It’s not a smartphone in the way that you’d think, but it certainly is clever!
Using a Raspberry Pi and a collection of cheap components from eBay, someone has built the rather unique mobile phone that you see above. Not everything is working just yet, but here’s what’s planned:
Calling and SMS
This is the first functionality to be implemented, and will be considered crucial in the development.
Alarm clock, calendar, calculator, phone book, file browser, web browser and music player.
Your own apps
SDK will be provided and it will be developer-friendly. The laand I’ll personally expect, if not at least aid with, social media apps – for a good start, since those are the apps people spend most time in.
Since it’s a computer after all, you can run ARM compatible (thus, almost all) Linux programs on it. A Raspberry Pi can give you a desktop with a monitor, keyboard and a mouse? This phone can, too! You like to use SSH, like me? It’s going to be available!
Lots of fun, a nice hobby for many and well-paying work for some, this phone can do it too.
Security and privacy
One of the features that isn’t typically provided but can mean anything from something simply bringing peace of mind to a matter of life and death.
There’ll be a sensor port available for connecting anything you think could add useful functions to your phone. Want to wake up when the sun rises? Add a light sensor! An additional display for notifications? Easy, connect and write code! A Geiger counter? You can have that, too!
Note that English might not be the project leader’s first language…
My immediate question was about the cellular radio, the proprietary silicon and firmware that would connect this thing to a mobile network. It turns out that there are off-the-shelf parts for that too. The project references a wireless module from a company called SIMCom called the SIM800, allowing the user to detect GSM jamming, spoofed cellular towers and compromised GSM encryption. None of this even sounds legal but apparently it is—at least in China, where SIMCom is based.
For more on the ZeroPhone project, see the links immediately below.