Nanonote End of life

Paul Boddie paul at
Mon Mar 31 16:30:41 EDT 2014

On Monday 31. March 2014 19.43.32 lee jones wrote:
> Quite sad btw to hear about the nanonote's end of life btw. Really
> quite a useful device for something so small! Though I guess now
> really instead of looking to the past it is time to look to the
> future. If there is to be any sort of nanonote successor - or even
> something completely different what could that be? What device is it?
> What does it look like?

It looks like a NanoNote! :-)

Actually, I don't know what it looks like, but people do seem to think that a 
"tiny laptop" like the Ben is quite cool. I never had a Psion or similar PDA, 
so I can't comment on whether those devices got similar reactions from people 
or whether the touchscreen brainwashing has only increased the "wow, tiny 
laptop" factor of the Ben.

> I read through the individual posts in feburary ("Nanonote End of
> life"). I think one thing that struck me and I apologise as I'm about
> to go off topic is something that I went through a little while ago,
> namely with trying to buy a new 'phone.

I probably need a new phone in the next few months, and I'm not looking 
forward to looking for one.

> It's really hard (if not impossible) to find a open/free phone to use!
> Can discount microsoft and apple straight away as they are totally
> closed. Android is partly closed. The hardware in android's case more
> than likely needs binary blobs as well.

Yes, you need to look for Replicant support if you want any chance of using 
Android-based devices without the dark side of Android being involved.

> That leaves a few others -- firefox os, ubuntu touch, Neo900 and
> soforth. Though even these have their problems. Neo900 looks good but
> I can't see it selling much with a price tag in the order of E500-700
> (That's what about $600-800?).

Yes, but that's what these things actually cost. In some countries, even 
subsidised phones have to show the total price of the transaction when "free" 
or "very cheap" phones are being advertised, and here in Norway it's common to 
see the latest shiny i- or g-phone with 7000 NOK (£700, €850, $1100) or so in 
the small print on the price tag.

Ubuntu phones are still vapour as far as I know, and I have suspicions of the 
tendencies of the corporate sponsor there as well.

> That then leaves firefox and ubuntu -- though who knows how open and free
> their hardware is? And if the hardware is, the software might not be --
> Firefox OS if you try to root it you loose

"lose" :-)

> your warranty on your phone (
> ) .

That policy may not be legal to enforce in some countries, although you'd have 
to check first, of course.

> Plus firefox os supports advertising (*yuk*) and "in-app" advertising
> (*double-yuk*). Not sure about ubuntu touch though what if they do the same?
> Where does it end? Spyware in ubuntu touch and Firefox OS because of ad$?

Here, I actually think that the original Apple usage vision for the iPhone was 
a pretty reasonable one - which was probably only stated as such because they 
didn't have the App Store or things like multitasking, SDKs and so on ready at 
the time - where you just have good phone, messaging, maps and Web support, 
and where a stream of adware is just superfluous. (Google should get a lot of 
the credit for the iPhone being a viable product.) I personally don't care 
about shiny new apps touting stupid games and repackaged Web sites, but I know 
that I'm not the target audience, either.

> I apologise about that mini rant. But I guess what I'm trying to say
> is maybe there's a possibility there. Maybe there are people out there
> who what a phone, don't want to be spied on, want it open and don't
> want to bank raid fort knox to own one. If firefox os can run on
> slower older hardware why can't some sort of (for example) nanonote
> successor?  Prof. eben moglen launched the freedombox a few years
> back, maybe now we need a freedomphone? Could that be an idea?

So far, FreedomBox hasn't been that successful, at least as far as I can see. 
That's a sad statement on today's society even after the surveillance 
revelations of the past year: a lot of people value convenience over privacy. 
But then again, if we can bring these things into the same realm of 
convenience, I think more people will realise that you don't have to be some 
kind of expert to communicate with others in a way online that is more or less 
safeguarded for other forms of communication, and that "digital interactions" 
don't have to be compromised by default.

> Just a thought though. Was just thinking aloud --  maybe the successor
> of nanonote dosen't have to be a clamshell type device.

The previous threads have probably covered a lot of ground already, but the 
challenges can probably be casually grouped into software, electronic design, 
mechanical design, manufacturing and money. It seems to me that apart from the 
money, which actually need not be a huge problem given the right audience and 
ambitions, there's usually at least one of these areas where expertise is 
lacking amongst a group of people wanting to get something done.

There are projects doing similar stuff and involving people with experience of 
delivering things previously (and occasionally somewhat painfully): I can 
think of the DragonBox Pyra as one example. One nice thing is that people are 
increasingly looking over the cubicle wall at other people wanting to do stuff 
and are teaming up. Maybe that'll happen for the future NanoNotes, too.

As for prototyping gadgets, just ignoring a lot of those areas required for an 
actual product, I know that I need to be a bit better at the electronics side, 
but there are people on this list who seem to be very good at such things. I 
remain hopeful that everything will at some point "all line up" and that we 
may see some things that get built by a bunch of different people and perhaps 
go on from there to bigger things. Werner's recent activities spring to mind 

> Incentally FYI in the end I *downgraded* my phone to an older
> non-smartphone!

Welcome back! Some of us haven't made the jump to smartphones yet. :-)


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