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Xmas Update

Dec 27, 2014, Oksana A. Tkachenko

A lot has happened since our last newsletter. Let's sum up the current status of the Neo900 project, donations and technical progress.

This update has been put together by our great supporter, Oksana A. Tkachenko. Thanks!

Approximating from the number of donors, we're right now at around 400 devices secured to build.

We have already started to source "risky" parts for board itself, like 1GB RAM and RGB LEDs for keyboard backlight. Risky components are those that are hard to find and/or no longer manufactured and we need to secure them early, in order to avoid nasty surprises later. The RGB LEDs are a tad on the "too expensive" side before we collect funds for sourcing risk parts, since we need 6 side-facing RGB LEDs per board (for keyboard backlight).

So far, we have received around 1000 camera buttons and 70 1GB RAM chips, to evaluate their usability in proto_V2.

We will have 2 BeagleBoards-xM reworked to employ the 1GB RAM PoP to test the chips. We are working for some BB-xM with 1GB RAM to happen before new year, so that we could test our proto_V2 with final memory footprint on beagleboard. Schematics for proto_V2 (to connect to those 1GB beagleboards) have all the subsystems defined already; they will be finalized after the holidays.

We will also test the finger-or-stylus detection in the prototype, connecting surface of resistive touch screen as capacitive electrode to CRTOUCHB10 chip. Accelerometer/magnetometer (BMC150) and gyroscope (BMG160) are changed to a single BMX055 chip. We are also looking into feasibility of adding a humidity sensor.

The newest revision for proto_V2 boards has been finished by Nikolaus and is now being reviewed by Joerg and Werner. We do our best to make proto_V2 the best prototype ever built. We aim to get all bugs brushed out before we run a real board spin, to reduce the number of board spins needed, since they are expensive and, for us, take a lot of time. Next step after proto_V2 evaluation will be building of a proto_V3 which might count as a final device already.

Our laboratory has also got augmented by another tool for R&D, a digital oscilloscope: DS1054Z by Rigol.

Werner is regularly updating the interactive block diagram of Neo900 and has completed 3D scans of the N900 case.

Sebastian has given the talk titled "Crafting The Private Phone" at OHSW2014 in the end of November. As usual, video and slides from this talk are available on our resources subpage.

Last but not least: Happy New Year from the Neo900 team!

The Neo900 shop - Grand opening for pre-orders »

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The Neo900 project aims to provide a successor of N900 Nokia Internet Tablet™ device, with faster CPU, more RAM and LTE modem, basing efforts on an already existing, mature and stable free platform - the OpenPhoenux GTA04, following the spirit of freedom known from Openmoko devices.