Originally Posted by polkaroo
It would be neat to have a "basic" scanner, then if we could purchase options like P25, DMR, etc. assuming everything is done in software, Uniden doesn't have to engineer, produce and ship separate units (eg 15 & 996) and stores don't have to stock two units especially if one isn't a hot seller. Plus the buyer won't have to pay for features and licensing they don't need. And if they ever do need, the scanner is WiFi connected anyway so log into your account on Uniden.com and the licensing update will be pushed to the scanner.
The problem is that your "basic" scanner is not going to have the hardware needed to enable a lot of these features or digital modes.
If they did include the hardware so a key or something could enable the features when you decide you need them, you would be paying for the hardware even if you never need it. You need the hardware before it can be enabled in software.
It's easy for Motorola to do it as those radios are made for one purpose and usually the hardware is already installed. New flashcodes just enable features that the hardware already supports.
I doubt many scanner enthusiasts would want to pay for hardware they may never use.
Now if a custom designed DSP chip could be made for just pennies then the idea may work but something tells me the hardware cost alone would add a significant cost to the base radio.
Something based more on SDR may be a better option but decent quality SDR based receivers are still very costly.
The old Electra Bearcat III crystal scanners had hardware based upgrades you could add. They came with either one or two RF boards depending on how you ordered them. You specified the band(s) you needed and the radio shipped with the correct RF board(s) installed. If you only needed one band, say VHF Low, that was the only board installed. Later down the road, you decide you also need VHF High or UHF, you could purchase the RF board and install it yourself with just three screws. One screw to open the case and two to mount the board.
The only problem with that model was that it did not have the hardware to support more than two scanner bands at a time so only two boards (bands) could be installed. They shared one of the crystal socket pins with both boards so no easy way to add a third or fourth board if you needed the UHF T band also.
I guess the "basic" model idea may work as long as the base model does include at least P25 Phase 1. That would mean the base model would at least have a DSP chip in it. If adding support for the other digital modes could be built into that chip for pennies and activated by a key or special FW flash, then it would work as the RF components would already be in place.
And who knows, many here speculate that the x36HP models very well could have a DSP in them that can be "unlocked" for other modes in the future. There is no way of knowing unfortunately unless you are high up within Uniden.
If Uniden could have done this, I'd think they would have done it with the HP1 at least. Then they could have sold an "Extreme Upgrade 2" to enable P25 Phase 2 support. Maybe they learned from that and did include the capabilities for other modes in the future in the new BCDx36HP models. It would be cool if they did. My gut feeling is they did not though as I think it would have added significant cost above the $500 and $600 dollar MSRP now.
The new x36HP models already have a lot of new features yet they managed to keep the cost within line with the older models.
We can always wish or dream though!
It's a neat idea but I just don't think it would really save the end user any money. I'd bet just because the DSP 'could' decode other digital modes, Uniden would need to pay a licensing fee for each radio produced even if those modes are not enabled. The IP holders of those modes would likely want royalties paid now and not when someone decides later that they want to enable a new mode.
If Uniden could incorporate other modes in the DSP without paying licensing fees now, that could save a lot as the licensing fee would be paid for by the end user when they purchase the deactivated mode(s).
I think the IP holders would be worried about someone hacking and gaining access to the hidden modes though so they would demand payment as each chip is made.
Someone clever could probably design a 3rd party Linux based appliance that runs nothing but DSD and can control the new x36HP models so you could use it in a tracking mode. That would be cool.
We also don't know how much control will be allowed for these new models. If it is like the HP1, then I doubt we will see programs like ProScan, ARC HP Pro or Freescan HP for the new models.
Being as these new models are database driven like the HP1 does have me wondering if we are going to lose the control abilities like we have now with the x96T or XT models. They could limit it to the Sentinel software and whatever the app is called that will work with the Wi-Fi dongle.
Hopefully the new models will still have a command set equivalent to the XT series or better for controlling the radio and manipulating memory.
The examples I've seen of the Wi-Fi control feature seem to resemble Butel's ARC Patrol more than anything and looked more like the screen of the HP1. I'd much rather see the same type of control that we have with the XT series and the various 3rd party programs available for those models. I really hope they have not "dumbed" down the options for 3rd party control and memory management.