Nanonote End of life

Werner Almesberger werner at
Tue Feb 11 20:52:04 EST 2014

Ron K. Jeffries wrote:
> The world has changed a lot since the Nanonote was launched.

Indeed. Picking four random trends:

- the world has a lot more cheap yet featureful devices. This
  raises the bar for a potential future Nanonote.

- keyboards have been replaced by touch screens and there is a
  growing number of people who hate that. This means that the
  Ben's "killer feature" (the keyboard) is more valuable than
  ever before.

  Note that it should be relatively easy to make a "skablet"
  (skinny tablet) spin-off from a future Nanonote design.

- a new market segment has been born with DIY-friendly boards
  for the masses, like the Arduino, RPi, et al.

- NSA spokesman Snowden and the Android update tragedy have each
  done their part to increase awareness that openness has more
  than just ideological value.

> And how much will these enthusiastic, dedicated
> (almost fanatical..) people pay?

For something like the Ben, I'd aim at the USD 100-200 price
bracket. Go lower and you'll race yourself to the bottom. Go
much higher and you get too much competition - even if it's
just feature comparisons - with smartphones.

Project prices for 100+ kunits but make sure you can survive
a 10 kunits first run. Anything smaller should be considered
development and be covered by burn money.

> Note that the Neo900 project is very interesting. However it want to be a
> mobile phone,

Neo900 is worth watching for connectivity. That's a challenge
their project shares with a future Nanonote. For a lot of other
things they're much less open than we'd want to be (e.g., they
use the original N900 case and several sub-assemblies, they have
blobs in their system, they use Eagle), but that largely (*) make
sense for them, given their goals and capabilities.

(*) I'd disagree with using Eagle, though.

> -- why people want an open device.

Learn and tinker, avoid planned obsolescence and forced migration,
no spying.

> -- what are the main use cases

Learn and tinker, "brain" of DIY projects (so include convenient
connectivity options, UBB or better), single-purpose portable
device. I.e., I'd aim mainly at the current Arduino and RPi
market. An all-open design could very easily morph into any
specific role that's desired there.

> (strawman):

Looks good to me. For wireless, I'd say Wifi and/or BTLE. I'd
view it mainly as a "terminal" (as far as communication is
concerned), so it doesn't have to have both. Of course, if there's
a possibility, the more the merrier.

> fits in a front pocket,

I'd translate this to "roughly same footprint and volume as
Ben". E.g., a bit longer may be okay but it shouldn't be much
bulkier. So the front pocket should be that of a delicate
Asian woman, not that of The Hulk.

- Werner

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