You know, I haven't exactly made a lot of posts on this forum either. I had a lot of faith, and admittedly I was a bit late to the game.
But the changes to the design are now completely unreasonable to me. I was sold one thing, but it is becoming another in all the wrong ways. I'm going to offer my perspectives below, in hopes that maybe my voice added to the MANY others will strike a chord.
1:I was sold a 6 inch screen. Being told I am going to get a 4.7 inch screen instead is incredibly frustrating. My phone uses a screen that's 5.7 inches, and I find it to be just barely inadequate for map use. A 4.7 inch screen is basically unusable for that function, and even worse for reading. At this screen size, what really separates Earl from a basic GPS?
2: Integrated solar charging was a very big selling point to me. So much so, that it inspired me to look into finding compact solar chargers/power banks. Seeing the solar panel become a removable part again makes me ask "Why don't I just do this with my phone?". Speaking of modular parts...
3: While I understand that modularity seems like a good idea from a manufacturing standpoint, I have to ask you to remember back to what made the device useful. It was intended to be used in harsh conditions by people who were exploring the wilderness in some way or another, be it backpacking, paragliding, bicycling, or just walking around in their underwear with a rifle and a gas mask. Removable parts cause two issues here. The first being that nobody wants to have to carry more stuff that can come loose. The second is that the more modular you make Earl, the less likely it is to maintain its design-essential environmental resistance.
4: In addition to all this, the fact that none of the changes being implemented are desired by the community of backers in any way, shape, or form bodes very badly. We wanted to see things like more RAM. A better processor. More up-to-date Android. We coped with the anemometer being gone. That made sense. We also never expected Earl to be a processing powerhouse, but making major changes that are unwanted and unwelcome without finding a way to legitimately sweeten the deal for us with some of the features we do want is basically going to be turning Earl into the Hindenburg. Especially when there's the inference that you would be asking for more from us for it.
Essentially, you have convinced me to just take one of my retired phablets, get a waterproof case for it, and use my portable solar power banks, as it will then exceed the current plans for Earl in every way barring the radio.
If you change your mind, and listen to the community (who has been very vocal) and create something that actually resembles your original dream that you sold us... Please email me I'd be interested. However, as it stands I am not interested in Bizzarro-Earl. I have sent Todd a message asking for my refund already. I'm sorry... I'm done.