[Arm-netbook] Future case idea: subnotebook/PDA with QWERTY keyboard

Joseph Honold mozzwald at gmail.com
Fri Sep 2 15:33:57 BST 2016

A handheld QWERTY device has been my goal for EOMA68 since I found out about it.

I've been looking at various LCD options and all of the RGB ones that are 3.5"-4" have low resolution (320x240, 480x320, and expensive 640x480). This lead me to look at MIPI DSI displays which are cheaper with higher resolution but more complicated requiring a conversion IC. I see mention of the SSD2828 RGB to MIPI chip in the mailing list which seems low cost and it is already used in a couple A20 devices. Has anyone had experience with this chip? It seems u-boot enables it but I'm not sure how linux interacts with it.


The TI TCA8418 could be used for a keypad matrix (I2C). There is a linux driver already available. This raspberry pi handheld used it and has example dts config https://hackaday.io/project/5081-malti

Mouse could be implemented as a "keymouse" (like we use on Zipit, uinput driver). Basically, hold a modifier key and use DPad to move cursor and right/left click buttons.

Is AR9271 the only fsf supported Wifi chipset? This module might be an easy to implement option for built-in wifi http://www.skylab.com.cn/en/productview-61.html

Ultimately, I want to have cellular phone capability (voice/data/sms) which means non-free modem. The neo900 project is designing their phone to turn off power to the modem by the user and effectively removing privacy concerns. Not everyone will want a cellphone EOMA housing. This portion could be optionally populated on the board or use some off the shelf plug in module. Pyra and neo900 are using PLS8 modules which supports 4G. Simcomm has SIM5320 3G module used by Adafruit Fona https://learn.adafruit.com/adafruit-fona-3g-cellular-gps-breakout/overview

What is everyones favorite form factor? The options I see viable for form factor are clamshell (Zipit Z2, Nanonote, Pyra/Pandora), candybar (Nokia E71, Blackberry Classic, Malti), Slider (Moto Photon Q, Samsung Galaxy Stratosphere). Slider is probably too complicated. Pyra is nice but wouldn't be a good as a traditional cellphone unless you put ear speaker and mic on backside of LCD/lid. Zipit/Nanonote size would work as a phone but screen size is limited.

Maybe adding full voice phone support is asking too much, but I like the idea :)

On 08/26/2016 12:37 PM, Sam Pablo Kuper wrote:
> It would be great to have a housing for the EOMA68 that is of a similar
> form factor to one of these devices:
> - DragonBox Pyra [1]
> - Openbox Pandora [2]
> - HTC Universal [3]
> or even:
> - HTC Dream [4]
> That is, an enclosure that can fit in a pocket, and has:
> - Hardware QWERTY keyboard
> - Touchscreen (resistive, ideally) that opens out from the keyboard
> - TRRS audio I/O
> Something like a miniature tablet PC, essentially.
> Bonus points if it is also "ruggedized": waterproof, shockproof, etc.
> Likewise if it incorporates a trackpoint or similar, for using the mouse
> cursor without needing to touch the screen.[5]
> Goes without saying that it should be licensed as a Free Cultural
> Work[6], i.e. under GPLv3 or suchlike.
> Why would it be great? Well, traditionally, people using a PDA had to
> synchronise their information between their desktop or laptop and the
> PDA, e.g. via a cable or IrDA[7] or Bluetooth. Now lots of people do
> this via "the cloud", but that just means going via someone else's
> computers, so unless that system is implemented on a zero-knowledge
> basis using client-side encryption basis, then whoever else's computers
> are being used also gets to see the information. That might be really
> private stuff, like contacts and appointments and correspondence. With
> EOMA68, that problem would be solved: while out and about where a laptop
> would be too bulky but a PDA wouldn't, just have the EOMA68 card in the
> PDA housing. When at a desk, put it in the desktop or laptop housing. No
> need to sync!
> That means:
> - No loss of privacy
> - Less need for energy-intensive data centres
> - No need to have two computers when one would do (less e-waste)
> - No worries about race conditions due to data getting updated on
> desktop and PDA before syncing.
> - No headaches, essentially!
> Is anyone working on such an enclosure and PCB?
> spk
> [1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dragonbox_Pyra
> [2]
> https://pyra-handheld.com/boards/threads/the-day-the-pandora-goes-even-more-open.74432/
> [3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HTC_Universal
> [4] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HTC_Dream
> [5] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d4t9Ys8wI6k#t=4m45s
> [6] http://freedomdefined.org/
> [7] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infrared_Data_Association
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