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[concept] Generic smartphone
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Old 01/12/2013, 01:49 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Here's how it would work:

A company would provide a phone, probably directly as I doubt carriers would support it.

it would essentially be a touchscreen phone, maybe high end, maybe midrange.

The company would provide precompiled ROM images for most operating systems (Ubuntu, WebOS, Android, Windows Phone - for a fee to cover the WP license, of course), along with the open source drivers so that anyone can port a different OS.

The bootloader would be designed to handle the loading of a new OS, ideally over Wifi or 3G (if the data plan supports it) - no computer required. Offical ROMs would be directly accessed, and you can point it to the download or stored files for third-party/custom ROMs.

A bonus would be if it enforces a standard or somehow saves contacts, SMS history, and other OS agnostic data.

Another bonus would be if it's useable for basic tasks (such as phone calls) while it's in the process loading a different OS (so a more featured bootloader).

Thoughts? Would you buy something like this if the hardware is decent?
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Old 01/12/2013, 02:06 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I'd say, too many points where something can break. Jack of all trades, master of none.

However, if only counting the open-source drivers on decent hardware (and excluding everything else), that would be pretty neat
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Old 01/12/2013, 02:11 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I think mainly this theoretical company would just have to focus on building decent hardware, releasing the driver, and preload an unlocked bootloader. Flashing can be done through a computer.

Later on they could take the more popular OSs and establish official repositories to make it easier to load a stable OS.

That's really all that would need to be done.
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Old 01/13/2013, 12:53 PM   #4 (permalink)
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While I love the idea of a completely open phone like this... and the ability to change its "flavor" whenever I want...

That's an awful lot of development work for a company to put into one phone.

So they would need a team of software engineers for each OS they want to make available for their "Chameleon" phone?

Without carrier subsidy, phones are way expensive. At Best Buy a BNIB unlocked Galaxy S3 is $750. Heck, they offer 18 month financing for the thing.

I'm sure you are talking bleeding edge hardware to make the thing attractive to most consumers and the S3 is not quite that fresh anymore. Now add in the R&D cost to make 5 different Operating Systems work flawlessly on one piece of hardware and you have driven the cost way up there. Maybe $1,200 a unit... And each OS better be smooth for the money people would have to pay for the device. Port level, we'll work out the bugs later isn't going to work for what the phone would cost.

So then you need to seriously start looking at reducing hardware spec and that immediately makes it fade in the eyes of consumers...
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Old 01/13/2013, 09:59 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grahamf View Post
Here's how it would work:

A company would provide a phone, probably directly as I doubt carriers would support it.

it would essentially be a touchscreen phone, maybe high end, maybe midrange.

The company would provide precompiled ROM images for most operating systems (Ubuntu, WebOS, Android, Windows Phone - for a fee to cover the WP license, of course), along with the open source drivers so that anyone can port a different OS.

The bootloader would be designed to handle the loading of a new OS, ideally over Wifi or 3G (if the data plan supports it) - no computer required. Offical ROMs would be directly accessed, and you can point it to the download or stored files for third-party/custom ROMs.

A bonus would be if it enforces a standard or somehow saves contacts, SMS history, and other OS agnostic data.

Another bonus would be if it's useable for basic tasks (such as phone calls) while it's in the process loading a different OS (so a more featured bootloader).

Thoughts? Would you buy something like this if the hardware is decent?
I think more likely a chinese firm who is trying to break expand its footprint would experiment with nonandroid OS. They'll make an adroid version and then hopefully try an alternative if only because android is getting pretty crowded with heavy hitters. Since open webOS is free, that would be a good choice. My understanding is that apple and android doesn't control asia and other developing areas as much as north american market so they will be willing to take the risk. Throw it on the wall and sees what sticks. Not sure the hardware will be cutting edge but something webOS marketed is slightly better than nothing. Porting is a good option for techie users but not a market expanding force. I think this is more likely than the super flexible option that you're describing if only for high support costs.
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Old 01/15/2013, 02:44 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RumoredNow View Post
While I love the idea of a completely open phone like this... and the ability to change its "flavor" whenever I want...

That's an awful lot of development work for a company to put into one phone.

So they would need a team of software engineers for each OS they want to make available for their "Chameleon" phone?

Without carrier subsidy, phones are way expensive. .
They could release it with just Android, and release the source for all of the drivers and leave the bootloader unlocked.

then they can monitor the communities and certify specific builds that are stable and feature-complete.

I think as long as the price is acceptable, and purchasing s relatively easy, it could become a small hit, if only as a niche product.

It would actually be pretty useful for some people, as they can build their own OSs fairly easy, and it can be used as a development testbed.

I highly doubt it would ever reach the popularity of the iphone, but it would have it's market.
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Old 01/17/2013, 06:31 PM   #7 (permalink)
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We need a true HTC HD2 successor then
I actually want one.
It can run:
Windows Mobile 6.5 (Stock)
Android (multiple versions, even ICS and JB IIRC)
Windows Phone 7, 8
Windows RT
etc.

I like the idea, or better yet, have a menu on boot-up to select an OS
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