#RePhone: Why do We Re-Make Phones

— by Anonymous project manager

Most consumers have to accept most of the preferences from manufacturer. For example, when you see a new phone releases, as consumers, we expect manufacturers to provide certain functions, But we cant change much base on what they provide. The reason We develop RePhone, is because we want to make some changes to the status quo.

We would like to bring more consumers to the maker world easier, so the form and function of our phones will no longer limited by the existing framework. In mobile industry, to develop a new item usually requires huge teams to take care of the hardware and software part. And RePhone can lower the development cost. All you need to do is using a module as small as 2.5cm x 2.5cm. Which allows you to talk& give an order to anything.

Even for those who don’t know much about programming, they could also program the IFTTT(If This Then That)with simple steps. Therefore you could control objects with instructions, for example, you could tell your pet to go home with the RePhone module on your pet’s bracelet. Or to avoid your vehicle being stolen, you could hide a RePhone module in your car, therefore your car will notify you when it moves without your permission. Or you could monitor your plant’s situation with RePhone. You could even make a force-answering phone with GPS positioning as a gift to your friend, though we’re not encouraging this.

We would like to use these low-cost combinations to provide users and developers simple IoT solutions. With its lightweight and small size, you would have more flexibilities to create its outlook, and we think designers will love it0dec9f372079568e4bd4a36495ea4bd0_original

RePhone Project timeline with milestones. 

Differences and Privileges compare to Google Project Ara

As we all know there are similar solutions like Google Ara (which postponed 2016). Google Ara is aiming to consumer electronics market, as we know from reliable sources, Google Ara will be working on a standard platform with open-source hardware. We think that’s not really changing the standard of a phone, but providing a standard base to work with different modules.

Even so, we think that’s still more fascinating than many phones in the market.

But with RePhone, we could connect modules with FPC cable/soldering/stitching/conductive ink or bread boards, which provides much more possibilities when designing. Unlike Google Ara, Rephone would broaden the open-source part to the software side.

First, we created our RePhone system base on MTK’s SDK (Software development kit). For those who are new to programming, we provide instructions and sample codes based on different coding languages, e.g. Arduino/Lua/JaavaScript.

For those who are familiar with programming, you can use the API (Application program interface) provided by RePhone, then you could rock RePhone inside out.

And we will keep refining the operation system, in order to fully support Android by next year.

In terms of cost, RePhone also has its privilage, a Rephone core with bluetooth module costs only as much as 2 McDonald meals: 12USD. And the full set of RePhone Create startup kit would only cost you 39USD

Why we choose oversea crowd-funding

The diversity of international culture makes Geek society a remarkable part of our time. We would like to broaden the society with concepts like RePhone. RePhone as part of open-source community, we would also like to see more people to make their first step in maker world. We hope that more people could make more valuable creations base on RePhone.

What’s the relationship between RePhone and the other Seeed products, and how do they work with each other

We could conclude Seeed’s business model in 3Es: PrototypE, ProducE and PromotE. Rephone could become the key product in the cycle above. Users could base on RePhone to prototype their ideas. Base on your prototype, we could put it into production. After that, we could promote it in open source societies. We want to break the traditional form of cell phone development, in order to provide more choices to consumers.

What’s the point of supporting Arduino and Pebble Time

Arduino, as known as the most common micro controller, makes it easy access to existing user groups. So you don’t need professional training to develop mobile product.

We are also cooperating with Pebble. All existing Xadow phone modules are compatible with Pebble. In forms of watch straps, Pebble users could extend the possibility with the platform’s flexibility. To compatible with Arduino and Pebble Time, is just a beginning, we will keep develop more modules to comply with more platforms in the future. In order to provide more features to geeks, and easier access to everyone

What kind of modules does RePhone provide? What can we do to achieve more functions

Besides RePhone’s core module: Xadow GSM + BLE. We developed 8 more modules, which includes LCD、NFC、GPS and more. Ane we want more feedback from you, so we could provide more modules in the future. Besides, RePhone also allows users to develop their own modules to comply with. We think that would be the most exciting feature of RePhone. And we hope this feature could really change the game.

Modular phones is kind of niche market, how could it reach the mass?

To innovate is to struggle, As the biggest open source hardware provider in China, Seeed kept running on its track of innovation for seven years. There are pains and gains, but we will never stop innovating.

From Internet to smart phones, they all start from niche market, then become trends. Before Pebble hit the market, not much investors can see the value of smart watch. But at the end, the crowd funding result tells us the the niche market might not be as niche as we think. We believe that, if we could make paths, then it will allow people to walk with us. And people will make paths to roads.

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October 2015
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