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KOMRAD – Compact Open Mobile Reference Architecture and Design

Posted by cruisemaniac on December 3, 2006

Speaker: Mr. Rajiv Poddar, Tantra Tele.

What is KOMRAD?

  • Blueprint for mobile phones
  • Reference Design for Mobile Pones
  • Software and Hardware
  • Derived completely out of Open Source Software and Open Hardware
  • Commercial Off the Shelf Solutions – To fill in the gaps in the Opensource hardware and software

Open Source Hardware:The files required for the hardware – design and stuff is available under GPL on the net.

Why is it needed?

  • 80% of the worlds population are covered by a wireless network
  • But, only 25% have a mobile phone
  • Multiple barriers to entry exist here
    • Cost of the handset
    • Total cost of Ownership

The providers of a network camp on ARPU – Avg. Revenue Per Unit.  But in the rural areas where the talk values are less, the cost of ownership is high.

The GSM association has noticed that the major markets is Asia, and Africa.  And India falls on the top of the list of booming markets.  So, the GSM Association is talking to operators to reduce the ARPU.  This would drive penetration into the rural markets.

The expectation in India is for a user to spend Rs. 450 per month.  Which is the lowest in the world and the GSM association is trying to get the ARPU values still lower.

How does KOMRAD help?

  • It focuses on the technical barrier to entry into handset market
  • Makes mobile phone as easy to assemble as a computer
  • Enables communities to build their own solution
  • Disrupts the value chain of the mobile phone market

Their target is to get the mobile (Chips, LCD, Keypad, Plastics, RF components, software) is around 30$.  The mobile phone may not look like the Nokia’s and Sony Ericsson’s we have, it might be designed as a community result to best suit the needs of a community…  For eg, the phones designed for a rural area could be designed with bigger keypads and no lcd’s!.

The fundamental open source initiative would help disrupt the actual distribution and business channels of the big guns…

Goals of KOMRAD

  • Cheap
  • Easily available components
  • Open Architecture
  • No closed or proprietary drivers

The next slide spoke of the architecture.  The micro kernel on the architecture is called L4.  The peripherals will be connected on an l4 based device driver family.  The protocol stack is a certified GSM stack.  There is a cross compiler which will convert any code written in C into L4 compatible code….


  • Kernel is ~ 100kb (L4 Pistachio Embedded)
  • NCurses based MMI framework
  • GSM protocol stack
  • GNU Radio Baseband + RF
  • Blackfin applications processor


  • Basic Architecture completed
  • MMI Framework
  • Kernel
  • GNU Radio
  • Team of 3 volunteers


  • Code, code and code 😀 – I like this part!!!
  • Release Alpha
  • Combine two boards into a single board
  • Replace FPGA with GSM baseband and RF
  • Add more volunteers to the project – Mee like this part too 😀

4 Responses to “KOMRAD – Compact Open Mobile Reference Architecture and Design”

  1. Rajiv said

    hey.. thanks for the mention.

  2. Thanx said

    This is a noble cause

  3. enki said

    Open Source Hardware:The files required for the hardware – design and stuff is available under GPL on the net.

    where can I download these files can you give me the link?

  4. Redden said

    Somehow i missed the point. Probably lost in translation 🙂 Anyway … nice blog to visit.

    cheers, Redden!

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