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Pro1 and Pro1 X design change to use Snapdragon 662, no new devices before August 2021


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From Update 12 on IndieGogo:

Quote

Dear Pro1-X backers, 

Here’s an important update about the Pro1-X and the chipset. 

At the end of last month we shipped out the first batch of Pro1-X’s to the super early bird backers. They’ve all received their devices and have given us some very useful feedback, which we are taking on board. 

On the manufacturing side we have an update regarding the chipset for the Pro1-X. The Qualcomm Snapdragon (SD) 835 is now end of life and we were informed last month that it can no longer be purchased from our suppliers, despite having paid for the components back in December when our campaign officially ended. Over the past few weeks, we have had long discussions with our manufacturer and various suppliers to look at the alternative chipsets options and have made the decision to go with the more recent Qualcomm Snapdragon 662 (2020 model).

Why the 662?

We explored a variety of chipsets from the 2019 and 2020 range and took into consideration; the performance of the SoC, cost of redesign work and the time to integrate into the existing Pro1-X design, as well as longevity in terms of updates because we received numerous comments about the concern for ongoing Android updates with the SD835 chipset. 

We chose to use the SD662 chipset in the Pro1-X because it is the best performing (on par with SD835 in many areas) and the most recent Qualcomm chipset available to us in terms of cost and the time required to redesign & integrate it into the Pro1-X. 

Some of you might ask why we didn’t choose the Qualcomm Snapdragon 765 or 865 series? The first reason is to save time. Using a 5G chipset would require a complete overhaul of the design which is effectively like designing a completely new phone, putting us back a further 6-9 months. 5G chipsets are integrated with mmWave & sub-6GHz frequency bands which are not compatible with the Pro1/Pro1-X’s antenna. In order to use the 5G chipsets, we would therefore need to completely redesign the whole antenna system, including the structure & placement of all components, as well as further antenna tuning and testing. By choosing the SD662, we only need to redesign the chipset/schematics and so the layout of components and connectors will remain exactly the same. 

The second reason is cost and availability. Most top end chipsets (typically for the first 12 months of their release), are only made available only to much larger smartphone brands who are able to commit to buying millions of units, and it comes with considerable licencing costs, making it out of reach to companies like ours. 

The SD662 is a more up-to-date chipset from 2020 that iii will be supported for years to come.

List of benefits of 662 in the Pro1-X?

  • With the Qualcomm 662 chipset, your device will receive official security support for longer and will have the latest security updates beyond 2023
  • Pre-installed with Android 11 (for those that choose Android OS)
  • The architecture of the 662 chipset requires less power consumption, which should improve battery life. 
  • Wi-Fi calling with call continuity between LTE and Wi-Fi
  • WiFi 6 ready, integrated with Bluetooth 5 which is more up to date than previously, WPA3 Security, and digital FM Bluetooth 5.1 provides improvement in power performance from previous generation
  • Support for recent generation of larger camera sensors

We do expect a slightly reduced level of performance with the SD662 and we’ll share the real world benchmarks once we have prototypes ready (see timeline below). The slight sacrifice in performance is offset by gaining more efficient power consumption, longevity in security updates, newer connectivity options and support for newer and better camera sensors.

For more information about the 662 chipset and the key features, you can find out more here: https://www.qualcomm.com/products/snapdragon-662-mobile-platform

Progress and the next steps:

  1. A new contract has just been finalised with our manufacturing partners & suppliers in China. We have already started the initial design work of SD 662. 
  2. The upgrade will involve re-designing the PCBA so that we can change the SoC. 
  3. The processes involved in changing the chipset will put our original estimated shipping date back by 4-6 months:
  • The 662 chipset requires a redesigned motherboard and testing. We are still working out if new certifications are needed as well
  • Ubuntu Touch OS & Lineage OS development will need to be revised for the new 662 chipset.
  • We expect the pandemic will also cause some delays as it has put a lot of pressure on our production and shipping capabilities.

The new estimated shipping date will be August 2021. 

Other technical points:

  • We have been working with other OS community porters to ensure alternative OS’s will be available & have already made significant progress with some of the ports based on Android 10.
  • We are upgrading the camera module to the latest 48MP Sony IMX586 Sensor to take advantage of the Snapdragon 662’s support for larger camera sensors.. 
  • Cellular band TD-SCDMA is no longer available because it can only be used on China Mobile & they have recently shut their network tower down.

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We will provide further updates at the beginning of each month with how we’re progressing with these changes with some adhoc updates along the way. The Indiegogo campaign will also be updated shortly with the new Pro1-X specs, and a revised timeline for manufacturing and shipping. 

We hope you understand the reasons that we have decided to go ahead with this change. If you have any questions regarding the update, please get in touch with our support team ([email protected]), who will be happy to discuss this further.

Team F(x)tec 

A similar note went out to those who are still waiting on their Pro1 (non-X) phones. Their orders, so it says, will all be changed to a Pro1-X and be prioritised before the IndieGogo Pro1 X orders.

Edited by Rob. S.
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  • Rob. S. changed the title to Pro1 and Pro1 X design change to use Snapdragon 662, no new devices before August 2021
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It is sad indeed. But as I see it they had very few alternatives after being swindled. Redesign the Pro1(x) using as much as they can of the existing with the remaining money. Await the m

I think @EskeRahndeserves a Gold Meddal

The line is when they take the money to Las Vegas and blow it on hookers and cocaine. And then they realize they need more money, so they delay shipping in order to solicit more funds, so they can pro

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It is sad indeed, but what are they to do, if the chips are no longer available?
" we were informed last month that it can no longer be purchased from our suppliers, despite having paid for the components back in December when our campaign officially ended."

Sure I would also love to see it with say a 885 - but it is not going to happen.... So they found the least bad they could refit into the same shell is 662, and so bi it.
Yes it is a somewhat slower chip but on the other hand it is supported by QC a few year further ahead. So it have Pros and Cons.

Is it worth more or less? I have actually no idea what the price of say 1000 835 in December was compared to the 662.

The worst is for the developers that have to redo stuff. iMHO

The alternative as I see it, is not that we can miracolously get them to stick in a stronger chip, but that they fold and we do not get any more Pro1(X) at all.

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I just upgraded to FX Pro1 X  Sapphire blue 😁

So I decided to wait another 8 months, but I think it will be worth in the end.

By the way, today it´s 1 year since ordering, it was the February 10, 2020 😆

Edited by Tommi69
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8 minutes ago, Acurus said:

Do I understand it right: I have to wait till august 2021?

Yes it looks that way - and with the Corona messing things up, Who knows what unforseen things that can make it even later. If they need new certification, that can be slow .

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13 minutes ago, EskeRahn said:

The worst is for the developers that have to redo stuff. iMHO

...and the best is that they are still able to make modifications on hardware if necessary.

...and it should also include certifications, Google-related payments which also require additional money.

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I hope the performance drop isn't too extensive. Although I was never going to use pro1 to play games or watch movies; as long as I can run a linux proot I'm happy. The important thing is preserving the keyboard design, which appears to be kept the same. Although I have to wonder if at this point since they have to redevelop from scratch, it wouldn't be simpler to scrap the pro1x entirely and develop the pro2 with a better chipset and migrate everyone's orders to the pro2. The delivery may be delayed to 2022 as a result, but there will be delays regardless with the covid situation. And I feel it would antagonize the backers less, or maybe that isn't cost-effective?

Edited by lawliett
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oof ... I am torn

I was frustrated to be left out for so long ( Jan 2020 ) ... but my biggest drawback was the age of the 1st gen chip ... yay!

I have a working phone , so I am not in the same boat as most of you ... here's hoping that they have a better than expected 2021!

 

-Chris

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I appreciate you guys trying to be optimistic, but I must say this news scares me quite a bit.

Having to downgrade to an inferior SoC is a devastating blow. So much development work (and time!) will be spent for nothing but getting an even more outdated phone even later onto the market. That is brutal. Even as an enthusiastic Pro1 owner, I must admit that I can understand anyone who decides to draw back from the project at this point. 

Let me stress that I think Fxtec are a good people. They are not trying to betray us. They themselves obviously believed they would get those boards. But they didn't. Fxtec is completely at the mercy of their suppliers, they have always been and obviously can do nothing to change that.

Edited by claude0001
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1 minute ago, lawliett said:

And I feel it would antagonize the backers less, or maybe that isn't cost-effective?

It would definitively need lot more money.

One thing is the complete antenna redesign, testing and related certification which they wrote in the update, and another one is the difference between an SoC with similar functions and pinout which is much easier to apply even if it has slight differences or modified package and a completely differerent SoC which would need a more complex modification of the PCB or even almost a complete redesign.

So the latter case is much complicated and takes much more time of design and testing.

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I might be in the minority who isn't worried about slightly lower performance if it comes with improved battery life, but was is annoying is that (probably due to one too many drops) the GPS on my current Pro1 has stopped working, and the Bluetooth signal has significantly degraded, so I was very much looking forward to getting a replacement next month. Sticking it out until August at the earliest is going to be… tough.

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1 minute ago, rkjnsn said:

I might be in the minority who isn't worried about slightly lower performance if it comes with improved battery life, but was is annoying is that (probably due to one too many drops) the GPS on my current Pro1 has stopped working, and the Bluetooth signal has significantly degraded, so I was very much looking forward to getting a replacement next month. Sticking it out until August at the earliest is going to be… tough.

You might get lucky and still get that replacement, if they still have a small volume of replacement devices stacked...

Edited by Rob. S.
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7 minutes ago, Rob. S. said:

You might get lucky and still get that replacement, if they still have a small volume of replacement devices stacked...

You are right, the biggest question is if they have enough spare PCB for repair purposes.

Anyway, they may have some replaced mainboards which has clear faults like the broken UFS flash chip which may be repaired by replacing these chips if they find a company who has appropriate tools for it.
So even if they currently don't have working motherboard, they may be able to repair some if they did not do it yet.

Edited by VaZso
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14 minutes ago, claude0001 said:

Having to downgrade to an inferior SoC is a devastating blow. So much development work (and time!) will be spent for nothing but getting an even more outdated phone even later onto the market

It won't be outdated, on the contrary, it is a much more recent chip. It's just that now it isn't even a "former high-end" chip, it has been a "midrange" chip right from the start. 

That said, I've searched the net for benchmarks, and I don't expect to even notice the difference in anything I expect to do with it. Just as the 835, or so it has been reported in reviews, was hardly slower in real-world applications than a current high-end chip like the 865, either.

I guess that highly demanding graphics applications (i.e. games) might be the most likely candidates for noticing a difference, as the GPU is where the difference seems to be most prominent.  

Edited by Rob. S.
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1 minute ago, Rob. S. said:

I guess that highly demanding graphics applications (i.e. games) might be most likely for as user to notice a difference, as the GPU is where the difference seems to be most prominent.

Indeed. Those that want a strong gaming device should not go for a Pro1, and even less for the Pro1X now.

But I for one would hardly notice...
The only real 'chip upgrade' I felt when I went from the BB Priv, was in the Android Market doing updates. It took 'forever' on the Priv, but is much smoother on a Pro1 (and would most likely be even faster on a 885 device)
But I do not know how the usage patterns looks for the typical Pro1 user.

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2 minutes ago, Rob. S. said:

It won't be outdated, on the contrary, it is a much more recent chip. It's just that now it isn't even a "former high-end" chip, it has been a "midrange" chip right from the start.

I do understand that.

My point is that this change involves much of the overhead of a "real" upgrade without any benefit to either the customer or Fxtec themselves.

The natural way to react to obsolescence would be to switch to the designated successor product -- typically bringing better perfomance and more features. However, Fxtec cannot go that way as it would involve updating the entire phone, which they cannot afford. They are effectively driven into a platform downgrade they did never intend. Sadly, there is no denying that.

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7 minutes ago, EskeRahn said:

The only real 'chip upgrade' I felt when I went from the BB Priv, was in the Android Market doing updates. It took 'forever' on the Priv, but is much smoother on a Pro1 (and would most likely be even faster on a 885 device)

...and it may also the result of a faster UFS flash behind the OS.

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So those of us with the 835 are screwed? We are not getting even Android 10? This is like the PRIV all over again jesus...but at least we can replace it ourselves... I would have been happier if I didn't have to deal with that.

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11 minutes ago, Tsunero said:

So those of us with the 835 are screwed? We are not getting even Android 10? This is like the PRIV all over again jesus...but at least we can replace it ourselves... I would have been happier if I didn't have to deal with that.

I think nobody told it is the case.
I don't know the progress of stock Android 10, but LineageOS does provide it anyway and I don't think they stop supporting it in the near future.

I don't think it is hard to continue supporting Pro1 while there is official support... so later Android support is a bigger question...

What is worse, it seemed to be some effort of FOSS community supporting SDM835 more deeply which will not happen because of this step of Snapdragon.
...and trust me, it will also happen with this model in a few (maybe two, maybe three) years.

One of the reasons of choosing an older flagship model was the longer support, so they did not think it will be EOL in this year.

Unfortunately, nobody can expect long availability of these SoC as newer and newer chips come up, big phone manufacturers picks them up, sell it for let's say one year, then make another model with another SoC and the game starts again.
It is no reason for Qualcomm to continue manufacturing these processors as the profit has already went to somewhere else, even if the newer model is not better.

The world still go to a very wrong direction anyway.

 

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This does not look good at all. Another delay for us is very frustrating and I am skeptical to the new timeline since there are so many changes. How they can manage everything?

SD662 is a downgrade compared to the SD835. CPU performance is decent but its GPU lacks power. I think that they should have select SD730G (2019 Q2) or SD732G (2020 Q3) instead. And how about SD845?

Geekbench 5 (single/multi):

  • SD835: 393/1637
  • SD730G: 523/1677
  • SD662: 302/1398

3DMark SSE:

  • SD835: 3127
  • SD730G: 2344
  • SD662: 1171

Worst thing is that Pro1 ja "Pro1-X" will be totally different devices internally so software development has to be separated. F(x)tec probably cannot support two devices at same time.

Edit: SD662 is manufactured with 11 nm LPP process which is a 14 nm and 10 nm hybrid. SD835 was a 10nm LPE chip. 10 nm LPE was 40% more power efficient than 14 nm LPE. According to WikiChip, 11nm LPP should ne 42% more power efficient than 14 nm LPE. So, SD662 is slightly better than SD835 on that area.

Edited by FlyingAntero
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As others have already stated in the Indiegogo comments the 622 is noticeably slower in benchmarks vs the 835, and it doesn't have external display connectivity.

IMO it's the wrong chipset to be substituting into the device, the 720G series would be a better option. While I'm not exactly sure of the EOL of that particular chipset nor its price point it appears to be the more suitable alternative to the inferior SD662.

I am really disappointed that FxTec chose to downgrade their product. If this is not rectified before shipment it will likely be the last phone I buy from them.

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I think some of you have received the following message from F(x)tec -

Hello,

Here’s an important update about the Pro1's chipset. 

The Qualcomm Snapdragon (SD) 835 is now end of life and we were informed last month that it can no longer be purchased from our suppliers, despite having paid for the components back in December. Over the past few weeks, we have had long discussions with our manufacturer and various suppliers to look at the alternative chipsets options and have made the decision to go with the more recent Qualcomm Snapdragon 662 (2020 model). This change of chipset means that your order will now be automatically upgraded to the Pro1-X, and will be prioritised ahead of our Pro1-X Indiegogo backers. 

and

  1. The processes involved in changing the chipset will delay all shipments by 4-6 months:

  • The 662 chipset requires a redesigned motherboard and testing. We are still working out if new certifications are needed as well

  • Ubuntu Touch OS & Lineage OS development will need to be revised for the new 662 chipset.

  • We expect the pandemic will also cause some delays as it has put a lot of pressure on our production and shipping capabilities.

The new estimated shipping date will be August 2021.

 

I believe we have been patient enough to blame up to the update.

Here I would humbly propose to all who are waiting for the delivery, to cancel the order and request the refund immediately to F(x)tec.

They will understand the implication of the request letter, and will think more seriously what they have to do.

 

 

Edited by nobumacsuzuki
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  • EskeRahn changed the title to pro1 x VS pro1 a resumé... SO march delivery date is did not hold either?

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