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Picture of FCDEV3B board

We are proud to introduce our first FreeCalypso hardware product: a GSM mobile station development board. Our board features the same legendary TI Calypso GSM MS chipset that was used in commercial GSM/GPRS modems such as Openmoko's (our design is based on TI's Leonardo schematics and Openmoko's PCB layout), and functions as a standalone (or bare) GSM modem. The name of our board is FCDEV3B, which stands for FreeCalypso development board, triband.

We originally designed this board for our internal needs, to provide a proper platform for further development of our FreeCalypso software and firmware, but the product is a versatile GSM MS development board that can be used for all kinds of GSM learning and experimentation. The complete design files for our board are published, the Calypso chipset itself is also very well-documented, and ours is not the only software/firmware project that runs on the Calypso.

Hardware features

Advantages

Compared to the mainstream commercial GSM modem kits for hobbyists and tinkerers and IoT/M2M applications and whatnot, our FreeCalypso GSM modem is unique in that it is explicitly designed to allow you to tinker with the inner workings of its firmware: you are explicitly encouraged to recompile our firmware from source and to flash your own fw builds into the modem, as well as to study our source, learn how it works, and make your own improvements which we never dreamt of. And if you totally dislike our firmware and wish to write your own completely from scratch instead, all hardware registers and functions are fully documented.

Compared to the ultra-cheap Motorola C1xx phones which are also based on the same Calypso chipset and which may thus seem no worse at first glance, our board is a fairly direct (by way of Openmoko) derivative of TI's Leonardo reference design, whereas Motorola's (really Compal's) hw design is considerably mutilated relative to the Leonardo baseline. Here are the serious shortcomings of Mot C1xx hardware:

Availability

Although we have built the first batch of 8 boards and most of them are good, we are not ready to start producing and selling these boards commercially yet. We still have to complete the following tasks before we can open the floodgates for volume production:

We expect to be able to start selling complete and working FCDEV3B boards and kits in another few months; if you are interested, you can check this page for updates every month or two, or you can subscribe to our mailing list.