[Arm-netbook] Pass through card. Was: TODO list EOMA68 campaign

Xavi Drudis Ferran xdrudis at tinet.cat
Tue Jul 19 07:18:11 BST 2016

El Tue, Jul 19, 2016 at 05:34:06AM +0100, Luke Kenneth Casson Leighton deia:

> * i'm thinking of putting the "pass through" card on the campaign,
>   approximate pledge amount $40 (because in low-volume expected
>   it'll be about a $20 BOM), that would turn the laptop housing into
>   a battery-operated screen, keyboard and trackpad for any smartphone,
>   USB-HDMI-dongle-PC, laptop or desktop PC.  thoughts appreciated
>   on that one.

Go for it !

I'm not aware of the cost you would have to bring it in before the
campaign deadline (is it finished, tested, ready?), but if you can do
it, don't doubt.

I think SOCs are too difficult to choose. All of them have one problem
or other.  You can't immediately have a dozen CPU cards with different
SOCs to pick for.  But if you can have a CPU card without CPU, then
you dodge the problem nicely.

SOCs have boot problems, power problems, performance problems, legal
problems in their SDKs, support problems, PR problems, conflict
mineral problems, labour rights problems...  You can't pick the good
one, just one that is the least bad to you. But a supporter may give
slightly different weights to the problems and reach a completely
different conclusion.  Yet the EOMA68 concept is attactive. Forcing
backers to either buy useless peripherals or buy a SOC they have
already decided against is holding back supporters.

If a backer can buy a pass through card so that meanwhile they can use
their existing mobile phones or tablets or Pyras or SBCs or whatever
(an SBC in a box is sometimes not so big to carry compared to a 15"
laptop, and a 15" lightweight laptop should be much more comfortable
to work on than a phone or tablet) and they can wait for their
prefered SOC to get into a future CPU card, they'll have an easier
time backing you. If cables are long enough with the laptop and
passthrough card, they can use their desktop PC from the sofa or bed,

At the same time, having the computer attached by a couple of cables
to the laptop is still uncomfortable enough to justify buying a real
CPU card.  So the pass through card does not lead to less CPU cards
sold. It justs justifies buying more laptops.

I think it would be better if the laptop or better, the "pass through"
card would have a wireless bridge of some kind but that's too
difficult or unfeasible for the benefit... possibly easier to use 
two CPU cards with wifi dongles.

But then I'm bad at marketing, so I might be wrong...

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