Build logs here:
YouTube videos showing the phone working:
It's not on the immediate priority list, but especially if businesses start buying these and using them on corporate networks it might become important. I feel like most hobbyists aren't that interested in DECT. Too old. LoRa is apparently the hot thing if you are a hobbyist. :)
I am really excited about the wiphone, here are some of the ideas I have for it:
* 2FA token generator
* IoT remote
* retro game console
* modern game platform (think pokedex etc)
* educational hacking
And those are just off the top of my head. Essentially, it's a wonderful package for an ESP32 that makes creating useful devices out of that wonderful little processor even simpler.
That being said, I do like the fact that it is moddable and the schematics are open. Calling it a phone is a stretch though, it's more like a hobbyist kit.
And being honest, I wouldn’t want to use it for any of the reasons you listed. I think this project would be a lot cooler if, you know, it actually worked as a phone.
also gp2x https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GP2X (discontinued but you can find them on ebay). Comes in 3 models, GP2x, GP2X Caanoo, and GP2X Wiz.
I had one as a kid and loved it. Got into Linux and programming because of it.
Or a rooted old android phone is pretty similar, more functional than the WiPhone, and probably cheaper as well.
> * 2FA token generator
These already exist and are much more secure.
> * IoT remote
> * retro game console
> * modern game platform (think pokedex etc)
> * educational hacking
Ok, I do agree it is interesting from this perspective. I get your overall point, but I still think it's a valid criticism.
At the very minimum, it matches and surpasses the capabilities of a landline phone (since it works at home where there's WiFi.)
My main point, though, was that it is reasonable to expect something marketed as a phone to have LTE/cellular capabilities. I don’t think “Show HN: an ESP32 with LCD display — think of all the possibilities!” would hit the front page.
It is technically a phone. Just not one many people would want to replace their smartphones with. Home phone or backup phone maybe. We aren't marketing it as a smartphone replacement. The mobile form factor is useful and not just an evil marketing trick.
and yes, the form-factor does make this awesome.
how about calling it a wifi-phone?
it would immediately make the limitation clear and avoid disappointment for those like me who are seeking a replacement for their regular phone.
There is a pretty clear issue with people getting grumpy once they learn it's not a bleeding edge smartphone. I don't know how to solve it. Open to suggestions, but I think calling it a phone is perfectly reasonable and doesn't imply it's a smartphone. Just because all the big phone makers have sold us the idea that LTE and an OS you can play games on is absolutely essential doesn't mean this isn't a phone.
the definition of a phone for me is a device that i can use make phone-calls 100% of the time and send sms messages. today that implies cell phone (GSM) support. it does not imply a smartphone, especially not a bleeding edge one, nor the ability to play games. (although games on the arduino are actually possible)
btw: i have been traveling without a sim-card before (because i did not have roaming) and the success of finding wifi was more like 20% rather than 80%. rather frustrating.
I think you mean 'cellphone.'
It's also not a phone you can buy today, should we put a disclaimer about it not being a real device either?
as low as $30/month in the states (this is a steal comparatively): https://bestmvno.com/data-only/att-unlimited/
Why are there embedded Facebook and Google tracking scripts in your site about a supposedly privacy-focused phone?
The website doesn't the website have https.
I see a lot of claims of privacy focused and openness on this page, but not a lot to back those claims up.
EDIT: So I guess the source code isn't available, so I'll have to ask here: how are phone calls on this oh-so-privacy-focsed phone secured? It says VoIP, does that mean it's SIP? Does the SIP use TLS? Is the TLS verified? is the media encrypted? Is it end-to-end encrypted? What encryption is used?
The phone is for people who want hardware that can be used for hacking. We don't have any code that does anything related to tracking in the phone, and once it's released anyone can verify that.
That page is static, so I don't see how https is relevant.
Right now there is no security whatsoever. We are still getting the system to work, and work reliably. If enough people buy one we will probably add some sort of transport layer encryption.
Disclosure: I wrote that doc in collaboration with the Chrome security team.
The website doesn't use HTTPS, includes trackers, and it might be the case that the author hasn't figured it out that without mitigations, wifi can be tracked just like cellular radio.
In short, it's the scammiest looking project I've seen posted to HN in a long time. At least they aren't taking money yet so the author can continue to shoot himself in the foot in comments.
As a side effect of that there are some properties related to security that you get for free (no tracking cookies, no black box cellular radio), and others, like encryption, that we will try to add if we make enough to fund doing it. But we won't feature creep the project and risk never delivering just to check a box that's not part of our core goal.
> Q: Where can I download the code?
> Probably Github. After we ship the rewards.
So, unfortunately, it looks like it'll only be open-sourced after it ships.
I guess we could nitpick over the word "after" but if they ship the first phones 8am and release the code at 1pm I think it still complies.
What is involved in doing something like writing an "app" that would run on the device and send wifi commands out? Am I looking at low level C++ to interface with a LCD, or is this all in a nice API?
How do you connect an API for a smartphone to an Arduino? I assume the phone part is running on the second core, does it have a lot of cycles leftover?
Apps: The end goal is to embed a Python interpreter in the firmware, and then it would be a matter of interacting with an API in Python. Right now it's C++.
I'm not sure what you mean by "connect an API for a smartphone to an Arduino". Do you mean: What does the plumbing look like between the code that calls the API and some physical pin?
I mostly ask because in my experience writing graphics drivers for LCD displays by hand is that it is very hard and slow to run, last time I had to make a touchscreen interface it was like writing in QBasic again the functionality was so primitive. Seconds of lag because of the serial interface and all.
It seems like you have to design a quite complex system here with many parts and gears to communicate and synchronize together. You'll need an OS for that kind of work. Arduino is not the language/paradigm for that kind of sophistication: even multi-threading will require some kind of hack.
It seems like an Arduino-phone is a development nightmare just waiting to come out.
If the project gets big enough we may split it into 2 versions, one Arduino and one with a proper RTOS.
That said, at this level using interrupts and a state machine is pretty workable, so I wouldn't say multiple threads are a must. Would probably make it easier for regular programmers to pick up and start developing with, though.
So this looks like a VoIP phone? I can't see myself using this, since I still need my phone to work the other 20% of the time…
We aren't designing a phone, we're designing a device that allows hardware and low-level firmware hackers to do the things we want to do with phones, but can't due to being effectively locked out of modern smartphones.
That said, it should work perfectly fine as a home or office phone, or as a light-duty mobile one.
Longer reply here:
Basically, it's a black box component that introduces privacy risks and requires service plans.
However, I don't buy the argument for WiFi only. Sure, you are often on WiFi... But if I wanted to make a private VoIP call in such locations, I would just use my Linux laptop (or, realistically, any computer).
The reason for having a phone like this is for essential communication on the go -- not just to be an application specific piece of hardware.
That said, they have to start somewhere and I'm sure LTE integration is a lot of work. It's cool just to have something like this being developed. Keep it up!
For now this is a realistic goal. We'll see what happens after.
The website seems to be trying to suggest that WiFi only is a feature -- which I disagree with. No harm in just saying you will get to it eventually, imo (maybe you do say that further down the page)
Btw this is not the future: https://techcrunch.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/ezgif-4-fb...
Edit: /s obviously ;) but open source phones for improved privacy and control are always welcome!
What SIP gateway are they using for free, that doesn't track you or monetize your metadata somehow?
I can't find any info on the page.
One of the other guys that's working on this has a list of a few providers that offer a free account and work with the WiPhone. I'll see if I can post it once he's here.
If someone builds a backplate with 4G I would definitely consider this to replace my smartphone.
Except the 20% of the time where I'm not near wifi is when it's often the most useful to be able to use a phone -- when I'm on the side of the road with a car problem, for instance.
If I'm not at work, the only app I use regularly is Signal. Can anyone comment on the feasibility of making a Signal client for this device? I'd love to ditch my phone on the weekends and carry this instead.