Who is the target customer for the Pocket P.C.?

Let me preface this buy saying I’ve already pre-ordered one, I’m not trying to be convinced to buy one and I’m not going to cancel my pre-order. I have disposable money to buy random things on the internet. Maybe I’m the target customer base?

The original Pocket CHIP had a screen with a poor resolution, a crappy keyboard, a bizarre online method of loading system software that didn’t support all the features of the hardware, and it was hard to get your hands on. Saving graces were it ran Linux on the go and had an exposed GPIO.

The Pocket P.C. has polished the Pocket CHIP rough edges by providing a better user experience with a nice(er) screen, improved keyboard, and sd card slot and seemingly removed the only thing that sort of made it stand out.

The website description says for ‘hackers on the go’ and ‘developing LoRa apps on the go’. Are you really expecting people to actually develop apps on a 5 inch screen and silicone button keyboard? Or a computer enthusiast to get excited about a couple of USB-c ports? One look at the Pocket CHIP sparked ideas of hackery. That GPIO header omg. You didn’t really need an explanation - you imagined things you could do with it. I’m not getting that feeling the second time around.

Don’t get me wrong I’m not trying to shit all over the work here. I just truly don’t know who the target for this thing is or what they’re going to do with it. And the fact that the question is still a placeholder in the pinned “Welcome” post is pretty telling.

Maybe I’m just getting old and uninspired but I can think of a single use case that this product can uniquely fulfill: I need to issue a handful of commands over ssh or serial, in the dark, and I don’t have a laptop or PC handy, and my cell phone or tablet onscreen keyboard isn’t cutting it, oh and all I have is my USB-c-to-serial cable (the one without the FTDI chip built in).

Just seems like a lot of work is going into something with a vague direction. I wouldn’t mind some clarification.

Loving the openness and big clear photos in the update blog, btw.

2 Likes

My usecase is writing code while commuting.
No, phone/pad are not an option - keyboard eating large part of screen and not tactile.
The selling point for me is that it is linux so I can customize environment however I want.

1 Like

Offer me a small mobile Linux device I’m hooked! Anything to help the greater good.

1 Like

@zvalentine22

Thanks for your question.

The main driver behind creating Pocket P.C. is that we wanted a portable device that we had full control over the software that runs on the device. Unless you are running UBTouch or PostmarketOS, you either are running Android or iOS.

@m11k33m mentions another driver for creating a device with a keyboard. On a regular tablet or phone, the keyboard takes up precious screen real estate. When using an Android App such as termmux it is very difficult to use the terminal when you hold the phone horizontally to the point where it’s almost unusable.

Most of the GPIO on the SoC is used internally and very few are left over, around 4 or 5 across different power domains. All but 1 GPIO is used on the Keyboard/System controller. Another reason we decided not to expose GPIO because the device is substantially more expensive then what PocketC.H.I.P. cost even after the price increase to $69 and we were worried that the user would be disappointed if they short circuit their unit and break their Pocket P.C. If a user wants to use GPIO it is quite easy to connect a microcontroller to the USB port and connect its GPIO to their application.

Pocket P.C. allows you to do software hacking. We built in a separate microcontroller that can load firmware and debug over GDB the Keyboard/System microcontroller and the microcontroller in the LoRa module. This makes it a fully contained LoRa development kit where you can even compile the software on the unit for the STM microcontroller in the LoRa module.

Edit: Thanks for mentioning the pinned Welcome topic. We closed and unpinned the topic for now.

As the Datacenter-Guy of a Swiss Investment Bank, I cannot wait to have it.
Our Company Notebooks are ugly Windows Boxes, locked down to inusability. I need a little tool to quick check VLANs, do Ping checks, Telnet, maybe Serial Console by USB-Adapter.
This little device will do the job very well!

1 Like