Note: This post is mirrored from our Kickstarter page, and is a bit out of date.
We got the next board rev back. Board fab took quite a while longer than it was supposed to, but so far it's looking like we may not need another significant revision before we make the real ones, so that's nice and it knocks a big chunk out of the schedule. Sorry for the relative silence, but from the time we got the boards back until now we've been doing everything we could to verify they worked well and prep for certification since that's currently what's blocking the final ship date. Currently working on:
- debugging the soft reset circuit
- amp chip isn't accepting the config on the new board. probably because the timing of the signal
- RF tuning (just finished today)
As soon as the remainder of the debugging is done we can start the certification process for FCC/IC/CE, assuming we don't find any show-stoppers on this board rev. Certification takes about a month, so we've lost any chance of shipping units in August unless we ship a few to places that don't require certification. But as soon as certification is done we can fab the rest of the production boards. Most of the mechanical parts are starting to be made over the next week or so.
Board upgrades on this rev:
- SMD vibration motor and mic
- better ear speaker
- added a footprint for a loudspeaker
- added a footprint for a rear mic
- brighter backlight, and now dimmable
- SD card easier to remove
Mechanical Design Tweaks: For the most part the mechanical design is done now and we've been concentrating on making it durable, easy to manufacture, and user friendly. Some changes:
- Spent some quality time mashing keys and scratching my head. Finally ended up modifying the design to remove most of the material on the back side. This lets the buttons compress freely and gives a much better button feel. I am satisfied with it now.
- Finished design of the little grills that go over the mic and ear speaker. These are kind of cool. The tiny holes are actually etched, the stainless steel sheet stock is stamped into a dome shape, then the (black) color is added by vapor deposition.
- Tightened up some areas for better alignment and fiddled around specifying tolerances for various things so we don't have surprises later where things don't fit right.
- Added a couple more locations for keypad backlighting to even it out. There were a couple dark spots.
We're also in the middle of a testing and selection process for the adhesive to bond the screen to the frame. We want to get this right since there's not a lot of area for the bond and it will be exposed to UV over the life of the phone.
To that end, we bought an oven so we can do some accelerated life testing on the adhesives, as well as general accelerated life testing on the overall phone. We've also been carrying the phones around and generally playing with them for a while now.
We need to pick a color for the main PCB. I think either green or black would be good. Green is going to be obviously recognizable as a PCB and should provide a nice hacker aesthetic as well as an accent to the otherwise monochromatic color scheme of the front. Black is... black. A hacker-friendly color that matches the rest of the phone. Who has strong opinions on color?
Backer surveys will go out soon. I think we will try to send the survey to a limited number of people first so we have time to realize what questions we forgot to ask before we blast everyone with it.
And finally, some people were asking about the results of the Noisebridge meetup: It went well. I think around 8 different people showed up over the course of the evening. Nobody obviously disliked the phone, so that's cool :). Had a few nice chats about how the phone works and various applications people might use it for. Sorry, i totally spaced on taking any pictures.