Author Topic: Light phone on Kickstarter  (Read 28661 times)

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Offline edy

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Re: Light phone on Kickstarter
« Reply #25 on: June 05, 2015, 04:33:43 pm »
Hi donotdespisethesnake,

I agree with you, it's not technically a scam. Adults are free to spend money on what they want. They haven't lied about anything and they are not claiming anything miraculous here. People who don't realize this phone already exists or alternatives exist are at fault.... Not the founders of this project. They even say they are not creating any technology here.

The founders are designers/artist/engineer that met through a Google 30 week incubator program. They started this Kickstarter and I give them credit for doing this. I'm giving them some suggestions but honestly I don't think they are reading any messages from non-backers. They are probably overwhelmed as it is, so I'm not holding my breath for a reply.

What I am amused at mostly is the lack of independent media scrutiny. Perhaps it is not their job any more (or was it ever) to inform their readers about similar products? The story gets repeated just like the one Dave pointed out about the "Batteriser".... Did you see in his video how many news outlets picked up the story and kept repeating the same presskit/photos.... Nobody bothered to pick under the surface even just a bit to ask some tougher questions. The media/journalist/blog circle seems to be only about filling their pages with click-bait to increase ad revenue, and doing the easiest thing possible.

I do see a lot of artistic creativity from the founders:

http://thelightphone.tumblr.com/

People are not just buying a phone, they are buying into a "dream" and "experience" and all the other stuff surrounding this project. I'm not jealous about this. I'm just curious and intrigued as to how they are going to pull it off. Backers get to watch every step of the process... So call it a Kickstarter educational course.

eBay search term: "AEKU M5"
http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_nkw=aeku+m5
« Last Edit: June 05, 2015, 09:19:43 pm by edy »
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Offline Richard Crowley

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Re: Light phone on Kickstarter
« Reply #26 on: June 05, 2015, 05:49:06 pm »
What I am amused at mostly is the lack of independent media scrutiny.
Modern media is neither dilligent (or even competent in many cases) and far from "unbiased".
We make a grave error by giving modern media so much credibility. 
They have largely not been worthy of credibility for several decades (if they ever were).
 

Offline loneoceans

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Re: Light phone on Kickstarter
« Reply #27 on: June 10, 2015, 12:05:26 am »
All I can say is



And as someone pointed out, $14 on ebay and aliexpress for the same product:
http://www.aliexpress.com/item/Faster-shipping-AIEK-M5-Card-Mobile-Phone-4-5mm-Ultra-Thin-Pocket-Mini-Phone-Qual-Band/32302564150.html  :-//

« Last Edit: June 11, 2015, 09:59:26 pm by loneoceans »
 

Offline edy

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Re: Light phone on Kickstarter
« Reply #28 on: June 11, 2015, 01:38:55 am »
They are $370,000 with 16 days to go. If only they actually make a significantly new phone.... but all evidence points to a design rebake (superficial) of the GSM children's phone seen on eBay, as previously linked, which is available on Alibaba for $10-12 in bulk. The internals and PCB images shown on their Kickstarter page look exactly like it.

Let's face it, the guys heading this project are primarily designers and artists, that is what $100 for this phone buys... along with a "creative look into the process" (they have a book which they are also making). Maybe $10 for the internals, and $90 for their effort for making it happen. Do they deserve $90 per phone for the artistry and work and risk involved in this Kickstarter? YES. But I don't see the value in a better looking cheap phone, especially one that is "supposed to be used as little as possible".

I am following this project to see what they are able to finally pull off. Will they use a dot-matrix display? Or segmented LED as shown? Will they reduce the buttons? Will they use dome-contact buttons (and how do they plan to illuminate them)? Will they be altering the firmware in the Alibaba phone significantly? I am confident the most significant work will be performed by the Chinese supplier once they secure an order of sufficient units by Light and get a good contract price to make this custom order worth their while.

But assuming they achieve $500,000 or 5000 phones, is that a big enough order? Or will they need to buy 10,000 or 20,000 and try to scuttle the overstock in excess of the number of backers and sell it at cost or on an online store at a discount ($50?) to recoup the money or squeeze some more profit? They have the money to buy way more now so they have options. But I see a huge development cost on this:

1. setting up the custom equipment for a relatively short run of phones (the case plastic housing - either extrusion, milling or printing)
2. manufacturing line assembly integration to get the workers putting together the phones
3. any mods on the PCB especially if a different display will be used
4. software mods to run a different display
5. hardware mods on different type of button panel
6. hardware mod on button illumination - seems like they want to make the buttons "glow" from underneath... the Alibaba phone doesn't seem to have illuminated buttons. Will they use LED's under each button or a "light pipe" piece of plastic? The phone will need to light up the lights when pressed and then count-down timer off.... how will this be done? Existing firmware? Or tap off the signal that would have gone to the dot-matrix panel backlight which I presume does the same thing?

So there are a lot of engineering issues to overcome. The phone will be "worth" $100 if they actually go through the effort of making it significantly different than the Alibaba phones, even if they start with them at the core level. Personally I don't see the purpose of redesigning this product when they already exist in various forms for so cheap.....But what will be interesting to see over the course of this Kickstarter is whether the "Light Phone" will slowly transform into the "GSM Children's Phone" on Alibaba once they realize how much work is involved in making it look like the Light Phone. Perhaps we will lose the backlit buttons.... and keep the dot-matrix display... Whatever doesn't cost them too much to change and gets them closer to their "prototype".

Will be interesting to see! They have over a year to do it...
« Last Edit: June 11, 2015, 01:44:03 pm by edy »
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Offline amyk

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Re: Light phone on Kickstarter
« Reply #29 on: June 11, 2015, 01:46:39 pm »
It's basically this: http://www.bunniestudios.com/blog/?page_id=3107

Even if they're redesigning the case and interface, $100 is still far too overpriced.

http://projectgus.com/2015/05/inside-a-34-dollar-smartphone/
 

Offline edy

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Re: Light phone on Kickstarter
« Reply #30 on: June 11, 2015, 03:40:54 pm »
Hey Thanks for those links! Very interesting read. I found this other link on the Bunnie page for an even cheaper phone:

http://wiki.hacdc.org/index.php/$7_cell_phone

Of course they all use fake components or grey-market legally it seems. The $7 phone is non-branded when you buy and the shop owner can stick on a Samsung or Nokia faceplate (or any other for that matter) to make it "branded". Wow!

So the question becomes, if this project on Kickstarter is using illegal chips or legally-disputed technology/patents being copied by these Chinese manufacturers, does it go against any Kickstarter terms?

Here's a more simple example.... Say someone decides to make a "MAME" http://mamedev.org/ (multi arcade machine emulator) Arcade box using a cheap Android phone running a MAME app that is pre-installed, and load it up with hundreds of ROMs... all of the ROMS which are of course are copyright infringing. The phone is stuffed inside a "cute Arcade" form-factor and it starts up on Kickstarter. This obviously is illegal, at least with ROMs shipping on it.

So alternatively someone could ship an emulator-loaded simple Android phone in an arcade box WITHOUT ROMs, and preload an "app" which will automatically download the ROMs from the internet once activated and place it in the proper folders. But the entire thing could be marketed in a sneaky way to ensure no actual copyright-infringing ROMs are on the device when shipped.... but which easily gets copied on later once in the hands of the user (or it could be stored on a microSD that gets sold separately).

So if you are making a cheap phone and using Chinese chips that are being legally challenged or infringing on Western patents, how does this fare with Kickstarter terms? Interesting questions.
« Last Edit: June 11, 2015, 04:00:01 pm by edy »
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Offline janoc

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Re: Light phone on Kickstarter
« Reply #31 on: June 11, 2015, 08:39:47 pm »
So if you are making a cheap phone and using Chinese chips that are being legally challenged or infringing on Western patents, how does this fare with Kickstarter terms? Interesting questions.

How do you know that the chips are "fake", "being legally challenged", "infringing Western patents"? Chinese manufacturers are making a lot of their own R&D and designing their own silicon today. The times of only illegal clones of the Western stuff are long gone. Take companies such as MediaTek (manufacturer of the chipset used in that Bunnie's phone) or Allwinner - ARM CPUs used in TVs, many Chinese smartphones, BananaPi, etc.

Even making a clone is not illegal as such, unless you are trying to sell it as the original. Moreover, not many circuit designs are actually patented - by the time the patent would be granted, the chips could be well obsolete. Rambus learned that first hand back in the day. So designing your own chip implementing some circuit idea is perfectly fine - e.g. the CH340G USB to UART bridge (FTDI/Prolific/Microchip competitor).



 

Offline edy

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Re: Light phone on Kickstarter
« Reply #32 on: June 11, 2015, 10:31:25 pm »
So if you are making a cheap phone and using Chinese chips that are being legally challenged or infringing on Western patents, how does this fare with Kickstarter terms? Interesting questions.

How do you know that the chips are "fake", "being legally challenged", "infringing Western patents"? Chinese manufacturers are making a lot of their own R&D and designing their own silicon today. The times of only illegal clones of the Western stuff are long gone. Take companies such as MediaTek (manufacturer of the chipset used in that Bunnie's phone) or Allwinner - ARM CPUs used in TVs, many Chinese smartphones, BananaPi, etc.

Even making a clone is not illegal as such, unless you are trying to sell it as the original. Moreover, not many circuit designs are actually patented - by the time the patent would be granted, the chips could be well obsolete. Rambus learned that first hand back in the day. So designing your own chip implementing some circuit idea is perfectly fine - e.g. the CH340G USB to UART bridge (FTDI/Prolific/Microchip competitor).

Hi Janoc,

Point well taken. I had a look at the Banana Pi.... I never knew about that. Wow! It's almost like a RaspBerry Pi! All this competition is better for consumers, as long as the clone products don't purport to be the originals and consumers aren't confused. From what I gather from blog posts about markets in Shenzhen, everybody seems to know they are buying fakes anyways and just brand things to make it appear like a more superior product or to raise their social status.
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Offline janoc

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Re: Light phone on Kickstarter
« Reply #33 on: June 12, 2015, 09:50:06 am »
Hi Janoc,

Point well taken. I had a look at the Banana Pi.... I never knew about that. Wow! It's almost like a RaspBerry Pi! All this competition is better for consumers, as long as the clone products don't purport to be the originals and consumers aren't confused. From what I gather from blog posts about markets in Shenzhen, everybody seems to know they are buying fakes anyways and just brand things to make it appear like a more superior product or to raise their social status.

Edy, you need to be careful - the small "mom&pop" shops in Shenzen selling fake capacitors, SD cards and iPhone copies are not the whole market there. Not even a large part of it.

Pretty much 90% of the semiconductor production is done in China and other countries nearby today - including all the big name vendors. So while counterfeit parts are a real problem, that doesn't mean everything is fake.
 

Offline edy

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Re: Light phone on Kickstarter
« Reply #34 on: June 13, 2015, 05:45:23 pm »
The only specific hardware the Light Phone lists on their Kickstart page is that they are using an MTK6250 chip. That is the same chip featured on Bunnie's Blog linked in a previous post on a teardown of the $12 phone. This chip is quite prevalent. For example, a quick search for MTK6250 shows a link to the "Old Man Phone":

http://www.alibaba.com/product-detail/Hot-sale-w60-mtk-6250-1_60196405452.html

A search for "MTK6250" on Alibaba shows a plethora of devices, from phones to smartwatches, using this chip. I found some datasheets for "MediaTek MT6250D":

http://wenku.baidu.com/view/f9625d126bd97f192279e971.html

and here...

http://www.datasheetbay.com/PDF/755122/MT6250D.pdf

Here's the company press release:

http://www.mediatek.com/en/news-events/mediatek-news/mediatek-launches-the-2nd-generation-ulc-mobile-phone-single-chip/

Amazing little chip!
« Last Edit: June 13, 2015, 05:53:42 pm by edy »
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Online wraper

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Re: Light phone on Kickstarter
« Reply #35 on: June 13, 2015, 06:09:24 pm »
The only specific hardware the Light Phone lists on their Kickstart page is that they are using an MTK6250 chip. That is the same chip featured on Bunnie's Blog linked in a previous post on a teardown of the $12 phone. This chip is quite prevalent. For example, a quick search for MTK6250 shows a link to the "Old Man Phone":
It's not only the same chip but also the same PCB on their photos.
 

Offline edy

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Re: Light phone on Kickstarter
« Reply #36 on: June 13, 2015, 08:05:30 pm »
I have attached images from the Bunnie's Blog page next to the best photo I could gather from Light Phone's page. There are a few differences in the layout. I'm sure it is not the exact same PCB but perhaps very similar.

One thing to notice is the Bunnie phone has the dome-contact buttons directly on the PCB. There may be some LEDs for backlighting the button overlay sheet. The Light Phone prototype has white sheet over that area.... either the domes are underneath or there is a separate sheet for buttons that joins with a flex-cable somewhere, and that white area may be like a light-pipe to evenly illuminate that region.

Anyways, it is not "Exactly" the Bunnie phone but it may be one of various versions produced by the same company. Either way if MTK6250 SOC is used then the rest of the hardware surrounding the chip is simple and probably standardized among most devices.
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Offline edy

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Re: Light phone on Kickstarter
« Reply #37 on: June 13, 2015, 08:12:00 pm »
If they were doing this it would be worth $100....

http://www.electronics-lab.com/blog/?p=23359

And it's open to everyone to build... http://web.media.mit.edu/~mellis/cellphone/index.html
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Offline edy

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Re: Light phone on Kickstarter
« Reply #38 on: June 18, 2015, 06:05:52 pm »
As of today.... $385,571 in funding, almost double their goal of $200,000. Will they reach $400,000 in the 8 days remaining? Still no answer to my 2 messages sent through Kickstarter. I expected maybe even a canned politically-correct response that doesn't really answer anything.... but ZERO ZIP ZILCH.
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Offline edy

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Re: Light phone on Kickstarter
« Reply #39 on: June 18, 2015, 11:26:22 pm »
I finally got a response to my email to Light!  :-+  Here it is.... 

Honestly I think it's about as good a response as I could get. It sounds like the guys are really working to do something different here, and they seem to have genuinely thought about the donation idea. I also understand why they need to charge what they do, as some of the other components of their project (design, limited production and the documentary feature) are going to cost them.

 :clap:  Thank you Light for shedding some light (pun intended) on your project....



Quote
Light says:

Hi Edy,

So sorry for the belated responses! Seriously, I don't know how your message got overlooked, and I'm sorry about that.

I am not sure of the mAh of the battery just yet. The prepaid SIM will be able to be seamlessly refilled either via app or website is the goal. We are now looking into other options like an unlimited monthly plan as an option as well. The smart phone talks to the phone via GSM network, which has a lot of advantages over bluetooth, most importantly that it will work regardless of whether your phone is on or not, but also that it is not limited to any particular range from your phone. There is a pretty neat cloud software element to the process as well.

The phone will work anywhere there is a GSM network which is pretty much everywhere in the world except Japan and some of South Korea which uses CDMA network. We are trying to make the phone work CDMA network as well, but are not able to promise that just yet. Any SIM card will work, prepaid or with a plan. The phone takes Mini SIM so you will need a simple adapter if you have a Nano or Micro SIM.

The stand by time we've estimated at 20 days and we are not comfortable estimating the talk time just yet, but it will be a lot less than 20 days. That being said, we designed the phone to be used as little as possible i.e. we don't want people talking on the phone we want them to be engaged with the world around them, but comfortable knowing they can be reached if urgent.
About the Alibaba phone, I'm not sure what gives you the impression that we can make our phone for such a price. As you mention we are at an incredibly different scale. We are also using far superior suppliers, assembly and parts. We've purchased many of these phones before and I would call them unusable, the quality is horrific and the design well I won't go there haha. So I'm sorry that $100 seems like we are making a huge mark up, but the truth is we are far from that. The process of manufacturing a phone involves so many people, thousands of people in the supply chain that it doesn't seem morally possible to get a phone for so cheap. Also, the phones we saw on Alibaba were in the $25-$35 price range, which is a lot more than $10, however I sadly don't doubt there is one for $10.

Part of our mission is to expose the realities of what manufacturing entails, it is a huge process and we want to educate consumers on why a phone should never cost only $10.

That being said, you bring up an amazing point. The one-to-one donation model is something we've been considering for months. Unfortunately due to our real costs our model was more 5 or 10 to 1 but we had an amazing insight when we were talking to a homeless kid here in NYC that said he couldn't get a job because he didn't have a cell phone. We want to find a way to donate phones and one-to-one would be amazing, we would just have to charge $200. We have not announced any of this publicly as we are trying to get to a bigger scale so that we can bring the price of the phone down so that we can afford to donate phones (one promise we have to ourselves is that everyone in our factory should get a free Light Phone).

We appreciate your interest in the project and I hope I didn't offend you in regards to the Alibaba phone, but honestly it is a sensitive issue for us because there is just such an ignorance in the consumer attitude of electronics. Our iPhones should probably cost 10, 100, or 1000 times what they cost now if we are to be fair in the production of a phone. Also on a side note, I would never recommended buying a phone on Alibaba.

Please let me know if you have any more questions.
Best,
Joe


 :clap:   :clap:    :clap:    :clap:   :clap:
« Last Edit: June 18, 2015, 11:29:53 pm by edy »
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Offline edy

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Re: Light phone on Kickstarter
« Reply #40 on: June 22, 2015, 11:28:17 pm »
They are pretty pissed at someone who left a comment recently (not me!). Here's the posting. This guy must be a backer because I don't think you can even comment without giving money. Why would the guy back it just to crap over it?

Quote
Ivan about 23 hours ago
Hey everyone, this product is already in the market with a 1/4 price, it is not a new thing, I don't get why you guys are so excited. Search for SOYES H1, the below link is for the lowest price i saw, it's only RMB238 that is around 30 bucks.
http://item.taobao.com/item.htm?spm=a230r.1.14.3.WAkwQM&id=43382482019&ns=1&abbucket=15

And then the reply from Light just after:

Quote
Creator Light about 21 hours ago
@ivan I'm sorry something about our campaign bothered you so much you needed to write an angry comment. It really does hurt my feelings to read. Yes there are cheaper phones of all shapes and sizes but to say this product already exist, well I would argue that is not correct. I've never heard of a phone that is designed to be used as a second phone, that is so simple in its interface and aesthetic. Yes $100 may seem like a lot for a phone but then there is a huge disconnect with understanding how manufacturing actually works, our supply chain is extremely complex involving thousands of people, it doesn't seem even fair that a phone or any technology should be so cheap. One of our goals it to make consumers more aware of the full extent of the process. At the same time we are very small and dealing with a much smaller scale and putting quality above all else. We are providing software that does not yet exist as well as a new story and hopefully to make a real impact in the next generations of products. We just want to connect people with their family, with their surroundings, with their friends we aren't trying to battle for specs or price (besides when prices get cut so low one has to wonder who is eating those costs...).
Our phone is also just a way for us to start a much larger conversation, one that no phone that I'm aware of has brought up which is the role that tech plays in our day to day lives and the importance of disconnecting. It is a project and we are just people trying to make something that promotes positivity.
Thank you everyone for your support, and I'm sorry if we offended you, Ivan.


So the guys from Light have probably been deflecting this type of criticism for a while now. However, from what I understand this project is not just about the phone. The $100 is going towards more like an "experience" and following a story of their redesign of a phone, helping improve the lives of Chinese factory workers (who apparently they will be giving phones to) and showing what the "real" cost of a cheap Chinese phone is in their documentary book and the process involved. They are close to $400,000 with 4 days to go. Hope they make it. I'm not backing it, but good luck to them and their backers who "get it" as well.
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Offline Richard Crowley

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Re: Light phone on Kickstarter
« Reply #41 on: June 23, 2015, 01:54:01 pm »
It sounds like hipster rubbish I'm afraid. I'd love it if they actually did that, but I expect what they will actually do is maybe deliver a few phones they bought on Taobao and spend the rest on a nice holiday and a new Ferrari.
Even if they didn't abscond with the funds, what makes them so special that we-all should fund their education? They aren't doing anything unique or novel or ground-breaking here. They are re-discovering things that have already been done 100s of times by others. To me, that reads as either ignorance or arrogance, and either way unworthy of my support.
 

Offline Delta

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Re: Light phone on Kickstarter
« Reply #42 on: June 24, 2015, 07:38:21 am »



So the guys from Light have probably been deflecting this type of criticism for a while now. However, from what I understand this project is not just about the phone. The $100 is going towards more like an "experience" and following a story of their redesign of a phone, helping improve the lives of Chinese factory workers (who apparently they will be giving phones to) and showing what the "real" cost of a cheap Chinese phone is in their documentary book and the process involved. They are close to $400,000 with 4 days to go. Hope they make it. I'm not backing it, but good luck to them and their backers who "get it" as well.

Nope, they are reselling AliExpress stuff to idiotic ponces, with a huge mark up.
 

Offline janoc

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Re: Light phone on Kickstarter
« Reply #43 on: June 24, 2015, 07:22:06 pm »
Nope, they are reselling AliExpress stuff to idiotic ponces, with a huge mark up.

Well, likely the same as the audiophoolery stuff - everyone knows it is overpriced quack but that doesn't prevent the peddlers from making loads of money on it.

What bugs me more than some fools getting ripped off is that Kickstarter is just crapping all over their rules, because reselling existing stuff (even repackaged/re-badged) is explicitly forbidden in them.
« Last Edit: June 27, 2015, 08:20:55 pm by janoc »
 

Offline edy

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Re: Light phone on Kickstarter
« Reply #44 on: June 27, 2015, 03:29:26 pm »
And........  It's DONE!  :clap:


3,187 backers pledged $415,127 to help bring this project to life.

Let's see...

100 backers ($100) for 1 light phone = 100 phones
1875 backers ($100) for 1 light phone = 1875 phones
317 backers ($125) for 1 light phone = 317 phones
492 backers ($200) for 2 light phone = 984 phones
37 backers ($400) for 4 light phone =   148 phones
=================================
TOTAL: 3424 phones


Actual cost of Alibaba phones needed (AIEK M5 credit card GSM as found on AliExpress) roughly at $15 a piece:

3424 x $15 = $51,360

Difference:  $415,127 KickStarter - $51,360 Phones = $363,767 Remaining

So they have over $350,000 to do their books and shirts, redesign their case, and to work on the iPhone/Android app... still possibly a huge headache considering it isn't easy to do automatic call forwarding through an app on so many different networks around the world. Also if they are offering a pre-paid SIM with 500 minutes in certain regions, depending on carrier, we don't know how many people will even be able to take advantage of it. Meaning they may ship a prepaid SIM *only* to USA buyers and nobody else (assuming there is still a big carrier supporting GSM in the USA).
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Offline edy

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Re: Light phone on Kickstarter
« Reply #45 on: June 29, 2015, 12:20:07 pm »
How much is an Indian or Chinese developer these days? I have a colleague who is a dental hygienist. She started a "Facebook"-like site featuring blogging, time lines, articles, discussion forums, but the biggest custom work involved was a feature to allow users to "jobs match" by having scheduling and calendar to link up temp or full time job opportunities with user availability in real time. The whole site is built on modules that are commonly used on many other sites (not sure what the exact framework) but heavily customized thematically. She has a team of devs in the far east working on it for 2 years now, it has been live and growing users for at least 1 year, and she moved to California to accelerate it and get investors and actual major dental chain corporations to sign up for the service to manage their HR (none of this crowd funding BS). She is a hygienist, but with no formal coding experience. She had an idea to do this site for her own industry, and may branch out to others since the new custom developed modules for the job matching are not available to others. She spent about $160,000 on it over the past 2-3 years, but you would think a lot more based on how polished the site looks. So I wonder how many independent devs in these far east hubs can work for a fraction of someone here.
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Offline janoc

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Re: Light phone on Kickstarter
« Reply #46 on: June 29, 2015, 03:24:00 pm »
A guy assembling a web site on Facebook != embedded system developer.

That's like judging how much an EE makes based on how much train drivers (called "engineers" in some parts of the world) are paid. Engineer as engineer, right?
 

Offline edy

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Re: Light phone on Kickstarter
« Reply #47 on: June 29, 2015, 06:16:35 pm »
Hi janoc,

Yes true. What I meant by "Facebook"-like was not that it was hosted or run on Facebook... The actual site itself uses a bunch of already-made "frameworks" that make it function like some of those large social sites. But it is built from the ground-up using all of these modules.

I looked at the source and it has some references to these plus lots of others:

https://developer.atlassian.com/index.html
http://mootools.net/
http://www.socialengineaddons.com/

I don't know what the cost of web-site developers is these days, but her site involves a lot of sophisticated web coding, not just a simple site. It can't be cheap to put something like that together. She has thousands of users, the site has messaging, integration with other social-media sites, forums, user profiles and job postings, scheduling and calendar availability matching and a host of other functions (I'm sure all of which are somehow available as plug-ins or SDK).

So while it may not be an embedded system developer, her site is much more complex than someone assembling a site on Facebook or Wix (which I've used by the way, pretty neat!). Her developers are more like the people actually making the code to run Facebook and Wix, and her users feed into the site as well by populating it with their own social updates, resumes, event postings and making their own work/personal pages.
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Offline janoc

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Re: Light phone on Kickstarter
« Reply #48 on: June 30, 2015, 05:45:05 pm »
Hi janoc,

Yes true. What I meant by "Facebook"-like was not that it was hosted or run on Facebook... The actual site itself uses a bunch of already-made "frameworks" that make it function like some of those large social sites. But it is built from the ground-up using all of these modules.

Sorry, my bad. I misread.


So while it may not be an embedded system developer, her site is much more complex than someone assembling a site on Facebook or Wix (which I've used by the way, pretty neat!). Her developers are more like the people actually making the code to run Facebook and Wix, and her users feed into the site as well by populating it with their own social updates, resumes, event postings and making their own work/personal pages.

Sure, but website "coders" (as they seem to be called now) you will find a dime a dozen these days. Every high school dropout seems to be doing it. There are certainly good and bad web programmers among them but this typically isn't something you need an engineering degree for, unless we are talking massive scale stuff like what Facebook or Google are running.

A book, online examples and perhaps a training course is all you need to build up stuff from such modules, if the person isn't a complete novice.

We aren't speaking about writing just a few "apps" here - that phone isn't running an Android or some other "sensible" OS where there is a large pool of developers (even then the developers are hard to find!). It is a low level system so any developer will need to get their hands fairly dirty to make anything advanced to work on it.

Embedded programming is a very different kettle of fish because it is typically fairly low level, there are various engineering constraints ("No, you can't run your app at full performance all the time because either the battery will die or the phone will melt down!"), the development is done in low level languages like C or C++ (or even assembly), the engineers need a good understanding of the hardware they are working with, etc. It certainly isn't something you can just hire a kid from next door to write for you.

I cannot speak about salaries in Asia, but here in Europe web developers take usually low 5 figures salaries annually (this isn't Silicon Valley ...). The embedded engineers command much more - easily 2-3x as much - and that is if you can find one to hire in the first place! It is a specialized field and not many people have the skill sets necessary.

(I do a lot of system level programming myself, even though I am not embedded dev apart from my personal stuff).


 

Offline janoc

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Re: Light phone on Kickstarter
« Reply #49 on: June 30, 2015, 05:49:47 pm »
I'd be surprised if they could outsource the app to India because it needs to work on US/European phone networks. They will need people in those areas and with knowledge of those systems to develop and test the apps.

Of course they could, there is nothing special about the GSM networks in Europe. However, any apps are the least of the problem - the provided SIM card will do zilch unless the company actually signs roaming agreements with the European/US carriers.

Which is likely why they were saying that the prepaid card option was only available to the US backers or some such.
 


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