After designing and building a cellphone with a rotary dial and an intentionally limited feature set last year, engineer Justine Haupt started selling a basic kit for under $100 last June, but customers still had to source some parts on their own.
Now Haupt’s company, Sky’s Edge, is taking pre-orders for a full-fledged Rotary Un-Smartphone Kit that comes with everything you need to have a pocket-sized smartphone capable of connecting to cellular networks for phone calls… and not much more than that.
A fully assembled Rotary Un-Smartphone features a rotary dialer, a 4G cellular modem (with support for 3G and 2G networks), and a SIM card reader, and a printed circuit board with an AtMega2560 Arduino-compatible microcontroller. There’s a small OLED display on the front of the device for caller ID and an ePaper screen on the back that can display messages indefinitely.
Contact details can be stored on a microSD card for a speed dial function. There’s a built-in mic that can be physically disconnected when you’re not using it, a mechanical bell that rings when a call is coming in, a headphone jack, indicator LED lights, and a USB-C port for charging.
The The Rotary Un-Smartphone comes as a kit with all the hardware you need to assemble the phone as well as a user manual with instructions. Among other things, this allows Sky’s Edge to sell the kit without FCC licensing or providing the level of support customers might expect from a pre-assembled device. So a DIY kit makes it more clear that this is a phone for hardware hackers and/or other enthusiasts.
That said, you don’t need a soldering iron, glue, or cutting tools to assemble the phone. Everything can be put together with basic tools including screwdrivers and tweezers.
Priced at $390, the kit costs less than an iPhone, but it’s not exactly cheap. But this isn’t a mass produced device, so you’re paying for a fairly unique product featuring a specific set of components. If you’d rather build your own from scratch the electrical, mechanical, and firmware files are all open source, but I suspect you’d spend at least as much money (and a lot more time) trying to replicate Haupt’s work.
via CNX Software