboard, so that you constantly switch between the touchscreen and the keyboard.
If you remap keyboard files located in /system/usr/key*/ directories you can use ALT+TAB to switch between apps and CTRL+C/X/V/A on text editing.
I have remapped Caps Lock key to CTRL and ALT so now I can easily type using it Polish characters (ą,ć,ę, ...), use ALT+TAB (using one finger as the keys are located next to each other) and mentioned CTRL+C/X/V/A.

Last edited by mp107; 2017-07-22 at 12:22.
 

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#14
What's the cost for shipping a device with sailfish/android? The license cost taken by Jolla and google?
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#15
Originally Posted by kinggo View Post
You want this to be commercially successful or at least not a flop so android OTB is the only thing that make sense.
First define a 'commercial success'. How many units need to be sold for what price? I think it is already a success if the product is launched and Chen and company will make some profit.

Don't forget that the Android crowd is a lot less tolerant about hardware or software issues. You need to launch with an almost perfect product and can't ask for a premium price if it is not.
People using debian are used to solve their own problems, looking for workarounds and will actively assist improving the OS.
 

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#16
Jolla should be bending over backwards to get involved with this project.
 

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#17
Originally Posted by chenliangchen View Post
Now that we are getting closer to finish the Moto Keyboard Mod and Youyota Tablet, I have started to work on the next excitement - reviving the N950/Lauta concept with a modern SoC and hardware.

The first choice has been made: SoC will be Qualcomm 64-bit. There are a few choices but Qualcomm's is the best in overall performance and support.

Qualcomm (Chosen): Solution extremely expensive. Components are hard to get. But support is great (in terms of drivers). Performance at top tier, power management is great.
Intel: They exit mobile chipset business and atom range is not as power efficiency as Qualcomm.
MTK: Cheaper than Qualcomm, performance is OK. But drivers often being the issue. Components often out of stock...
Allwinner: Lower end cheap SoC with unknown support other than Android
Rockchip: Strength on Media but not a mainstream chipset.

Then here comes the question: Which OS we can use? I have a few in mind but the community's opinion will play a great rule.

AOSP: Can be shipped as a default choice, for warranty purpose, at least every basic function is working. But as Wicket mentioned in here, it seems to be causing barriers porting proper GNU releases?

The advantage for AOSP is mainly cost-free and lawsuit free, I can't sell something under other OS that might have broken functions...

Sailfish OS: A proper OS that I want to ship with default OS. But to obtain official adaptation costs a lot of time and money. On the other hand, we can leave it to a community port only. The question will be is it worth the cost adding Android layer.

Nemo: Any opinion on advantage/disadvantage on that? On official wiki page looks like the development ceased 4 years ago... If this can be achieved in terms of open UI and community/developer friendly in a latest release/kernel that will be a great choice.

Ubuntu Mobile: Is it cancelled? Is it worth developing?

GMS Android: To make this project successful and have funds improving HW/SW in the future, selling it to general public in a GMS version seem to be a good choice. Although I hated Android...

Lineage OS: As an alternative to GMS Andoid, but is it possible shipping as the default OS?

Any suggestions/ideas/loves/hates please post here.
Hi Chen,

First of all, congratulations on your successful tablet campaign! I hope my post that you linked to didn't come across too negative. I'm glad you've created this thread to seek input from the whole community.

I'm less concerned about what OS is bundled with the device and more concerned about what can be installed afterwards, and for that, the choice of SoC is critical. For me the most important thing would be that you choose a SoC which already has decent mainline Linux support. The main point being that we are not forced to use an Android kernel because nothing else is available. Android kernels generally go unsupported after the SoC vendor has stopped manufacturing each chip, thus the device would be forced into obsolescence after maybe only a couple of years.

You say you've already chosen Qualcomm (which isn't necessarily a bad thing depending on your target audience) but I've a few comments on your summary of SoCs which you may want to take into consideration.

Intel have indeed exited the mobile chipset business however China-based mobile chip vendor Spreadtrum have partnered with Intel and have been making new x86-based SoCs for smartphones.

Allwinner is quite the opposite of what you describe. They are actually one of the best vendors for non-Android support and use Mali GPUs which are compatible with the Lima free/open drivers.

You didn't mention OMAP, perhaps because TI are no longer developing new chips, but OMAP has great mainline Linux support. The main disadvantage with OMAP is the PowerVR GPU for which there are no free/open drivers.

Qualcomm has traditionally been a bad choice for privacy reasons. Their SoCs are known to have bad hardware design where the modem controls GPS, audio (including mic), RAM, NAND. If you choose a Qualcomm SoC without a built-in modem, it might be okay. Mainline Linux support for certain Qualcomm SoCs has improved in recent years and Freedreno (along with Lima) is one of the more advanced projects for free/open GPU drivers.

Have a look at my thread on mainline Linux devices which provides some info on which SoCs are currently best supported by mainline Linux. There are currently two 64-bit Qualcomm phones with some support: the LG Nexus 5X (MSM8992) and the Huawei Nexus 6P (MSM8994). Other 64-bit Qualcomm chips with mainline support can be found here.
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Last edited by wicket; 2017-07-22 at 15:46.
 

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#18
Whatever the OS is, I think people here on TMO need to be absolutely certain that it will be possible to install something else and to make it (1) work and (2) useable for an everyday carry device. Although an Android flavor would certainly be best to get media coverage during the campaign and therefore more backers coming from many communities or no community at all (as opposed as all people here on niche-TMO), it would be a big disappointment if it turns out that the device that was first discussed here cannot comply with what people here would want. I myself would not want to use it if it came only with Android as a really working solution (I'd buy a Moto with your keyboard otherwise).

Sailfish is fine to me, it already has proven being capable of proper keyboard support with the daemon that came with the TOHKBD, although it would of course need some work to be adapted here. The OS itself is also very good for daily use and has active development with a company working on it, regardless of how much some people may complain about that company (and those people are still on TMO so they're not such haters either), it managed to make one of the only working alternatives to iOS and Android and it is a serious one, not something that disappeared after a few months (although there have been hard times). It is not perfect in every way, but none of the other OSes are and Sailfish is not a bad balance between privacy, openness and closed blob, although it does have some closed blob.

Sailfish can also come with Dalvik layer and I really hope you can set a deal with Jolla for an official Sailfish experience. Community ports are great, but there are far less users of community ports than official Sailfish. There are likely two reasons for that: (1) community ports require some hacking, (2) community ports can't run Android applications. I believe (2) is far more significant in the reduction of the number of potential users than is (1). Doesn't matter how schizophrenic it can be to want to run Android applications in an OS that is all but Android, we don't really get to chose if we want to use everyday life tools. Banking systems require Android applications and they do not all provide website alternatives, connected cameras require Android applications, town-related applications (parking, bus, etc.) all require Android, and I happen to live in a town where I am not allowed to park my car anywhere if I cannot use the application or buy a yearly subscription, believe it or not. We are already screwed. But running those applications on demand within an OS that better respects our privacy would still be better than running Android permanently and have to suffer the poor ergonomy (buttons on the top right and top left of the screen, really? Option enabled by default to send excerpts of what we type with the virtual keyboard to Google, really?).

I think official Sailfish would be the best for the trade-offs between everyday use, privacy, ergonomy, security (actively maintained). I don't really care if the phone ships with that OS out of the box (although it would send a strong message about what this device is for I guess) as long as I know for sure I can use it if I install it myself. The thing is, I'm a bit concerned there would be any guarantee to that if the phone was shipped with another android-based OS that was deemed acceptable, despite the Android ergonomy and paradigms. I would not mind paying extra for official Sailfish to help set the deal.

I must admit I would love being able to run a real Linux distribution on the phone too and I would have many uses for it, but this probably should not be the default OS provided with a smartphone. Also, although it does not satisfy the above rant about the need for Android compatibility layer, what about other OSes mentioned in this thread, like Plasma Mobile that seems to be actively worked on? Aside from the nice UI which is already an advantage, here is what they say about applications: "Plasma apps, Ubuntu Touch (.click) apps, Gnome apps (e.g.GnomeChess), X11 (e.g.xmame) and possibly other Qt-based apps like Sailfish OS or Nemo. Packages can be installed by “apt-get install packagename".

Good luck Chen and thank you for your continued efforts.

Originally Posted by t-b View Post
Don't forget that the Android crowd is a lot less tolerant about hardware or software issues. You need to launch with an almost perfect product and can't ask for a premium price if it is not.
People using debian are used to solve their own problems, looking for workarounds and will actively assist improving the OS.
This may also be something important to keep in mind. The bad reviews that could come from these people could ruin a campaign and reputation of a device, although the device might be up to the standard of a community more resilient to fiddling.

Last edited by Kabouik; 2017-07-22 at 15:41.
 

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#19
I feel sailfish is close enough to a desktop experience that it covers the need for mobile phone users and desktop users.

Meanwhile, I think a voting system would help to see where the community is at. We may already agree on most aspects ...
 

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#20
In my opinion, the voting system (if it will be enabled) should be forum independent so that people from other communities might participate.

For example from XDA-Developers - I suppose also there are people interested in physical keyboard devices (according to Droid 4 and Photon Q device sections activity).

But it depends on the final target group for the device.
 

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