Why I joined: the NanoNote

Ron K. Jeffries rjeffries at gmail.com
Sun Apr 19 19:45:15 UTC 2015

An interesting (to me) question goes like this:

Ben Nanonote clearly had appeal, but never took flight. Many reasons, it is
not productive to invest mental energy in the the "why did it not work out"
question, at least for me.

But I wonder if a niche remains (or not) for a similar but modern device.
We live in a world awash with really nice small portable devices, but they
run Android or Apple iOS. Somewhat open mobile environments, but still IMO
"don't know, too soon to really evaluate.." include

Sailfish OS from  Jolla, the ex-Nokia crew
Firefox OS from Mozilla
Ubuntu Mobile (not positive of current name)

Before you go there, yes, I DO understand that none of these are as close
to the ideal of open-ness as this dedicated (if small...) group desires. I
explicitly have NOT evaluated available handset or small tablet hardware,
but remember a couple of options that seem reasonably open.

Nanonote was really small and compact, and had a physical keyboard.
Battery life was considered reasonable (do not know how it performed in the
real world)
It did not have capability to be USB host, a severe limitation.
It did not have Wi-Fi or Ethernet so getting on the Internet was Not Easy.

It was however a charming device. Thanks to Werner, the single
user-accessible port was used in creative ways.

Ben Nanonote had low-res display.
Ben's keyboard was cramped but the feel was not bad.

Nanonote did not support touch.

Yet a few hundred (my estimate fewer than 1500) people bought the Ben
Nanonote. Apparently the number who continue to use Ben Nanonote is really
low. Maybe... N=50, worldwide?

Is there a market niche for:

Totally open hardware design
small form factor (think about the size of iPhone 6 or Samsung S6, or a bit
larger, e.g. Note 4,
with a physical keyboard option. It could be attached magnetically, a la
 "two in One" laptop/tablet hybrids.
In that configuration the keyboard could have a heft extra battery to
provide mass so device is stable when sitting on a table.

Anyway, yes, Werner, I am well aware the cost of development would be high.
Well, maybe not quite so high if an off-the shelf dev board could be the
computing guts...

Look forward to the ideas this group will offer. S

Ron K. Jeffries

On Sun, Apr 19, 2015 at 11:45 AM, Bas Wijnen <wijnen at debian.org> wrote:

> Hi Mark,
> On Sun, Apr 19, 2015 at 10:24:23AM +0100, Mark Tuson wrote:
> > I've been a member of this list for something like five years; I
> > joined following my purchase of a Ben NanoNote, thinking it might he
> > useful to be a member of the community. Help and be helped, and all
> > that.
> I think this is what the list was intended for, but as you noticed it
> moved in a different direction.
> > So, I ask, was the whole NanoNote thing a flash-in-the-pan episode
> > of wishful thinking? Or was it a real project that simply fizzled
> > out?
> I can't answer this question.  AFAIK Wolfgang was the driving force
> behind it, and he silently disappeared (or at least, I didn't see him
> leave, he just never posts on the list anymore).
> I believe he meant to produce the next versions.  I don't know why it
> didn't work out.
> > Last time I asked about it I was told something like 'they
> > tried and you're evil for not appreciating the effort that's gone
> > into this,' but that's not really a helpful answer.
> The first half is true, they did try.  Asking what happened is not evil,
> of course.
> > Is there a point in me still waiting on this mailing list to see if
> > anyone's going to pull their finger out and make the damned thing, or
> > what?
> You never know what'll happen, but as far as I know, you shouldn't be
> waiting for it.  Nobody is working on it, I think, and nobody is even
> thinking of working on it.
> > The actual reason why I'm writing to you like this is that since the
> > project fizzled out to nothing, I've been a member of this list,
> > waiting to see what was going to happen, and in the meantime I've
> > been constantly bombarded with emails from the list, talking about
> > projects I don't care two sugarlumps about.
> You're talking about Anelok, I suppose?  I really like those mails.
> It's a completely different project, and I'm not sure if I would like to
> have one.  But I very much enjoy following the process of developing an
> open hardware device.
> However, if you don't, I would suggest that you unsubscribe from the
> list.  The next version of the NanoNote is not coming anytime soon, it
> probably isn't coming ever.
> Thanks,
> Bas
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