[Arm-netbook] Report from meeting with Seatron and another factory ...

Adam Gill madallig at gmail.com
Sun Apr 11 13:42:47 BST 2010


Here is a report meeting with Seatron and another factory ... Any 
picture in this email  I have uploaded to my own sever as 
arm-netbook at lists.phcomp.co.uk takes a while to get approval and stay up 
there for a limited period only.

1. First factory visited

a) This is another factory which looks like they are making a very 
simialr model - but after taking their unit apart, is a very different 
mother board and so-dimm. 
b) Here are the pictures:
c) This so-dimm uses SIRF: 667MHz which also supports GPS. What  is the 
Linux support for this CPU?
d) They do not recommend the S5PC100/S5PC110 Cortex A8 833 mhz-1ghz as 
they say these CPU's are not mature enough for netbooks yet.
e) They recommend Marvell 1.2 GHz as an alternative processor if a new 
so-dim was made .... which I believe they are referring to this one:
... and they say there is good Linux support??
f) A new so-dim could be made by this factory together with a new 
motherboard to fit a 10.2" case if there was a MOQ of 5,000
g) Some of the requests on this forum: 
are possible some of the non standard items are not possible.
h) Did not see an OS working on this sample as they had only one 
engineering sample.

The current CT-PC89e so-dimm would not be compatible with this netbook 
as there are too many differences.

2. Seatron
So I actually  met up with the designers and manufacturers of the 
CT-PC89e. Chitech it seems is little more than a trading company.
The CT-PC89e started off as a project with China Mobile also designed by 
Seatron, but China Mobile for some reason pulled out after a few months. 
It seems now they do have some order for local China market. Shenzhen is 
where the manufacturing and hardware design is made and Nanjing is where 
the Linux kernal and mid-fun OS is developed. The samples we had were 
really the very first sent out .... so they are far from perfect.

The meeting was quite a long dialogue, and Chitech had only relayed some 
of our emails and requests previously sent ..... and I have sent all 
links that I know of, to update Seatron of the current status (including 
our crack at the kernal) of the CT-PC89e or "ST-PC89e"  as it should now 
be called, as Chitech is out of the picture ...

Here's a list of what was discussed, additional points and more info 
about the CT-PC89e ...

1. Linux Kernal Source code
I showed Seatron my netbook with Debian Lenny and they looked impressed. 
I said this was the result of reverse engineering the Linux kernal 
source code and measuring the pin outs on the so-dimm etc...... and  I 
said it would be much easier if we had gotten the source code from them 
in the beginning. They are very uncomfortable about giving it to us .... 
silence ..........

I said this was a very lengthy process of reverse engineering and then 
talked about all the advantages of getting the source code from them 
.... the details of which are in the many numerous emails sent out 
before and everyone has.

As much as this goes against open source, in China it's different. 
Seatron does not want another factory to take the souce code and use it 
in their own device. I said to them that this would probably not happen, 
and anyway their hardware would need to work exactly the same as their 
hardware. Seatron is now going to talk with the Nanjing software 
developers .... and we still have a chance to get it ... we have to be 
patient and if we don't, we still have our reversed engineered version 
which we can present to Seatron. I am talking with Seatron about a 
where we can help Seatron on the Linux kernal souce code and OS - so we 
have an option of mid-fun/ Debian/Ubuntu/Android/whatever ... which we 
can present to Seatron and they can offer their future buyers with.

I quizzed Seatron with the sennario - what if we come to Seaton with our 
reversed-engineerd so-dimm with 1GHz processor etc etc  which works 
perfectly with the CT-PC89e - they said that would be great - then i 
said what is the difference then of giving us the kernal source code and 
us giving it to them - if the result is the same .... I said we will 
save them time and money etc etc .... and we would be offering them a 
very much improved linux kernal source code ..... etc etc ......... 
anyway I have to wait and see the result.

2. so-dimm

a) I informed Seatron we are making an improved so-dimm with the specs 
already discussed. Also Seatron says the S5PC100/S5PC110  Cortex A8 833 
mhz-1ghz not mature enough for netbooks yet. Also only USB 1.1 is 
supported - nothing higher.
They recommend S5pv210 1 GHz.  and we also could use
b) I have asked for any spare so-dimm's either populated or blank PCBA's 
or even damaged ones .... they did not have any floating around
the office when I was there. I will push for these next week - I think 
we have a chance to get a few.

3. 3G card slot is available
a) I have 2 samples of the 3G card slot, one of which I'll send to Luke 
and the other I'll use for my machine. If anyone else need one please 
let me know as Seatron will sell these - sample prices!

4. VGA chip
I know some are missing on some sample machines - this will be a 
standard item on a bulk order

5. RJ45
a) This is being improved for mass production - they know about the issues.
b) Lights on the dongle were never meant to work

6.  Battery
Seatron informs the battery is below spec - should be longer battery 
life than 3 hours. They were only sample batteries.

7.  Pictures: www.asiasourcing.net/ctpc89e/seatron
Please see pictures for what the additional missing chips and un-used 
connectors are for:
a) 3G connector
b) Camera and OR second WI-FI - there is a second WI-FI below LCD - the 
connection is a USB
The second wi-fi below screen is meant to be realtec model ...
Does anyone have a second wi-fi on their machine?
c) GPS chip - yes the the design already accomodates a GPS module - if 
d) +0000 port on PCB - this they say is for monitoring and some data 
input ...
e) Space for a third wi-fi - but this chipset is more expensive than the 
PCIe version
8. Web cam
Seatron inform the 667MHz processor is too slow to use with a web cam 
..... and have not got it to work properly anyway
I have asked for samples of web cam they intend to use.

9. 10.2" version
This is possible, but Seatron is not keen on the idea unless there is a 
real substantail order for this size.
They would really like to sell their existing model since they have 
spent so much time on it!

With the upgrade of the so-dim with 1GHz and other features ... and now 
option of GPS - isn't this enough for an improved ST-PC89e?
The 10" version is actually a brand new project.

I think we have two separate projects here - an 8.9" more or less the 
same as CT-PC89e and a flashy version with all the bells and whistles 
with 10" - 12" screen, sata, hdmi and anyhing else that is possible  .....

I have taken the last 2 days of my time and money to pursue this further 
and I really hope I'm going to get some real orders for the ST-PC89E!! 
......... or any variation of it :-)

If anyone has any additional input to give to Seatron ...please let me 
know and I will inform them ...
The good news I have established a good raport with Seatron and we are 
going to get results (quickly - I hope) with them with a good dialogue ...

So for the time being I think we should avoid GPL violation 
confrontation ...


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