If you ever wanted to buy a mobile phone that you can assemble yourself, RePhone Kit Ctreate going for $59 is a nice option, but in truth it does not exactly look like your typical phone with its almost square shape. It’s also good to have more option, that’s exactly what MAKERphone is offering with a DIY mobile phone targeting the educational market.
Beside the educational value of the assembly also involving some soldering skills depending on the selected kit, kids will be able to learn to program the phone with MicroPython, the Arduino IDE (C language), and/or Scratch visual programming.
MAKERphone kit content and specifications:
- MAKERphone circuit board with 8x user LEDs for backlight (and special effects), 4-way mechanical joystick, 12-button numeric keypad, A, B, C, D, E, and F buttons, DS3231 RTC chip, vibrator…
- Main microcomputer module based on Espressif Systems ESP32 WiSoC with 802.11 b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.2 LE, 4MB flash + 520 kB SRAM, charging circuit
- SIM800L GSM module with micro SIM slot + stick-on- antenna to make calls, and send/receive SMS
- Display – 1.8″ 128×160 full color TFT LCD with 25 Hz refresh rate (default), adjustable up to 50 Hz;
- Audio -Module with PCM5102 10-bit DAC (digital to analog converter) chip, 2W class-D audio amplifier module, PT2257 volume controller, 3.5mm audio jack, 1W speaker
- Battery – 3.7V/600 mAh LiPo battery chargeable via micro USB port, and good for 3 days of normal use
- MAKERphone casing comprised of multiple laser-cut acrylic sheets (different colors available)
- A bag with push buttons, colored button caps, 128MB SD card preloaded with games and apps, etc…
The company will provide a full set of instructions and tutorials from the hardware assembly up to programming with Scratch, the Arduino IDE, and MicroPython suitable for kids 11 years old or greater, The software will be fully open source, and hardware schematics and BoM will be available online..
The project launched on Kickstarter and is way passed its $15,000 funding target with over $200,000 from more than 1,600 backers.
Pledges start at $94 for the MAKERphone kit which requires you / your kid / student to solder all components and assemble the phone themselves, if you just want something that works out of the box, a $99 pledge will get you a fully assembled MAKERphone. If you are new to that “maker” thing and don’t necessarily have all tools like soldering iron, the $119 MAKERphone kit is for you as it include all components and modules, plus all tools you’ll need for assembly. Other rewards are bundles with multiple MAKERphone phones or/and kits. Worldwide shipping adds $15 to the single unit kits, and a bit more for bundle, and you can expect your rewards shipped in March 2019 if everything goes to plan.
Jean-Luc started CNX Software in 2010 as a part-time endeavor, before quitting his job as a software engineering manager, and starting to write daily news, and reviews full time later in 2011.
Fair warning, if you’re in the US, keep in mind that 2G networks are sunsetting very quickly and this device will quickly lose its ‘phone’ ability. There are other phone modules they could have picked. 🙁
That’s the case in other countries as well. GSM is all shut down here in Australia. On the other hand, some national telcos are saying it is better to keep 2G (GSM) for simple IOT/M2M services and shutdown 3G instead. Either way, it looks like LTE (which isn’t actually “4G” the last I heard) is what the telcos want to focus on and any device that doesn’t do LTE will be severely limited in its usefulness. Like this phone.
I had thought a lot of other countries were dropping 2G as well, but I didn’t have any specific knowledge of it as I do the US, so I limited the scope of my reply. Thanks for expanding on it.
I agree that keeping around some 2G would make a lot of sense. Come on, it’s just 200kHz folks….
Some countries are keeping their 2G networks active, but that doesn’t matter if they won’t activate new 2G devices. AKAIK no one in the US will activate a new 2G device.
Have asked these?
On the largest neworks.
Our ultra-fast 4G LTE networks covers more than 320 million Americans. So we’ve got you covered everywhere.
No 4G? No worries! We’ve got you covered with 3G and 2G as well.
In the USA, you can purchase a T-Mobile prepaid SIM and use it (for at least the next few years, assuming you still have 2G towers around you.) You activate the SIM, but it’s device independent.
A device like this would have about 2 more years, then TMo is planning on turning off 2G which will effectively be the last major player in the US 2G market.
usmobile say they use a GSM LTE sim.
IIRC, US Mobile is a T-Mobile MVNO (i.e, they resell their services)
Most likely. US only has 4 major carriers (Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mo), everyone else is a MVNO. Since Sprint and T-Mo are very MVNO friendly, the majority of MVNO’s are on one or the other (or both).