i want to validate this concept (and will again in the future): do you want a linux pocket computer that is not primarily a smartphone, but could be an alternative/substitute for a smartphone? i.e. not focused on the telephone aspect, but on text/writing/CLI/web.
one idea (librem 5 has this already): pluggable cell modem if you want. alternatively wifi or tether to dumbphone/other smartphone.
i want an open smartphone alternative but i do _not_ want to mess with telephony. i rarely use it and i think it's a technological and regulatory tar pit.
blackbox apps to order groceries, tickets, online banking etc could be run via anbox. we would need to invest some work into getting anbox up to date though i guess.
still undecided on: camera???, screen aspect, keyboard type and detachability
@mntmn yup, SGTM and fully agree with the hessitation around telephony.
I only glanced over osmocom's work and even if you happen to find a free&open baseband you would probably still need to become member of and sign NDAs with GSM/LTE consortiums.. outsourcing uplink via wifi or usb (like lte sticks) seems much more tangible.
@mntmn if I look at what I currently and in the past primarily use my phone for:
chat / IM
navigation (so a GPS unit in it would be nice, but I can imagine that would also add some regulatory crap)
customer club apps (though some could also be done via a browser I think)
a pocket Linux device would probably fulfill most my needs. But mobile data access would still be rather critical, or else I'd still have to carry another device such as another phone or mobile 4G router with me.
Unfortunately I do still play a couple of games which rely on GPS, mobile data, and the Google Play framework, so I guess I'd still be carrying an Android phone with me to play those anyway.
@mntmn The only thing that makes Android/iOS a hard dependency for me is WhatsApp, which I sadly need at least until 2022. In the recent years I can confidently say a vast majority of SMS and calls I received were marketing spam, and recentIy I've blocked landlines in my telephony app. It's endless spam otherwise, like up to 10 calls on shitty days. All SMS is scam except some security theatre TOTP codes.
I would love something in this vein https://store.planetcom.co.uk/products/gemini-pda-1#MainContent but could slide the phone bit over the keyboard and be used with one hand. Something around or maybe slightly above 6", with WiFi and 4G would be great (IIUC 5G is a bit of a battery hog, and I really don't need those speeds). So bit of a Gemini and N900 hybrid. And maybe the little ThinkPad nipple thing.
@mntmn Telephony is like email: an archaic and insecure mess, but still the only ubiquitous communication method in its domain. I don't see any alternative displacing it anytime soon. :(
So for me that's a no.
@mntmn Right now I see the biggest gaps in open/privacy respecting hardware actually being in the tablet and ereader space. So I might suggest something in the form factor of either the ipad mini, or a smaller 6" ereader device.
You could then further extend the utility of the device by having a pogo pin connector on the back/side, allowing for an attached keyboard or other mods. Anyhow, that's my two cents.
@mntmn I may be alone but for me such a device would have:
* e-ink style screen (stylus?)
* chorded keyboard (ASETNIOP maybe? something else?)
* simplified single user focused OS
* on device dev, LISP, forth, asm (but that's just me)
Screen aspect 1:1. I dare you. I've always wanted to see a perfect square screen on a well-designed device.
@mntmn This is pretty much how I used a couple old Nokia N900s. Never even put a SIM card in, mostly wrote my own software for it (niche data entry stuff that was useful in my business). Having both a physical keyboard and a precise enough stylus and the ability to easily side load my own native apps written with a toolkit I already knew from desktop Linux was extremely nice to have.
@mntmn i have/had some of the older #umpc / #pocketcomputer concepts out there. Nokia N810, OpenPandora, Planet Computers Gemini, f(x)tec pro1,... I think - since every one has a smartphone OR a dumpphone and a wifi hotspot is no problem / a camera is on board - a companion device with a nice typing keyboard (Gemini) would be great. but with a rotateable/slideable display to transfer it in a tablet.
also interessting: a "slide in" device for #Librem5 / #PinePhone like the old Asus PadfoneX
@mntmn YES YES! I was using a N900 for years for this purpose (it had a data-only sim in it and I used another phone for calls/sms).
I think the pinephone with the upcoming keyboard will come close, though I will definitely miss the stylus/resistive screen as I could use desktop apps on the N900 despite the small screen, due to the stylus accuracy.
In fact even the N900 with up-to-date software would be okay for me. Wouldn't mind a bigger screen and battery though.
@mntmn This would be HECK YEAH from me! I'm typing this from a PocketCHIP. Have a Pinephone and plan to get the keyboard attachment. While Pinephone includes the cell modem it does have the dip switches to disable it if you want to use it that way. Also keeping my eye on a few other similar devices. So yes I would very much be interested in something like that.
@mntmn I'd personally love a Linux pocket computer that's mainly text - perhaps e-ink? (long battery life), WiFi, optional cell modem for those that need it. Terminal access, #ereader, #gemini & text-based web browser. Messaging - #xmpp, #matrix & I guess sms. With really nice typography & font rendering. My dream device!
@mxv Yes! I didn't go into how I would use such a device but pretty much exactly this. Eink would be great but I think that would be a tough one to accomplish considering how not-open the eink hardware is. Something toward that end of the spectrum would great though like Pixel Qi or Sharp memory lcd.
I've been watching Alex Soto's efforts to create such a beast over on
I quite like the idea of an e-ink laptop with correspondingly long battery-life.
@mxv @mntmn And while a bit more hackish, there are a number of old e-ink e-readers such as the Nook Simple Touch that run Linux under the hood, have an e-ink display, built in wifi (no cellular though), offer month-long battery-life, and can be rooted/modded to get you a command prompt. The on-screen-keyboard is a bit limited, but I've also seen hacks to hook up a USB keyboard to one. I haven't yet dropped money on one, but it sounded like another promising option.
@ed1conf Interesting! I've installed #KOReader on my #kobo, but only use it for ebooks. I think there's a rudimentary web browser available, but that's about it - as far as I'm aware you can't completely re-flash it with a libre OS. It's certainly the best option I've found & works pretty well - but I'm definitely keen to move to a more flexible platform with more open hardware.
@mxv @mntmn my master thesis supervisor has something similar: it an e-ink reader, rooted. he uses vim, lynx (or something similar), and all little unix terminal utilities we kind of forget about! It's super useful to work under the sunlight, and be portable. And since he doesn't have a lot of storage space, he uses a pseudo server (which is just a regular PC) he can power up and down through PoE, as a ftp and ssh server.
@ShadyFennec Interesting - I haven't tried to seriously modify the software running on my Kobo - just installed KOReader - but this inspires me to look into doing something a bit more extravagant to it. Thanks for the pointer!
@mntmn I've been wanting a dumbphone that performs only the essential roles of a 'phone':
* Calls & SMS
* Allow tethering from other devices
* Runs trustworthy software
* Has an OK camera
And even the last one is negotiable.
There are 'dumbphones' from Nokia et al that fulfil the first two, but never the third. Aftermarket firmware devs seem disinterested in targeting 'dumbphones' even though all the modern 'dumbphones' seem to run stripped-down Androids or somesuch.
@seachaint i see! interesting too. but probably nothing i would touch... because of all the weird phone tech stuff.
@mntmn got it ... for me, I really don't want to have to carry 2 devices that have almost the same screen size. What I do at the moment is that I have an iPad mini and an iPhone 7 which I use to share the connection if I need to. So for me it would be a very good option if it has the size of the iPad mini give or take. Specially if it comes with a small keyboard, I'm currently using an external bluetooth one. Not sure if that's the kind of feedback you're looking for but I hope it helps
@mntmn would the CPU be relatively decent? I have this notion of building a creative workflow for myself that comfortably works on a low-resolution screen.
Right now, I use a GPD pocket 2 (7-inch screen) folded 180 degrees on a tablet stand that I use with a planck keyboard. The specs on that thing are good enough to do all my computer music work. It's really empowering to be able to fold it up and take it wherever.
@mntmn There are a bunch of options for a pocket Linux PC with WiFi.
The thing most of them seem to be missing to do better than a Google-free Android phone is decentralized notification support. Maybe a built-in low power coprocessor attached to the cellular modem that can keep a TCP connection alive and then wake up the main CPU on network traffic? Optimally I'd like to be able to have the device in suspend-to-disk and still have it ring on an incoming SIP call or XMPP message.
@mntmn for me personally, it doesn't seem likely that I'll be able/willing to go without a small device with GSM/LTE connectivity anytime soon. A linux pocket computer that I'd like to have would be closer to a netbook; as compact as it gets while still fitting a reasonable keyboard.
Thought about such a device recently, with a form factor determined by the keyboard and thus a wide screen. Kinda like Sony Vaio C1 or P series. Except that typing without palm rest probably isn't that great unless the device is super thin… resulted in this scribble of a flip-out palm rest
@mntmn a handheld device with a set of IO ports that conform to some open standard I think could be a reasonable substitute for a conventional mobile phone.
@mntmn I'd love to have a "not too heavy" #Linux handheld device, without the "smart" phone crap and arbitrary restrictions, longer battery life, with physical keyboard, and USB-OTG to control my cameras (bigger IPS screen, programmable shots via #gphoto using the same hardware and software for all my cameras, without buying some 80€ remote per canera and/or use shitty full of spywares proprietary applications… and emptying/backing up my SD cards on the go without overpriced specific hardware…)
I actually would love to have a pocket computer with linux or bsd on it, for lightweight stuff like writing, cli, web, i dont care about texting though, but also, just lightweight stuff in general. I would want it to be 6 inches, and have a miniature keyboard and 3 usb 3.0 or higher, The imx8m or better and it has to be compatible with running its operating system off of a usb flash drive (internally)
and a usb wifi adapter this one doesn't have to be internally.
Anyways, my two cents.
@mntmn Replying to this as I ran out of space for my last write, I would also not care about it having speakers as long as it has headphone jack and would not want the following: microphone, webcam, micro usb, hdmi and hdmi micro.
That all being said, also I would want the same battery power as the mnt reform, aka, I would want whatever type of battery you used for the mnt reform on this, which means it could protrude a bit or more. :)
That all being said, I would aim for day battery life.
Though all of this depends on what the price would be. If it is 600$ and 6 inches, I would probably want it, but I would want it to be stable before I bought it, etc...
@mntmn Sounds like nice idea but there might be rough edges.
For example, I personally cannot use shared bikes, for example. They require active Internet connection to unlock the bike (broadband - WiFi is usually not available near bike stands). So even my Android device without broadband is prety useless.
Also, canthne anbox load apps from the Google Play? Many apps (for groceries, shared bikes and so on) are not available for other sources.
That's called a #PDA (portable digital assistant) and they were a thing about twenty years ago. There were even a couple of Linux ones (I forget the name of the manufacturer right know, Japanese it was).
Nowadays a number of handheld terminals use #Android and should be able to run stock #Linux without too much trouble. If I were needing one I'd ask the manufacturers if they mind doing the initial flashing themselves.
@mntmn That sounds amazing, though I think I get price sensitive by the time we're talking about my third device (laptop, phone, palmtop).
If it could proxy through my phone for network connection and have that be super low friction, this would just drop nicely into my life.
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