Small SBC for DIY smartphones?

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Small SBC for DIY smartphones?

Unread post by SaverGuru » Tue Jan 28, 2020 2:34 pm

I would love to see the availability of an SBC that could be used to build a smartphone. The Kiteboard project which failed to acquire its ridiculous funding goal of 941,000 USD a few of years ago seemed to have a fairly good idea.

Since Hardkernel already has established distributors and has contacts with parts suppliers, I would think this task would be much easier than it was for Kiteboard.

Here is a detail shot of their prototype board to give you an idea of what I have in mind: Image

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Re: Small SBC for DIY smartphones?

Unread post by odroid » Tue Jan 28, 2020 2:53 pm

I don't think even IKEA will be successful with a very decent DIY smartphone kit.
It seems to be a reason why we can't see any successful reference yet.
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Re: Small SBC for DIY smartphones?

Unread post by mad_ady » Tue Jan 28, 2020 3:46 pm

Somehow I think their Allen Wrenches are too big for this assembly. :)

I guess the biggest challenge for a diy phone will be the packaging. Making things small enough that they're light, but can be assembled without special tools. And even when you succeed and make it small and diy, you compete with a multi billion dollar industry that makes things cheaper, smaller and more powerfull than your device. And no assembly required. And you lose the ability to have available gpio pins.
I think Google's scrapped project Ara would have been perfect, but with standardised modules. If Google failed, I don't think HardKernel is big enough for this revolution.

But I've seen other SBC manufacturers tinker with arm laptops. I'd like to see a HK design where the screen/battery/keyboard assembly is fixed and their future SBCs are modular enough to be user swappable (so you upgrade just the motherboard). I think that would be appealing even if they're not as thin as regular laptops, and could have the sbc part fixed to the back of the screen (kind of like this build: https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source= ... 0TuxnED6I0). Bonus points to be able to use the lapdock as an external hdmi screen/keyboard without the sbc part (like a kvm)

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Re: Small SBC for DIY smartphones?

Unread post by SaverGuru » Tue Jan 28, 2020 3:56 pm

odroid wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 2:53 pm
I don't think even IKEA will be successful with a very decent DIY smartphone kit.
It seems to be a reason why we can't see any successful reference yet.
Thank you for the response, I want to be clear though that all I'm suggesting is for the board to be produced, along the same design idea as your other existing SBCs.

I think the community could and would create their own cases, accessories, etc once they have the board in their possession as other communities have such as the RPie community.

The difference is mostly that in order to fit in any sort of smartphone form factor (which will be thicker than production phones, but this is something you sacrifice with a DIY product that you can build and service yourself) it needs to have slim connectors and generally designed to be lower profile than most other SBCs.

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Re: Small SBC for DIY smartphones?

Unread post by odroid » Tue Jan 28, 2020 4:06 pm

There are many Snapdragon 410 SoM boards in the market.
Why don't you try it?

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Re: Small SBC for DIY smartphones?

Unread post by fvolk » Wed Jan 29, 2020 3:45 am

mad_ady wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 3:46 pm
But I've seen other SBC manufacturers tinker with arm laptops. I'd like to see a HK design where ...
I would drop my current laptop for an ARM laptop immediately, if
* it is Linux upstream kernel supported
* runs a full day (15+ hours) on battery
* is online via 4G/LTE all day
* 12"(?)

I travel a lot in public transport, I want a laptop where I can
* write meeting notes
* read PDFs
* do some browsing,
* and be online all the time via 4G/LTE, logged into a cloudy server somewhere I can do development.
A "weak" laptop would be enough, long battery runtime and LTE connectivity is more important.
The 4G/LTE coverage is good enough for this "remote" working.

The ARM laptops from the major brands want to run Windows and are expensive.
The Pinebook Pro has no 4G/LTE and only max ~10h battery life(?).
The various micro laptops (GPD pocket..) are just too damn small, no LTE, no battery life etc.
Attaching a keyboard to a tablet is annoying and the battery life is too short.

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Re: Small SBC for DIY smartphones?

Unread post by mad_ady » Wed Jan 29, 2020 3:57 am

Not sure how standard 4G modems are in all parts of the world, but a compromise might be a usb 4G dongle inside the laptop case connected to an internal usb port (if there is enough space).
I agree a big screen (and maybe some form of video out) would be nice. But I'm sure various people will have different needs and it's easy to get overboard...

It's true that most of our work is either in a browser, or through a ssh connection, or through a browser instance tunnelled over ssh. So arm boards would suffice.

By the way, how long is your daily commute? 10h+ of commute leaves little work time :)

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Re: Small SBC for DIY smartphones?

Unread post by fvolk » Wed Jan 29, 2020 6:46 am

I just don't want to carry any extra power supply and cable, travel by train is more fun if one has less stuff to carry.
(Overall I travel ~25000km/year by train, but it varies from day to day how much)

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