Author Topic: Light phone on Kickstarter  (Read 28841 times)

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Offline edy

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Light phone on Kickstarter
« on: May 31, 2015, 12:57:57 pm »
A new electronic device making the media rounds is called "Light Phone", available in Kickstarter here:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/thelightphone/the-light-phone

It is a basic phone that strips away everything else but the phone to save on battery and has a prepaid SIM and GSM only. It costs $100 for the phone and 500 minutes of voice-only usage. I don't know what additional minutes cost and whether you just plug in your own SIM after that or need to get another SIN and number from a local carrier.

I like the idea but there are some problems I see with it. For one, a phone that thin has to sacrifice battery. Even without a display it still has to draw power for the radio.

There are many "non-smartphones" or dumb flip-phones that can be had cheap for GSM unlocked and have a bigger battery as they are thicker. They last for a week or more on standby since the screen is off when not opened.

Look on eBay for " unlocked GSM flip phone" and find tons of options priced under $50. So what happened? Did people forget these things Lasted forever on a single charge? I have a few still kicking around that the kids play with and they last a long time.

The light phone has surpassed it's funding goal and sits at close to $300k as of this posting, 50% higher than the $200k target. Any takers on this device and is it really fulfilling any real needs? Or is it all for the cool thing look? Any thoughts?
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Offline janoc

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Re: Light phone on Kickstarter
« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2015, 01:23:25 pm »
Looks like a version of this:

http://www.aliexpress.com/item/AIEK-M7-mini-card-mobile-phone-children-gift-mini-music-phone-6-5mm-Ultra-Thin-mini/32282802441.html

You can find them for about $16 with free shipping from China. Moreover, that phone has a better display.

I guess the $100 on the Light Phone is mostly for the prepaid minutes, but even that is quite expensive.

There was also the "Gongkai" phone from Bunnie, I believe it is the same thing:
http://www.bunniestudios.com/blog/?page_id=3107

The "Light Phone" looks very much like just rebadged version of it, bought for a few bucks in Shenzen somewhere and then re-sold with a prepaid SIM card to suckers on Kickstarter.

If you look carefully at the images of the "3D casing" prototypes, the PCB in one looks very much like having the cheap OLED display module that the Bunnie's phone and the Aliexpress phones have, not that simple LCD they advertise. The board looks very similar too, with some minor differences - probably depending on what the factory got in stock this week ..

I would be also very careful about the "works everywhere" claims, because for roaming to work (for the phone to be able to sign into a foreign network), the operator that issued the SIM card needs to have contracts signed with the network where the phone is going to. E.g. here in Europe it is very common that I am able to use only one, at best two networks in every country through which I am traveling. If the "right" network isn't in range, tough luck, no calls except emergencies. So the backers could end up a with an expensive but ultimately useless sim card ...

EDIT - scratch that, they don't ship prepaid minutes nor SIM cards internationally, so that is a moot point ... So you get just that $10 phone in a custom case and a t-shirt for those $100 after waiting a year - what a deal!


Re usability and market for these things - I think there is a legitimate market for cheap, essentially disposable basic phones. Traveling abroad and your phone doesn't support local network? Don't want to give kids a $600 iPhone to break while playing outside? Basic backup phone when going hiking? Perhaps even your grandma would appreciate a simple phone like that. However, there is no need for that "Light Phone" rip-off, IMO.



« Last Edit: May 31, 2015, 01:51:48 pm by janoc »
 

Offline edy

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Re: Light phone on Kickstarter
« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2015, 02:50:24 pm »
Well that's what I thought. Why not pick up either a used flip phone made for your own region that is unlocked and can accept your existing SIM or a prepaid SIM of a local carrier? Or a new cheap simple flip phone made to work for your regional carriers? I have 4 or 5 of these working phones that my kids play with but with no service. Seems the target market for the LIGHT phone are folks who haven't been around long enough in the cell phone market to have experienced this upgrade cycle and end up with them or they have recycled them already.

Also how bendable is the light phone? I can whip the old flip phones across a room and they can take it. I don't see this flimsy thin credit -card sized piece of plastic with almost no battery capacity having any durability. And the flip phones have an extendable antenna... the light phone is going to have the same issues catching a radio signal and will need more power in camping and hiking areas where there is likely to be less cell coverage.

I just don't get it... and so much media traction and over $300k in backing for essentially packaging a commodity item that uses years-old tech in a new fancy form factor that makes it look sleek but probably won't cut it when you actually need it.
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Offline electr_peter

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Re: Light phone on Kickstarter
« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2015, 05:08:59 pm »
One can get old working cellphone essentially for free. There are also half decent new brick style designs from several know manufacturers (Nokia, Samsung) that cost less than 100$ and work very well. I do not get the point of such kickstarter cellphone :-// it is pretty expensive for what it does (i.e. should do), characteristics are poor, minutes are expensive... All evidence points to selling of re-badged cheap credit card cellphones from China.

By the way, cheap small cellphone is not a new idea. The were few projects (~2000-2003, not very successful..) to make disposable credit card sized cellphone with headphone jack.
 

Offline SeanB

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Re: Light phone on Kickstarter
« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2015, 05:15:51 pm »
Used phone for $10, I can get them brand new for around $15, and got one a while ago for $5 just in case I need a burner. for $100 I would get a used smartphone, likely an older Blackberry or a small Samsung or Huwei phone, though the smaller Android phones can be had new unlocked for $120.

Even the contract customers now get unlocked phones, which was not the case a decade ago.
 

Offline dr.diesel

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Re: Light phone on Kickstarter
« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2015, 05:27:38 pm »
Although I'm a technology guy, modern smartphones are a constant nuisance/irritation, I understand the desire for a basic phone only device.

Anyhow, ~2 years ago I tossed my cell phone in the trash, couldn't be happier.

Offline Richard Crowley

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Re: Light phone on Kickstarter
« Reply #6 on: May 31, 2015, 05:37:30 pm »
Wow, that is either a scam, or else it is being conducted by the clueless who aren't aware of what is already available.
Either way, I wouldn't want to have anything to do with them.   :--
 

Offline mikerj

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Re: Light phone on Kickstarter
« Reply #7 on: May 31, 2015, 08:18:06 pm »
When I dropped my smart phone and smashed the screen, I bought a Nokia 105 from a supermarket for £10 including a pre-paid sim.  This has up to 35 days of standby time on a single charge, and I never charged it in the two weeks I used it.  It's not credit card thickness, but who really needs that?
 

Offline edy

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Re: Light phone on Kickstarter
« Reply #8 on: May 31, 2015, 08:55:47 pm »
Quote
Although I'm a technology guy, modern smartphones are a constant nuisance/irritation, I understand the desire for a basic phone only device.

Me too... but... If you get a simple flip phone with no data plan on your SIM or account, there is much less to distract you. No apps... no media... no music. Fairly small crap display (compared to today's standards) and very small. My kids play with an old Sanyo SCP-8300. Unfortunately it doesn't take an external SIM as it is Bell branded. But it has been abused badly yet still works fine! And we charge it once a month! It costs under $10.

Yeah this "Light phone" is getting lots of media. But why does nobody in the media that reviews the story not make any comments to the audience about this over-priced copy of cheap Alibaba phones? They either don't do their research or afraid to be objective on any story or simply paid to not editorialize anything. I enjoy tech press that is critical and educating us about comparable options and not just fan boys or who need a newsbite. These products news stories then gets repeated by more and more media outlets without anyone stopping to think and be critical or ask the toughest questions.

Oh I found this one on ebay... The description is hilarious:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/New-Unlocked-Simple-Big-Button-GSM-Mobile-Cell-Phone-For-Senior-Elderly-Old-Man-/131521291711

New Unlocked Simple Big Button GSM Mobile Cell Phone For Senior Elderly Old Man...   :-DD
« Last Edit: May 31, 2015, 09:21:46 pm by edy »
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Online wraper

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Re: Light phone on Kickstarter
« Reply #9 on: May 31, 2015, 09:31:30 pm »
Wow, that is either a scam, or else it is being conducted by the clueless who aren't aware of what is already available.
Either way, I wouldn't want to have anything to do with them.   :--
Sure they are not clueless as without a doubt there is bunnie's Gongkai phone PCB on photos. As of different key locations, seems that those pictures are just rendered Edit: nope, watched their video, they just put a bunch of LEDs inside.  And obviously upper keys on rendered empty enclosure with LEDs pictures just aren't there on the real hardware photos. Also enclosure side proportions where real hardware is seen are different compared to those rendered pictures.
« Last Edit: May 31, 2015, 09:38:16 pm by wraper »
 

Offline edy

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Re: Light phone on Kickstarter
« Reply #10 on: June 01, 2015, 01:03:51 pm »
I sent a message to the Light project on Kickstarter asking them some basic questions:

1. What mAh battery are you planning to use
2. What is approximate standby time
3. What is approximate talk time
4. What happens when initial minutes deplete and how do you go about getting more minutes or SIM

I doubt I will ever get a response but if I do the first place I'll post it is here. Since I'm not a backer I can't comment, but reading the comments I gathered this:

- they are working on partnering with a carrier
- it works only in GSM networks and likely to be Europe and perhaps a few other markets they negotiate with
- the project has only 2200 backers so even if they negotiate with a carrier, how is the addition of these few customers going to have any leverage? Even if most of the phone cost ($90 of the $100) went to the carrier, this amount of money is peanuts to them
- since the plans are prepaid, if the users don't use the phone (the idea is to use it as little as possible) it will not even be a lucrative business for any carrier to want to work with them

There are a bunch of other questions. They say they will build an iPhone and Android app to "forward" calls from your cell phone to the Light phone. Neither of the 2 leading this project are app developers. They will need to hire iOS and Android devs. As well, how would the app manage to forward calls? Would it just be dialing a *72 type sequence followed by the number you wish to forward to? Does that only work for land lines or also cell phones? And would an app have enough integration and rights to access the phone? Questions questions questions!
« Last Edit: June 01, 2015, 01:15:02 pm by edy »
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Offline janoc

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Re: Light phone on Kickstarter
« Reply #11 on: June 01, 2015, 09:10:00 pm »
There are a bunch of other questions. They say they will build an iPhone and Android app to "forward" calls from your cell phone to the Light phone. Neither of the 2 leading this project are app developers.

Since when do you need an "app" to forward calls from one cell phone to another cell phone? At least in GSM networks that is a relatively standard feature, even though the exact code may differ from network to network.

http://www.geckobeach.com/cellular/secrets/gsmcodes.php

 

Offline edy

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Re: Light phone on Kickstarter
« Reply #12 on: June 01, 2015, 09:30:40 pm »
Thanks janoc.... Yes I see the codes are fairly simple. But you are right about varying from carrier to carrier. For example, in Canada for Bell it is *72#, and for Telus it is *67*, and for Rogers it is * 21 *. And these are just my 3 of my local carriers! The app would have to be able to know every possible format and code for every carrier and do it within the app. I wonder if there is any pre-existing apps already designed to do this... maybe they would license a copy of it, rebrand it and have the developer customize it to their company.

As for other phones... I found a few on eBay which seem similar and cost about $20-30 when I searched for "thin GSM phone unlocked" (see attached photos). I am guessing they are planning to source one of these already-made phones and just "redesign" and "rebrand" and "remarket" the concept in a more sexy way (try to make it more Apple-like) with otherwise minimal tech innovation. Just different packaging and reworking the internals a bit to change some features (like the display). The Chinese manufacturer can probably spin off a new look and get these out the door in no time. As for carrier approval, I don't know what rules or laws are but if they already exist and they just change the way it looks it probably won't be an issue.
« Last Edit: June 01, 2015, 09:34:59 pm by edy »
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Offline janoc

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Re: Light phone on Kickstarter
« Reply #13 on: June 02, 2015, 08:21:09 pm »
Thanks janoc.... Yes I see the codes are fairly simple. But you are right about varying from carrier to carrier. For example, in Canada for Bell it is *72#, and for Telus it is *67*, and for Rogers it is * 21 *. And these are just my 3 of my local carriers! The app would have to be able to know every possible format and code for every carrier and do it within the app. I wonder if there is any pre-existing apps already designed to do this... maybe they would license a copy of it, rebrand it and have the developer customize it to their company.

That would be quite a job, actually. I am not aware of such app. Here in France each network has their own visual voicemail and network utility apps that work only with their infrastructure. I am quite sure it is the same elsewhere as well.

I am guessing they are planning to source one of these already-made phones and just "redesign" and "rebrand" and "remarket" the concept in a more sexy way (try to make it more Apple-like) with otherwise minimal tech innovation. Just different packaging and reworking the internals a bit to change some features (like the display). The Chinese manufacturer can probably spin off a new look and get these out the door in no time.

I think that the only thing they are doing is designing a different case, if even that - the screenshots are mostly faked and the non-faked ones were showing some 3D printed rough box with the Chinese phone guts in it. It wouldn't surprise me at all if the final version (if there will be any) will look completely different and coincidentally very similar to those Aliexpress phones ...


As for carrier approval, I don't know what rules or laws are but if they already exist and they just change the way it looks it probably won't be an issue.

AFAIK, you don't need a carrier approval to bring the phone on the network, assuming it complies with the relevant GSM standards and doesn't interfere with it. Stick a SIM card from the local network operator in it and no problem. That was one goal of the GSM standards - to get rid of the incompatible handsets.

However, for the prepaid SIM card to work there must be a roaming contract signed, otherwise the foreign network will simply refuse to let the phones with those SIM cards  sign in. Which is likely why they are not going to deliver the prepaid minutes outside of US (or wherever they are) - the SIM cards wouldn't work and they are way too small fish for anyone to bother to get a roaming agreement with them.
 

Offline edy

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Re: Light phone on Kickstarter
« Reply #14 on: June 03, 2015, 12:11:45 pm »
They are at $304,550 pledged with 24 days to go. The goal was $200,000. What will be the final tab? If they need to deliver about 2300 phones at say $15-20 a pop each, not a large run at all to make a custom case or even PCB worth spinning. Will they just redesign the casing for an Alibaba phone? Or will they spend all the money and tell their backers sorry we have no phone. Or count on ramping up production and selling them in larger numbers on Alibaba but at huge discounts to compete with essentially the same crap GSM phones they are repackaging? So far no answer from Light.... They didn't reply to my email yet.

I'm thinking they will have to run 10,000 to make it worth their while to bring run costs per phone lower and then find a way to recoup the money from the overstock and dump it on eBay or sell it through some other means. Unless they manage to sucker 7500 more people into buying it for $100 in 24 days....
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Offline janoc

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Re: Light phone on Kickstarter
« Reply #15 on: June 03, 2015, 08:09:59 pm »
If they re-badge someone else's phone they will end up with the same FCC ID etc. Thus people will be able to see that they are being ripped off.

The people who actually back a project like this are not the type that actually knows what an FCC ID is and that they could, in fact, look it up online.
 

Offline edy

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Re: Light phone on Kickstarter
« Reply #16 on: June 04, 2015, 02:33:56 pm »
Hey look, another mis-informed technology blogger spouting the advantages of the Light phone to unsuspecting uninformed public:

http://www.techly.com.au/2015/06/03/light-phone-pulls-away-screen-moment/

and here...

http://coolmomtech.com/2015/06/the-light-phone

With 22 days to go on this Kickstarter it is continuing to gain traction. Will be fun to watch this one continue on to the end. Would be fun if someone got one to send to Dave for a teardown, side-by-side with an Alibaba $10 phone.

Hey look what else I found.... "John's phone"... wonder what ever happened to this one:

http://www.firebox.com/product/3997/Johns-Phone
"Sorry This Product Isn't Available"

Here they are on Amazon (some used ones from a while back)... pricey indeed:

http://www.amazon.ca/Johns-Phone-Snow-White-simplest/dp/B004D3OFQK/

It was around 4 years ago. The "Light Phone" is a re-hash... but now with tools like Kickstarter these guys can shovel in the money to the tune of > $300,000 to deliver 2500 of these phones (so far). I'm not even sure if delivery is included, but even if they manage to cost-in deliver and clear themselves of 2500 phones at $30 a pop, that's only $75,000 cost... Leaving these 2 guys with $225,000 to split between themselves. Clever scheme here.... I should look into being a Kickstarter scammer, seems to be a good job.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2015, 04:37:04 pm by edy »
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Offline janoc

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Re: Light phone on Kickstarter
« Reply #17 on: June 04, 2015, 07:37:53 pm »
Well, considering that Microsoft is still offering Nokia 105, they are going to have a hard time competing:

http://www.windowscentral.com/nokia-105-and-nokia-105-dual-sim-are-microsofts-newest-feature-phones

Dual sim and $20.

But a lot of people buy "wonder peelers" and "magic frying pans" at rip-off prices only because someone on TV told them it was great ...  :-//
 

Offline edy

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Re: Light phone on Kickstarter
« Reply #18 on: June 04, 2015, 08:05:19 pm »
Hey janoc,

Yes I see, thanks for the link to the Microsoft/Nokia phone That looks like a nice phone and at $20 it is a good deal. That's an unlocked phone for $20 ready to plug in any prepaid SIM for any GSM network? Wow! 15 hours talk-time and 35 days standby! The backers for the Light Phone will need to wait until May 2016 for their $100 phone. Smart! The founders of the project can deflect any backlash by just sending all their 2500 backers a $20 Nokia which has "better features" than what they promised.... they spend $50,000 and keep the remaining $250,000. Nice move Light Phone guys!

I did some more searches for "Light Phone" on Google News and surprised by the dozens and dozens of media/tech bloggers covering this Kickstarter story. None of them have actually bothered to criticize this non-existent gadget. I've posted where I could some comments to the bloggers asking them why they haven't bothered to use any of their journalistic integrity to actually research alternatives to this phone and what makes it a good "buy" for $100.

UPDATE: I just received the latest "Kickstarter - Projects We Love" email and "The Light Phone" is 2nd on the list, so it is being promoted by Kickstarter as well. They are now at $325,000, it went up about $20,000 in just a few days.... and with 22 days to go, what is to bet they will surpass $400,000? Still no answer to my message and I sent another one today...
« Last Edit: June 04, 2015, 10:55:51 pm by edy »
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Offline Delta

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Re: Light phone on Kickstarter
« Reply #19 on: June 05, 2015, 11:05:10 am »
I just don't understand why anyone would pay $100 for such a basic phone, given the range of cheap Nokias and Shenzen specials available for a fraction of that price.

Is it one for the trendy fashion victims or something? "I got this overpriced crippled phone from Kickstarter you know? I was one of the first people in the world to own one. I've got too much money and a very small penis."
 

Offline edy

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Re: Light phone on Kickstarter
« Reply #20 on: June 05, 2015, 01:07:59 pm »
Have a close look at the attached photos. The first is from eBay... a GSM children's phone for $20. You can buy bulk Alibaba orders for closer to $10 a unit.

The second and third photos are from Light Phone's Kickstarter page! Notice one shows exactly the same LED/LCD dot-matrix display as the children's phone! Then the other photo shows they ripped out the display but you can still see the PCB traces along the top that would have gone to the display.

So they are obviously trying to respond this exact phone but maybe working directly with the Chinese manufacturer to rewrite the firmware to function on a simpler display perhaps for some energy savings? Although with proper code they can have the display off (even the dot-matrix) for most of the time and minimize power draw.

Seems like the people running this Kickstarter are mostly very clever at design and marketing and raising funds. They are instructing a bunch of Chinese engineers remotely to meet their design specs by remaking an old children's phone. I can't even imagine how crappy the quality of this will be and how easy it will be to crack and break this piece of garbage.

The only way they can redeem themselves of this over-priced scam is to offer a buy-one donate-one (to poor children in various parts of the world). So you pay $100 but you actually get one phone and make another one get donated to some poor family who needs it. It would still be way over-the-top cost and the extra cost to the Kickstarter founders would be peanuts but imagine the goodwill they could generate!
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Offline edy

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Re: Light phone on Kickstarter
« Reply #21 on: June 05, 2015, 01:23:13 pm »
Here is the message I sent to Light phone... let's see what they reply:

Quote
Please consider this. I know the phone you are working on is very close to already available GSM card phones currently available on Alibaba for $10. Your development costs considered, there is a huge markup on your charge of $100 to backers for the phone.

However, you can redeem yourself morally and gain further support by modifying your campaign to a "back-one donate-one" model... For $100 the backer gets the Light phone but also Light will donate a phone to a poor family or child somewhere in the world (you can pick best place for GSM agreement and so on). You can also document all this in your book and video and make people even happier.

Your added cost would be minimal. You will double your production run size, BOM cost minimal... you can even donate the already existing $10 Alibaba GSM credit card phone. The point is, you will create a lot of goodwill and help not only yourself but others in a big Karma sort of way that may be a first on Kickstarter.

So consider back-one donate-one and I tell you it will totally change your campaign for the better.


They are free to do what they want. If they take this suggestion it will be nice, never mind other issues (like poor people affording minutes and charging options and general abuse of the system) but it is at least adding some positive spin that I'm sure the media will also run with.

They are now at $342,000 with 22 days to go. In the last day they added another $20,000. That alone could pay for 2000 phones for donation.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2015, 01:34:48 pm by edy »
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Offline donotdespisethesnake

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Re: Light phone on Kickstarter
« Reply #22 on: June 05, 2015, 02:44:27 pm »
I don't see anything about this that is a scam - it may be overpriced and a waste of money, but many products are.

It seems many of the negative comments on crowdfunded projects are based on jealousy - "someone else is getting money instead of me". We don't need to care what the punters waste their money on, provided there is no fraud involved. They are adults and can spend their money however the like.

Instead of whining, why not set up your Kickstarter project? Of course, whining is easier.
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Offline mikerj

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Re: Light phone on Kickstarter
« Reply #23 on: June 05, 2015, 04:24:05 pm »
I don't see anything about this that is a scam - it may be overpriced and a waste of money, but many products are.

It's a bit of a grey line I think.  At what point does marketing bullshit become plain old fashioned lying?
 


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.
 

Offline edy

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Re: Light phone on Kickstarter
« Reply #50 on: June 30, 2015, 07:48:26 pm »
Well we have time to wait and see what happens.... If this thread doesn't get buried, maybe one of us will remember to check in with this campaign in 1 year and update the thread. Let's see what the backers are saying once they get the phones delivered:

Will it fall apart easily like those SONICable?
Will it look just like a different skin on an Alibaba phone?
Will there actually be a working iPhone and Android app?
- and will these apps actually work as "seamlessly" as claimed to forward calls
Will the SIM work over a generally large coverage area? And on what carrier(s)?
Will the battery last as long as they say?

Now all we can do is speculate. The Light Phone Company now has to deliver, and they have the money to do it. So they can either spend most of it to make it match or beat expectations, or they do the easiest thing possible which will fall short of their promise, upset their backers and keep a nice sum of the money.
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Offline janoc

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Re: Light phone on Kickstarter
« Reply #51 on: July 01, 2015, 07:53:16 pm »
Of course they could, there is nothing special about the GSM networks in Europe.

I can tell you have never actually tried to put that theory into practice.

What I meant is that you can bring pretty much any standard GSM phone to Europe and it will work with a local SIM card if the radios support the correct bands. I assume that Mediatek (or whoever is the board supplier) knows how to make a working GSM phone.

However, I am open to hear any evidence to the contrary.

 

Offline edy

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Re: Light phone on Kickstarter
« Reply #52 on: July 02, 2015, 12:32:53 pm »
I predict we will end up with a whiter-looking Alibaba phone with likely the same display, and mostly same buttons (they may drop a few or claim as a "bonus" they upgraded the phone and can now feature it)....

We will probably also see a ton of photos and an arsty-fartsy book and Web site of their time in China including scenery, nightlife, social lives of factory workers, their families, cultural events and so on.

And finally, if an app (or 2) finally materialize, it may be made to only work with the one GSM carrier they negotiated a SIM contract with in the USA and only need to handle the forwarding call codes needed to set it up with them....*if* they can even get it to work at that level (I assume an app can be given permissions to control the phone and have dialing privileges).

If they manage to do more I will be impressed.
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Offline edy

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Re: Light phone on Kickstarter
« Reply #53 on: April 06, 2016, 04:35:04 am »
Ok... So just resurrecting this thread since we are about 2 months away from the predicted release date of June 2016. Latest comments suggest they are right on schedule. I can't read the updated because I'm not a backer.

I'm waiting to see what people get for $100 when they can buy the same thing for $25 on eBay (or even cheaper like $10-15/piece when buying in bulk quantities from Alibaba).

Is it all a big marketing gimmick? "Phone away from Phone".  :-DD
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Offline edy

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Re: Light phone on Kickstarter
« Reply #54 on: May 03, 2016, 06:32:28 pm »
Now only 1 month away from the Light Phone shipment to backers. Seems they are on schedule. A reminder of the main description for this device offered by the creators:

Quote
"A credit card-sized cell phone designed to be used as little as possible. The Light Phone is your phone away from phone."

Summary of campaign: 3,187 backers pledged $415,127 to help bring this project to life.

Here is the main bulk of pledges (the rest are for T-shirts, a book, various combinations of T-shirts and books and phones):

Quote
Pledge $100 or more: 1,875 backers

The Light Phone! You will receive one of the very first Light Phones. It will come with a mini USB charger, and a SIM card preloaded with at least 500 minutes. Estimated delivery: May 2016. Ships to: Ships anywhere in the world

One of the key selling features of this phone was the seamless "hand-off" provided by some app that was to be installed on your main phone which forwards calls to the Light Phone. It will have the ability to screen calls (Mom versus business call) and automatically forward the proper calls to the phone. So you would leave the phone at home, take your "Light phone" with you and only be disturbed by important calls from a white-list you create from your contact list.



Without the smartphone companion app, this thin GSM phone would be nothing more impressive than a nicer looking version of the AEKU M5 card phones which you can get for $15-20 on eBay.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/AEKU-M5-Ultra-Slim-OLED-Mobile-Cell-Phone-GSM-MP3-Speaker-Card-Phone-Alarm-Clock-/111762723551?var=&hash=item1a0593d2df:m:mnpghQ3ko_IC-BwrrFKqvLg

There are still a few unanswered questions as to the progress of this campaign:

1. COMPANION APP - Do they have the app to detect incoming calls (iPhone, Android I assume only) and how does it automatically forward some and not others? Is not call-forwarding something done at the carrier level, before the call ever gets to the smartphone? Usually you dial *?? on the phone you want to set up the forwarding on... and it forwards all calls until you cancel the forwarding. The phone you are trying to bypass never gets the call. If it did, and it answered it, how would it forward? The only other option is the app would need to be able to answer calls, get the caller ID, and play a pre-recorded message to people who are on the white-list to call your secret Light Phone number, whereas everyone else gets a message that you are unavailable. I don't know if apps are given that high level of permission to take full control of the phone. Alternatively, is there a 3-way call option being used here where the app on your smartphone will automatically answer and dial your "light phone" to connect a 3-way call?

2. 500 MINUTES SIM CARD - They still haven't answered who will pay and what carriers will cover the SIM card that is shipped with the phone. They claimed 500 minutes. They would have to buy prepaid SIMS from a few major carriers that cover several jurisdictions (USA, Europe, etc) that work on the bands that this GSM phone runs on (assuming there are still nationwide towers and carriers supporting it) and bundle it with the phone.

Those 2 MAJOR selling points are yet to be fully discussed, and in my opinion the meat in the dish... meaning, that is the real differentiation between The Light Phone and all other cheap GSM phones. That is what is "value-added" here and worth the extra cost from $20 to $99 for this phone (and waiting over a year to get it).

The creators have not revealed at all how they plan to solve those main distinguishing features. Otherwise you may as well have bought an AEKU m5 a year ago for a quarter the cost, and done your own forwarding (or just tell important people your AEKU number and don't let anyone else know about it).

Ironically, neither of these 2 features have anything to do with the actual phone. All of the work involved should have been in these 2 features (the app and getting SIMs) and you have performed a proof-of-concept even using an existing AEKU "as-is". Once that was working and established, they could then work to rebadge the AEKU to customize the look and feel.  :popcorn:
« Last Edit: May 03, 2016, 08:28:49 pm by edy »
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Offline Raj

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Re: Light phone on Kickstarter
« Reply #55 on: May 13, 2016, 06:41:57 am »
 :wtf:
Why would anyone wanna use it?
I have a rokr e1 modded, (for use at noisy places) and defy for (rainy days)
this phone fulfils no special purpose,why even make it?
 

Offline edavid

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Re: Light phone on Kickstarter
« Reply #56 on: May 13, 2016, 03:23:45 pm »
Do I understand correctly that this is a 2G GSM phone?  Have they mentioned anything to the backers about the impending (Jan 1) AT&T GSM shutdown?
 

Offline rrinker

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Re: Light phone on Kickstarter
« Reply #57 on: May 13, 2016, 03:56:53 pm »
 This functionality is more or less built in to the iPhone at this time. Maybe even in newer versions of Android. But on my iPhone I can flag users to get sent right to voicemail, blocked totally, or be allowed to ring through.

 

Offline edy

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Re: Light phone on Kickstarter
« Reply #58 on: June 22, 2016, 12:01:59 pm »
The campaign is now ripe.... Any day now they are supposed to be shipping to backers. They've passed their 1 year anniversary back in May. $415K in the bank (minus KS and other fees). Would be interesting to see the final product, functionality and review (especially if someone manages to post a YouTube video). I'd like to know how they managed to implement the "App" to forward calls to the Light Phone, and what kind of PrePaid SIM cards they provided (and at what value). Remember this was a $99 item.

I'm not sure if these guys plan on actually continuing production or not past these initial backers either. I don't think they have a market at that cost, and less and less so today as 2G networks are shutting down.

As far as the creators, a recent post mentions battery life:

Quote
@Ron
1. Battery life on talk time has varied from 1-4 hours depending on the signal quality. We are still testing/optimizing, but that is the ball park right now. That being said, the phone is designed to be used as little as possible so we never intended it to be used for very long calls.
2. Yes, Android is definitely supported :)

 :-DD  I like that, talk time 1-4 hours.... phone is designed to be used as little as possible...      Truth be told, that is  HUGE range. 4 hours not bad, but 1 hour.... and what about STANDBY time. Then again, it depends on the signal strength. Also, remember what kind of piss-ant battery is in this thing... Has to be very small and thin. If you go camping for 1 week with this thing, will it stay on and notify you of important "forwarded" calls, or die after 2 days? Hopefully all these questions will be answered soon.
« Last Edit: June 22, 2016, 12:07:26 pm by edy »
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Offline edy

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Re: Light phone on Kickstarter
« Reply #59 on: July 15, 2016, 01:31:35 pm »
When can we expect the melt-down to start?

So we are now past the expected delivery of this project (which was June 2016). Granted, it's not even a month after the expected delivery date, but the updates have left a lot of people wondering what is going on. I'm not a backer, but based on the comments people are getting impatient.

Just to remind you....

Quote
June 27, 2015. Successfully raised $415,128 USD with 3,187 backers

Remember, this is for a credit-card type slim-phone on a GSM network, the kind of stuff you could have bought on eBay and Alibaba for $10-15, more than 2 years ago. The "innovation" here was (1) an app that allowed you to easily switch calls to the light phone from your iPhone/Android main phone, (2) long battery life on standby at least, and (3) a $50 prepaid card for your region.

So for now nobody knows what is delaying this campaign, the comments don't seem to provide any clues and I am not privy to seeing the updates. But the comments do show a stream of people starting to ask for when they can expect delivery.

BIG QUESTIONS:

1. Will they have a decent app?

I am suspicious that they can make an app that actually works they way they say. At the very simplest, it should let you type in the number for your "light phone" and once set up, should have a 1-button toggle for either FORWARDING ON or OFF. For that, the app will have to turn on and turn off call-forwarding with the carrier, since the forwarding happens BEFORE any call gets to your phone. By the way, that makes this DIFFERENT from the call-blocking feature in the phone. When you use that, the phone sees the Caller ID first and based on the number it either lets it through or doesn't pick up, and the carrier sees that you haven't answered so that's why it goes to Voicemail. The "lightphone" can't work the same way (or wasn't supposed to). For one, people are supposed to still call you on your REGULAR NUMBER. Forwarding means your regular phone never gets the call, never has a chance to decide anything. It has to be done in the carrier's equipment. It is part of your cell phone plan features.

In Canada on Bell, usually you dial a *72# and enter some digits if you are on an EVDO/1XRTT network. If you are on HSPA/UMTS, you can do it in the phone... probably it sends some data to the network to turn it on/off, and you get a text confirmation. So I am not sure if their app can do this or not, how it latches in to the phone and if apps even can get that deeply integrated to be able to do this..... And will have to know the particulars of many countries and carriers, otherwise allow the user to set up custom dialing numbers, etc. I mean, if malware was able to do this, it could hijack your phone number and forward your calls to some pay-per-call service and make a fortune. So I have a feeling basic apps (except for the OS of the phone) do not have such power to access carrier forwarding... but I could be wrong.

2. Battery life on standby?

Not sure yet what the verdict is. Depends on your signal, I'm sure even in standby some "dead zones" will have a larger drain on the battery as the phone tries to lock on. Also, no word on the coverage for GSM and if it is going to be even useful to most people who live in countries that have transitioned over already to newer protocols.

3. SIM CARD

They claim to give you $50 SIM card. Again, this is a logistical nightmare to promise to people. So many carriers, countries, and how on earth do you package this with the phone? You are better off just refunding people $50 and telling them to go buy their own SIM in their local country.

I'm very curious to know what is going on here. I did email the creators of this project and they seemed to be genuinely trying to do something here with an "incubator" group in China that works with these types of crowd-funding campaigns. But other than a cosmetic rebake of an existing phone and a "marketing gimmick", I still see nothing concrete having materialized. Prove me wrong guys.... and good luck in getting this thing out soon, your backers are getting impatient.

[EDIT: Latest Reply from the Creators]

Quote
Hi Jonny,
The Light Phone uses Nano SIM. You are correct, the Light Phone is 2G only. As for adapters, we are actually only providing our custom micro USB cord to all backers, but even US backers will not receive a power block as we assume everyone has so many already. Please feel free to email me whenever you have any questions - info@thelightphone.com goes straight to both of us. Thanks again for your continued support and patience. I'm sorry for our slow response we are heads down trying our best to stay on track and get everyone their phones :) Much love!

Before they change the rewards:

Quote
Pledge $100 or more

The Light Phone! You will receive one of the very first Light Phones. It will come with a mini USB charger, and a SIM card preloaded with at least 500 minutes.

ESTIMATED DELIVERY
May 2016
SHIPS TO
Anywhere in the world
1,875 backers

Pledge $125 or more

The Light Phone, a shirt and the process book. This is our Collector's Package. You will receive one of the first Light Phones, our exclusive Kickstarter shirt and the process book. This reward will ship in multiple parts. The Light shirt will ship in July of 2015. The phone will ship by May of 2016 and the book will follow in June of 2016.

ESTIMATED DELIVERY
May 2016
SHIPS TO
Anywhere in the world
317 backers

I thought it was $50 SIM, not 500 minutes. Not sure if it makes much of a difference. I don't know what 500 minutes costs with the various carriers around the world.
« Last Edit: July 27, 2016, 10:52:24 am by edy »
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Offline edy

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Re: Light phone on Kickstarter
« Reply #60 on: August 06, 2016, 11:46:28 am »
We are now past the June 2016 delivery estimate, on this project which collected $415,000, over 2x their goal... for what looks like a rebaked case design of already existing card phone. So what is holding them up? Can they not get the software right? The SIM cards? Few updates, no details. $100 for a $15 Alibaba item... where is the value-added so far? We do not even have any publicly viewable updates showing photos of the final phones, screen shots of the software, etc. Any backers here reading that have seen any evidence?
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Offline edy

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Re: Light phone on Kickstarter
« Reply #61 on: August 23, 2016, 07:41:19 pm »
Here is the latest update in the Comments section to answer a series of backers who are growing impatient with the delayed delivery of the phone (not sure who Albert de Vos is, and how he is related to the project, since as far as I know it's Joe Hollier and Kaiwei Tang running the show):

Quote
Albert de Vos about 11 hours ago
Robin:
The less great news is that we are behind with our software development and will be delaying shipping any phones until those elements are complete. We spent the last month working with our team to draw out an 8 weeks launch timeline around the software and we feel confident that by the end of August we will have the cloud/app/and firmware functionality complete and ready to scale. We understand how frustrating the delay can be, but the experience is only getting better than we imagined and we know it will be worth the wait.



So, what to be gathered from this comment by Albert? First, I'm not sure how he is involved with the project. Assuming this is a legitimate insider who is part of the developing team, I gather they are trying to make their phones be able to handle the "hand-over" function smoothly when switching from a regular phone to the light phone, and back again. I'm still wondering how this will be done since forwarding happens through the carrier, not from your own phone once it is already ringing. The idea of having a "cloud" also hints at something here, since I am not sure why you would even need that option in this application. Certainly it is not for the Light Phone which is not going to have any data capability. So "cloud/app" for iPhone and Android? To do what exactly and how?

Any hint or ideas of how the technology is going to work from this comment?

Waiting patiently.... :popcorn:

By the way, here you can see them working with lots of photos in China, either scenery or from the factories. Looks like they are really trying to get this thing done on time. In the video you can see a lady with a Foxxconn shirt on, and the entire plastic injection molding line, PCB board, assembly, soldering stations, etc... Pretty amazing video to look at:  :-+

https://www.facebook.com/thelightphone/



PS - That is one tiny display.
« Last Edit: August 23, 2016, 08:00:39 pm by edy »
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Offline edy

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Re: Light phone on Kickstarter
« Reply #62 on: September 14, 2016, 02:18:27 am »
An interesting post by one of the backers of the project:

Quote
Bob Scarborough 2 days ago
2G phone will soon not work anywhere - happy for the creator to prove this wrong. But the outlook is bleak.
By all reporting 2G networks around the world are closing down to using 4G network, including the USA in January 2017. What are you doing about the ramifications to the Light Phone.
Australian 2G network closes in December 2016. Can you tell me if there is future ideas of 3G or 4G compatible phones to be produced. As of December the Light Phone will not even work in Australia.
Networks
As many of you are probably aware, Cellular network operators around the world are planning to shut down their 2G networks to re-farm spectrum for more efficient 4G/LTE services. In the USA, AT&T plans to shut their 2G Network by January 1st 2017. Singapore is one of the first countries in the world to have all 2G networks shut down at once with M1, Starhub & Singtel announcing a joint shutdown on April 1st 2017

Also, a backer-only update was released called "The Final Survey". Unfortunately I can't see it. But it's probably an announcement for the release of the phone soon and maybe a few last questions. But I found this using a google search... not sure if it is the same thing:

http://www.thelightphone.com/kickstartertest

It doesn't ask anything related to the campaign. I wonder if this was a survey from before or if it is new. Also, the latest Facebook feed shows someone asking about battery life and they responded 3-6 days STANDBY time based on the strength of the signal.

 :clap:

So to summarize, people who are getting this phone to use "away from phone" may only have a few months to try it out before the 2G signal gets pulled in their area. Whatever 2G towers will remain up (if any) are going to be spotty at best, and you are going to need to figure out what carriers in your area still support it. I guess the purpose of the phone being "light" is appropriate, because you will never be disturbed having this phone with you. Nobody will be able to reach you.  :-DD 

What remains to be seen is whether this phone has any substantive advantage (other than purely esthetics) over the 2G credit card slim-phones that have already available online for several years at ~$15. I am curious to know how they solved the "hand-over" problem using an app for iPhone/Android to figure out what numbers to forward and what numbers to block. My only guess is that the app is able to dial the carrier or send data to the carrier using whatever protocol they designed to set up forwarding. Except that forwarding is all or nothing... you can't program your carrier to forward some numbers and not forward others to a different number.

The only way I can see this working through a type of conditional call forwarding, whereby the carrier will forward if there is a busy signal, or unanswered call, or when unreachable, or always. The app on your iPhone/Android would have to be set up with a "white-list" to allow one response (like let the phone ring and ring) for certain people, and another response (like give a busy signal) for the rest. Your conditional forward would have voicemail set up for the busy, and the unanswered call forwarding to your Light Phone.

Anyways, that will be very interesting to learn how they solved that problem.... if they were successfully able to do so.
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Offline Kean

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Re: Light phone on Kickstarter
« Reply #63 on: September 24, 2016, 12:08:23 pm »
They're posting a bunch of stuff to Twitter apparently claiming Google has ripped off their "idea".
https://twitter.com/thelightphone
Well I think that's what they are going on about...  :blah:
 

Offline Richard Crowley

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Re: Light phone on Kickstarter
« Reply #64 on: September 24, 2016, 02:15:54 pm »
They're posting a bunch of stuff to Twitter apparently claiming Google has ripped off their "idea".
https://twitter.com/thelightphone
Well I think that's what they are going on about...  :blah:
They seem to have such a tenuous grasp of reality, that doesn't seem very surprising.
 

Offline edy

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Re: Light phone on Kickstarter
« Reply #65 on: September 25, 2016, 10:10:55 pm »
I think they've completely lost their minds. The Google ads are just showing outlines of a new device. Light Phone just photoshopped their phone design on top of the Google ad and changed the date to their NY event on Oct. 5. By absolutely no stretch of the imagination is Google copying anything. In fact, Google probably never heard of them. They are delusional!
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Offline edy

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Re: Light phone on Kickstarter
« Reply #66 on: September 29, 2016, 04:51:00 am »
What do they mean about not shipping their SIM cards internationally? See attached reply from @light, screen-captured from their comments. I assume that they plan on buying a bulk of SIM cards from a local US carrier, preloaded with 500 minutes each, and that will only work in the US. So anyone who bought outside US will not get a SIM card, because the US carrier's card will not be accepted by other carriers abroad? Aren't there international agreements where you can take phones to other jurisdictions and use same SIM? I'm not sure how this works. I wonder how many of their backers are outside US?
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Online wraper

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Re: Light phone on Kickstarter
« Reply #67 on: September 29, 2016, 04:55:04 am »
Aren't there international agreements where you can take phones to other jurisdictions and use same SIM? I'm not sure how this works. I wonder how many of their backers are outside US?
There are, but calls in roaming are very expensive. Therefore 500 US minutes will convert to just a few minutes at the same price.
 

Offline edy

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Re: Light phone on Kickstarter
« Reply #68 on: September 29, 2016, 02:09:52 pm »
Aren't there international agreements where you can take phones to other jurisdictions and use same SIM? I'm not sure how this works. I wonder how many of their backers are outside US?
There are, but calls in roaming are very expensive. Therefore 500 US minutes will convert to just a few minutes at the same price.

So shouldn't have Light said something like "We will give you a SIM card which in the US on the preferred carrier will have a value equivalent to 500 minutes anywhere in the USA (Disclaimer: calls to numbers outside the USA or made from outside the USA, mileage may vary depending on local carrier costs per minute)."   

Then you could probably figure that if you have 5 cents a minute, then 500 minutes = $25 equivalent value on the card. So for that $100 Light Phone, there is $25 worth of SIM value included. Now people outside the USA will not get the SIM at all? Then that's $25 scammed even more from them? They should either refund them partially or provide them the US SIM and let them use it for whatever value it's worth.
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Offline edy

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Re: Light phone on Kickstarter
« Reply #69 on: October 23, 2016, 02:12:55 am »
Am I misunderstanding something here, or wasn't the original reward including 500 minutes minimum? What is this comment saying it was originally 100 minutes and they are now offering 500? They always promised 500! See attached photos. Still nothing shipped... bunnie:studios should look into this.... Another HAX incubator /accelerator... After seeing that Shenzhen documentary by WIRED, I would think this phone would be done in a week! (ok a month or 2 maybe).
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Offline edy

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Re: Light phone on Kickstarter
« Reply #70 on: November 07, 2016, 08:07:12 pm »
The latest comment posted by the project creator:

Quote
Light Creator about 5 hours ago
Hi All,
Update coming this afternoon. Thank you for your patience we have been waiting to have a 100% confirmed shipping date which we are beyond excited to share.
We will begin shipping at scale on November 30th. That means about 1,800 (white) phones will leave that date and begin shipping to backers and the next batch will leave the following week and hopefully all of our backers will receive their phones by the end December or the early into the new year depending on the batch and region we are shipping to. The black phone will not begin shipping until the second week of January and follow a similar roll out.
We are so close!!
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Offline edy

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Re: Light phone on Kickstarter
« Reply #71 on: December 01, 2016, 02:01:12 am »
Some soft rebuke from Tech crunch. No sh#t Sherlock, we knew all this from the start. Good read but unfortunately still not enough:

https://techcrunch.com/2016/11/15/light-phone-delays/

Light blames "iOS" limitations for some change to initial user experience goals. If this is referring to the one-touch forwarding on/off feature, well we already knew this was B.S. and couldn't be done. Either they would need to know every carrier's forwarding setup codes and have the app be able to dial or have a way to interact with the carrier's system through data/SMS, if that is even possible. Or need to set up forwarding by carrier after certain number of unanswered rings (if call not answered by primary phone) but have app monitor called ID of incoming call and choose who to answer and drop the call on within the phone (therefore aborting a forward by the carrier) and who to allow to keep ringing (not answered) and therefore fall back to carrier's forward feature.

The article also brings up other criticisms and issues. Phone is supposed to ship now, let's see if it is just an AEKU Re-badge. The creators initially promised 500 min. SIM card, then backtracked and said they wouldn't ship a SIM to international callers, and also seemed confused as to their original promise of 500 min (see above post showing how they say it was 100 min. and that they are being generous by offering 500 min). Then there is also the issue of what 500 min. card costs and where it will work. If they are buying some US-only AT&T or Verizon SIM preloaded card, it would look like this and give you anywhere-in-the-USA 500 minutes:

https://www.walmart.com/ip/AT-amp-T-500-Minutes-Rechargeable-US-amp-International-PrePaid-Phone-Card/5634374

That card above expires after 365 days. If you read the comments on that page, many people complain that most of their cards lasted WAY LESS than 500 minutes, because if you call even to the next city or state, each 1 minute may use 5 minutes or more of the card. So it is not true 500 minutes of nation-wide calling anywhere to anywhere within the continental USA.

Anyways, if you shop around now for a SIM, almost nobody offers 500 minute cards. They are always denominated in the $-value to get around this poor trick marketing scam because many people bought 500 minute cards thinking they get 500 minutes, whereas if they buy a $-value card and they are forced to check the rates to see exactly how much each minute costs, and calculate the actual amount of minutes that amount of $ buys them.

The creators seemed to have brilliantly pulled off this stunt where they fund a year or more of their personal development in China to the tune of about $415,000 between the both of them, within the HAX/incubator system no less... and it takes them this long to produce not a 3G phone, but some crappy 2G that already existed but just a re-designed look, that you could buy for about $15 on eBay/Alibaba. Then they promised a companion app for iOS/Android that would make "hand-off" or forwarding on/off easy as click of a button, and 500 min. calling. We have seen some back-pedalling on both of these, so I can't wait to see what actually gets sent out to people and what features they ended up including and what didn't make it... like the companion app and calling SIM which is really the only value-added feature that would even make this phone stand out. You can then justify is the $100 price tag, over 5x the cost of the $15 AEKU, is worth those 2 extra features.

And they posted this to their public comments:

Quote
Light Creator 3 days ago
We will be explaining the minutes/SIM (US backers) and software roadmap with everyone in an update later this week. Cheers!

So that seems to confirm that only US people are getting cards, that likely it is some fixed $ amount that *may* give you 500 minutes if you are calling next door so they can claim they delivered a 500 min. card to you, for maybe $40 (500 min x 8 cents/min lowest possible rate for a local call). And the software looks like it is nowhere to be found so they are producing a "roadmap" to explain the delay in the iOS/Android companion apps.

I think the best deal people got from this campaign is the T-shirt and book offer which was about $25-50. It is a great coffee-table book of another Kickstarter scam.

Any day now some backer who receives their item should give us the answer.... how exciting!  :popcorn:
« Last Edit: December 01, 2016, 03:01:54 am by edy »
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Offline edy

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Re: Light phone on Kickstarter
« Reply #72 on: December 01, 2016, 02:43:12 am »
Oh yeah... I thought this was a cool shot from their Twitter feed.... maybe it provides some clues:



I just found this one on eBay for $9.98 US (with free International shipping) and they are still making a PROFIT! Wow:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/AIEK-C6-Ultra-Thin-Credit-Card-Mobile-Phone-1-0-Bluetooth-GSM-2G-Candy-Color-/282218521075?var=&hash=item41b588e1f3:m:mQgbwWK0dm7WyPJXxrSERLg

« Last Edit: December 01, 2016, 03:08:26 am by edy »
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Offline jonovid

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Re: Light phone on Kickstarter
« Reply #73 on: December 01, 2016, 03:30:42 am »
there is a market for a basic cell phone that is more like a old land line. for the disabled and the elderly, that has a big battery. basic phone call os , good antenna , big buttons with beep , bright high contrast oLED screen , good audio volume.
rugged polycarbonate exterior case. and cheap to own.
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Offline Delta

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Re: Light phone on Kickstarter
« Reply #74 on: December 01, 2016, 12:06:53 pm »
...so I can't wait to see what actually gets sent out to people...

A £10 AliExpress credit-card phone, and a pre-paid SIM card.
 

Offline edavid

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Re: Light phone on Kickstarter
« Reply #75 on: December 01, 2016, 04:02:37 pm »
there is a market for a basic cell phone that is more like a old land line. for the disabled and the elderly, that has a big battery. basic phone call os , good antenna , big buttons with beep , bright high contrast oLED screen , good audio volume.
rugged polycarbonate exterior case. and cheap to own.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/nextavenue/2015/06/17/3-must-have-cell-phones-for-seniors/
 

Offline edy

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Re: Light phone on Kickstarter
« Reply #76 on: December 01, 2016, 06:07:24 pm »
Yes, there are cell phones designed for seniors, or kids, etc. There is a market for it. Like this one:



But LightPhone is neither. It is small, thin (how easy to bend/break?), tiny display, tiny buttons, and supposed to be a "phone away from phone" meaning it is a separate line that nobody is supposed to know, but that the "companion app" they should have made for your regular phone could be used to configure who gets through to it and when.

But so far this $100 LightPhone project is a failure, more than 6 months late, incomplete or no software app, incomplete SIM to other than a certain subset of US users, using a 2G network that is going obsolete in many parts of the world. I call it a complete failure, especially considering these card-phones were around 2 years ago for $20. Shame on these creators. What "value" have they added to this project, except marketed a slightly different design of an existing technology to a bunch of uninformed people who took the bait?
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Offline edy

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Re: Light phone on Kickstarter
« Reply #77 on: December 21, 2016, 03:49:10 am »
So they release an UPDATE.... Wow, one disappointment after another. Sounds like more delaying. How long can this go on? Notice they say they are waiting until the new year... Does that mean they will fix the issue in the next 2 weeks? 2 months?... or wait until the summer of 2017 or fall of 2017 to get their software right? Very vague....

http://www.thelightphone.com/update

The above link says this:

Quote
December 16th, 2016

 

Thank you all for your patience and we apologize for the slip in updates, we've been back and forth to China & Taiwan from NYC multiple times.

The good news is that the first batch of 1600 white Light Phones was successfully shipped out of Yantai, passed through customs and has been sorted at our fulfillment center just outside Chicago. They are ready to go!

The less than great news is that we still aren't 100% comfortable releasing the phones with the current status of the software, and seeing as it is now very much the holiday season, we are going to wait until the new year to release the phones. We will have a more detailed update regarding the new app and our projected timeline.

Although we are holding these initial phones for a few weeks in Chicago, our friends in Yantai have not stopped producing phones and more shipments are continuing to leave the factory. This delay has not yet effected the international or black phone schedule yet.

We all are dying to get the phones to everyone. Our little Light family would like to wish you all a wonderful holiday season, we will be heads down and busy working on our dream job the Light Phone.

Much love,
Light Phone Family

So do they mean software/firmware on the Light phone, or do they mean the "companion app" for iOS/Android? Still major issues are how to handle the "hand off" or call-forwarding of selected numbers only when you want to go "Light phone mode", and what they are going to do about the whole SIM issue... which seems to be nothing for anyone outside the USA, and how much value is it really we still don't know. Not to mention a number of areas no longer support 2G.

You cannot blame me for starting to doubt the honesty of the Light team on this one. They redesigned an AEKU M5 style phone but promised some features that perhaps is not possible with existing way phones work. If they have the phones, they should release them to people and then work on the companion app software in the meanwhile. At least people can use the phone and handle call-forwarding themselves (although they will have all calls being forwarded), unless there is a "white list" which you are able to program in the Light phone, which only lets through certain Caller ID's. Or even easier, tell only your few most important contacts the Light phone number and let them know if they can't reach you on your regular cell, to try your Light phone. If the phones have buggy software to begin with, why did they leave the factory in China? And are they going to be flashing every single phone in their possession in NYC now with some update? What happens if more glitches are found when people have already received phones? Won't they just release some kind of firmware update anyways to let people update the device at home?
« Last Edit: December 21, 2016, 04:07:33 am by edy »
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Offline edy

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Re: Light phone on Kickstarter
« Reply #78 on: January 10, 2017, 05:05:39 am »
A few updates....  First of all, there is a new web site which redirects to the update page of Light Phone here:

whereismylightphone.com

Secondly, they are stating the following on the update page:

Quote
December 30th, 2016

 

We'd like to wish everyone an amazing start to the new year!

The first batches of white Light Phones have successfully shipped out of Yantai, passed through customs and have been sorted at our fulfillment center just outside Chicago.

Our software team is still working around the clock this holiday season to keep everything moving. We have added a desktop computer app to the initial experience so that we can seamlessly continue to update all the firmware pieces of the Light Phone itself. We want to get the phones out there quickly and work with our initial users to continue to iterate and this is the best way for us to do so in a timely fashion. We will elaborate on the new software experience we’ve been working on as well as the roadmap of what is to come in a detailed update in the new year.

Although we are holding these initial phones for a few weeks in Chicago, our friends in Yantai have not stopped producing phones and more shipments are continuing to leave the factory.

Some fun new readings we’ve published:
Kicking off Mass Production
The Light Phone Packaging


As always, you can reach out to us at info@thelightphone.com if you have any questions or concerns.

Much love,
Light Phone Family
 


Based on what I understand from their statement, they will be providing a firmware FLASH utility to allow users to update the firmware on their own as updates are released. I presume they still have a bunch of work to do for a custom firmware to allow the kind of user experience they were hoping to achieve with their phones (either the call-forwarding seamless transition or other features). So basically, users can get their phones already, and can use them for the basic calling functions. This way the development team releases some of the pressure on them and the frustration of their backers, and then has time to refine things.

As far as getting a basic phone, I assume that's a sealed deal. But what I imagine the user experience to be (based on their promo videos) is that a phone app on an iPhone or Android device would have a one-button activation of forwarding that would allow only white-listed numbers through to the LightPhone. The issue though is that to set up call-forwarding on the device, I am not sure if apps are able to control this. Not only are there different protocols and numbers between many carriers to turn on and off this feature, but even if it was possible, every call would be forwarded because the app would not be able to select who gets forwarded or not (since the call never will get to the phone once forwarding has been activated).

Another feature that may work is call-forward on no answer. So after certain number of rings, if call goes unanswered the call gets forwarded. The phone would theoretically ring, get a chance to view the caller ID... and if the call is not WHITE-LISTED then it would answer the call (again, not sure if an app could get permissions to do this). Perhaps it would answer and give a generic message. However, if caller ID is on the WHITE-LIST it would simply not answer the phone and after certain number of rings it would eventually call-forward to the LightPhone.

Perhaps the firmware they are trying to modify allows a programmable caller ID white-list so that the LightPhone does the actual control of what rings and what doesn't. So every call gets forwarded to the LightPhone but only the white-listed ones you get notified about (like custom ring-tone or contacts white-list). On the other hand, the software they are providing, besides allowing firmware updates, may allow you to more easily program white-lists and push it to the phone over the USB connection and manage the contacts.

It's too early to tell what is going on, but it would be interesting to find out.
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Offline edy

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Re: Light phone on Kickstarter
« Reply #79 on: January 13, 2017, 05:01:31 am »
Some interesting pages from The Light Phone creators:

$100 for a phone that does nothing:

https://medium.com/the-light-phone/100-for-a-phone-that-does-nothing-ae74ed88b8d3#.2hmrvpuno

Light Phone packaging:

https://medium.com/the-light-phone/the-light-phone-packaging-9714f022f895#.uv6baefl8

Mass Production kickoff:

https://medium.com/the-light-phone/mass-production-kickoff-589455636f61#.kfrcdf262


Reading through their blog posts, I can understand the difficulties they've had trying to put their phone into production at the numbers they are running. I can appreciate their hard work, and the artistry they are trying to bring with the innovative packaging which is an added value that was unexpected surprise. While I don't really understand the utility of this product above and beyond an existing 2G phone that can be purchased for $10, I do see why some people would pay $100 to feel part of this "experience" and support the philosophy that the Light Phone's creators espouse.

It would be interesting to survey how many backers actually even end up really using the thing. Will the book/package just sit on the coffee table or living room bookshelf? Will it be preserved as a technological collector item or some kind of art piece? I'm not their target market and certainly it is not my "cup of tea"... Nevertheless I can see how some people would see the value in this whole process/experience/product and contributing to this project.



In the photo above, looks like they are charging up the Light Phones just before sticking them into their unique book packaging. Lots of boxes ready to be shipped out on the left.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2017, 05:05:05 am by edy »
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Offline Kean

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Re: Light phone on Kickstarter
« Reply #80 on: January 13, 2017, 11:59:54 am »
I thought it was weird that a guy wearing a Foxconn shirt was shown in the second post apparently using a hot air gun on the spine/binding of one of the book "packages".  But then I saw they were using Foxconn for their assembly.   I'm astonised that they could get Foxconn involved when their build quantity (for the KS backers at least) is only about 5,000 units!  :-//

I think that whole book as packaging concept is crazy for a cheap electronic device.  No wonder their 2G phone costs $100 instead of $10 (or maybe $25 with custom software)  |O
 

Offline Kean

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Re: Light phone on Kickstarter
« Reply #81 on: February 02, 2017, 02:17:43 am »
 

Offline edy

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Re: Light phone on Kickstarter
« Reply #82 on: February 02, 2017, 03:27:24 am »
Great to see them in the wild. Looks like a bunch of people are reporting back their experiences in the comment section also on the Kickstarter page.

1. REGARDING FORWARDING:

So for now, the way they are doing it is "conditional call forwarding" meaning that if the original smartphone is not answering, or busy, or either (i.e. the 3 conditions).... it will forward the call to another number. On Sprint the codes are *73, or *74 or *28 (respectively).... then you enter the 10-digit number you want to forward to (The Light Phone number) and that's it. If you turn your smartphone to Airplane mode, it is out of carrier network and therefore the call will be transferred to the LightPhone number.

This is basically what I was saying earlier in this thread. The LightPhone originally intended (according to my understanding of their design) to create an app for your smartphone that did this, and for specific people. Somehow the app would need to detect the caller ID and "pick up" the call and play a message to blacklisted people (like "I'm away right now") and therefore not activate the call forward. People who are on the white-list caller ID would not have the app on the phone answer, thereby activating the conditional call-forward feature after the time-out of rings. Whether a phone app has that kind of control over the calling API in either iOS or Android is a different story... I am not sure if any app is able to sit in the background detecting all incoming calls and their caller ID, be able to automatically answer or not answer the call and play an audio message to the listener if answered.

2. BATTERY LIFE:

One user reports.... "The battery life is a little less than expected; 2-4 days on standby, 45-90 minutes during a call. But otherwise, I'm very happy with it. I will be using my iphone at work (I'm a paramedic) for GPS, medical apps, etc. But on my off days, I'll only be using my Light Phone."

3. DESKTOP APP:

There is a desktop app that apparently accompanies the phone. I'm not sure what it does... perhaps it is including a user manual and some way to transfer contact lists to the phone, or has instructions for setting up call-forwarding on various networks. One person commented that they made an NFC smart-tag for their Android phone so when they tap it, they associated it with a script that dials the *73 forwarding number and sends a text to a group of users that they are "going light phone", and when they tap the NFC smart-tag again it turns off call-forwarding using *730.

4. SIM CARD FOR LIGHT PHONE

My understanding is you need a separate SIM for the LightPhone, which means that you will have to sign up for another number and perhaps a pay-as-you-go plan to use the phone, otherwise incur a monthly charge to keep the phone number around. That's in addition to having your primary smartphone. I'm sure it is cheap enough to have a "dumb phone" account with no data plan, no text messaging, etc... but still it is a monthly cost or at least you have to load up a SIM account with some money that just sits there and pay-as-you-go. 

You could just pull the SIM out of your smartphone and transfer to the LightPhone when you want to travel around, but that would just be too inconvenient for most people. Seems like for now, with the call-forwarding feature you get ALL CALLS FORWARDED and not just ones on a blacklist/whitelist. So you will be distracted by lots of calls from everybody. You will still have to discipline yourself not to pick up the phone. Seems like it is just side-stepping the whole issue... sure you have no data, no apps, you can't browse the web.... fine, but you are still getting calls from everybody and you may be curious why they called you and have a "FEAR OF MISSING OUT".

It would be better just to give your short-list of people (wife, kids, parents, etc.) your 2nd number so when you leave your primary smartphone off or locked up at home, they can try dialing your second number and reach you on the LightPhone. That way you don't get bothered by all the calls that are coming in, and you also don't need to worry about forwarding anything. Just use the LightPhone (or any other dumb phone) and give the number only to VIP's in your life if they need to reach you, and can't reach you at your primary number.... they know to call the VIP number you give them if necessary (like having a beeper).

IN CONCLUSION:

Congratulations for coming through with the project. The art/design appears to be well-received. The book is a nice touch. The technology however, given the limitations so far on a number of facets of what was originally advertised, has fallen short. I am not sure if people received their 500 minute SIM card. There is still no smartphone app (but they are working on it?), the battery-life appears to be less than promised, it is still using 2G which is being phased out or has already been switched off.

This was an exercise for the creators in understanding the design, manufacturing, supply chain and marketing of electronics and doing business in China. They participated in HAX (https://hax.co/) and I'm sure gained a ton of experience. Let's hope their next creation has a bit more utility, value, delivers or exceeds specs, and has a longer functional life-span. Otherwise, I'd keep the LightPhone as a piece of artwork and a conversation piece.
« Last Edit: February 02, 2017, 03:39:58 am by edy »
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Offline Kean

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Re: Light phone on Kickstarter
« Reply #83 on: February 02, 2017, 03:41:34 am »
Seems like for now, with the call-forwarding feature you get ALL CALLS FORWARDED and not just ones on a blacklist/whitelist.

Yes, I gather the Desktop app lets you manage the whitelist on the lightphone and any calls from numbers not on that list will just not ring.  In theory it could then divert those to a voicemail box, but not sure you can do a double diversion.  :-//

So they just made some custom firmware, and packaged it up all pretty.  If it works well, then great - but as you say, it would be easier just to have a second number that you give out.

And I seem to recall these are 2G phones, so they'll be landfill soon enough  :-DD
 

Offline edy

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Re: Light phone on Kickstarter
« Reply #84 on: February 03, 2017, 12:30:25 am »
Yes, I gather the Desktop app lets you manage the whitelist on the lightphone and any calls from numbers not on that list will just not ring.  In theory it could then divert those to a voicemail box, but not sure you can do a double diversion.  :-//

Good point! You're right, that could work pretty well. You forward the calls and then your LightPhone screens the incoming caller ID's, and you would manage a "White list" either in the phone itself or using a windows program that interfaces over to it using USB. I'm not sure then what they plan on doing with an iOS or Android app, unless that was the original thought but then turned out to be impossible to implement.

Now if they managed to make LightPhone version 2.0.... perhaps make it 3G/4G, increase the thickness a tad and put in a good battery that really lasts a long time. I could probably make my own "white/black list" by setting a default ringtone that is essentially a "blank" MP3 file that would play for all people, except for those added to my contact list that I want to hear which would have a customized to a normal sounding ringtone (some music). Oh wait... I think they already have those, they look like this:



 :-DD

I mock and jest, but in all seriousness, I appreciate the design of the LightPhone. I just don't see the utility in buying one if it doesn't offer any better integration/seamless integration. If you still have to use codes to forward, if you still have to manage a whitelist/blacklist, what has been accomplished? I can do that with any cheap flip-phone, and it works on modern networks like the one shown above.

For me, aside from the "looks" of the LightPhone (and by the way, the AEKU M5 looks pretty cool too), the only value-added proposition was the convenience factor of switching from the smartphone to the Lightphone and back. I think the idea was to have an app ON YOUR SMARTPHONE, that would let you activate/deactivate forwarding at the touch of single button, and it would have a section where your contact list is displayed and let you check/uncheck who you want to let through. It remembers those whitelist settings, which you can manage and change any time on your smartphone. When you want to "go Light" you open the app, press a single button, and VOILA.... your smartphone no longer picks up calls, the LightPhone does. Then you do the same again on your smartphone and it goes back to normal.

The way it is currently implemented, I do not see any advantage in using a LightPhone and it seems you can do the same thing with any combination of smartphone and flip-phone just as easily, given the fact that you need to do everything manually anyways.
« Last Edit: February 03, 2017, 12:41:13 am by edy »
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Offline edy

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Re: Light phone on Kickstarter
« Reply #85 on: February 26, 2017, 09:46:11 pm »
Latest media coverage dated February 15, 2017:

https://technical.ly/brooklyn/2017/02/15/light-phone-new-lab-joe-hollier-kai-tang/



Some interesting parts of the article:

Quote
But the duo ran into a snag when it came to actually manufacturing the phones. Used to working with companies like Motorola and Samsung, manufacturers had trouble wrapping their minds around a very limited release like this. In fact, Hollier explained, manufacturers would be losing money making the Light Phone for all the time it would take to set up new systems and assembly lines for the phone, rather than using that time to keep making more big-name phones.

That changed one day in Taiwan, in a meeting with Foxconn, the maker of iPhones and other Apple devices.

“We pitched the idea and their VP of business development said, ‘I want this now. Email is ruining my life,'” recalled Tang.

Not only did the manufacturing giant agree to make the phones, it became Light Phone’s first investor, chipping in $1.7 million. Tang and Hollier would go on to raise $3.6 million in total, almost all of it from West Coast and Asian investors.

So this thing has cost quite a bit more than the $400k they obtained from their KickStarter backers. They needed some help from Foxconn and then obtained a bunch more money from other West Coast and Asian investors. Now they have a production line and need to continue mass-production to the point where they will start churning a profit or at least break even to cover the investors. I wonder how many they need to sell to do that.

Quote
The team has shipped more than 1,000 Light Phones to date and preordered 7,000 more. It expects that, come spring, it will sell to the general public. If all goes well, the Light Phone won’t be the culmination of their work, but the beginning of a new way of imagining technology.

“We don’t want to just make a one-off phone,” Tang said. “We want to make product and art that’s human.”

So have shipped 1000 phones. The original Kickstart page lists 100 early birders pledging $100, then 1,875 people as pledging $100, another 317 backers for $125, and 492 backers pledging $200 to get 2 phones each, another 37 backers for 4 phones package at $400. Adding this up we get:

100 x $100 = $10,000 (100 phones)
1875 x $100 = $187,500 (1875 phones)
317 x $125 = $39,625 (317 phones)
492 x $200 = $98,400 (984 phones)
37 x $400 = $14,800 (148 phones)
===========================
~$350,000 (plus some of the other non-phone backers adds up to ~$400,000)
Number of phones:  3424

So the articles states they delivered 1000 phones and ordered another 7000, for a total of 8000. They've got ~3500 committed to their backers, and another 4500 that they will try to sell. I wonder what channels of distribution they will use, if it will be continued direct sales through their website, and for how much (they can't lower the price now.... I would be surprised if they charge less, and they may charge more).

Now total the entire 8000 phones x $100 = $800,000 in revenue (assuming they keep the price at $100). They are in $3.6 million according to the article... how the heck will they ever make a profit at this rate? If the "startup" cost has been $3.6 million just to get phones out the door, how are they going to pay off this initial investment? Let's assume they turn a $70 profit on every $100 phone, they will need to sell at least 50,000 phones just to pay off the original investment. If they only make $50 profit, they will need to sell 72,000. Some of their costs may drop with higher volume, but still, given that this is a device that is already obsolete given it has only 2G coverage and fails to deliver on it's promises (forwarding/software integration) and is essentially not delivering anything more than any other cheap 2G slim-phone, who is their market going to be?

Will be interesting to know how it plays out.

« Last Edit: February 26, 2017, 10:36:16 pm by edy »
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Offline edy

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Re: Light phone on Kickstarter
« Reply #86 on: February 26, 2017, 10:44:35 pm »
Ok, their Pre-Order page is quite enlightening:

http://www.thelightphone.com/store/preorderlight

First of all, the cost is now $150.  :palm:

HOW IT WORKS (copied directly from above page):


The Light Phone only makes and receives phone calls. It uses your existing phone number and it is your second phone, a supplement to your smarpthone for those times where you do not need the internet in your pocket. The Light Phone can store 9 speed dials accessed by a long press of the corresponding number on the keypad.

The Light Phone is set up through a desktop app on your computer. Through this app we will text your smartphone a "Go Light" contact with two phone numbers that when dialed will turn ON/OFF call forwarding accordingly. Call forwarding done this way is a universally standard way of using carrier codes to trigger call forwarding.

A quick overview of how you will set up your Light Phone.

1. Turn on your Light Phone & plug it into your computer.
2. Download the desktop app: lightphoneapp.com .
3. Add your speed dial contacts.
4. Verify your smartphone number.
5. Save your "GoLight" contact to your smartphone.
6. Turn on call forwarding by calling that contact.
7. Unplug your phone and enjoy being light :)
8. Return to your smartphone and turn off call forwarding.

[My comments: The "app" is actually software on your computer, not on your smartphone. You plug in your LightPhone...it lets you edit the speed dial numbers in the phone. Also, when you enter your smartphone number in the app, the software will communicate through their server on the internet to send a text-message to your smartphone which includes a "GoLight" VCF contact card, that has automatically combined the forwarding # codes for your carrier with your LightPhone number. Then this Contact has 2 numbers in it...one that turns on call-forwarding and designates the LightPhone number to forward to, and another number that is basically the cancellation of call-forwarding.]

The App & SIM Card:

The Light Phone is an unlocked 2G GSM phone that comes with its own SIM and is ready to use out of the box. An active SIM is required because the phone does not rely on tethering (i.e Bluetooth) for connection, and it will work regardless of its proximity to your smartphone. The cost of using our service is approximately $5/month and it only works within United States currently. International users, please see our notes below. The Light Phone can also work without our Light SIM & App as an unlocked phone with a 2G Nano SIM of your choice.

[My comments: Outside of the USA, the phone is just an unlocked 2G phone which will accept any SIM and you pay according to whatever plan or pay-as-you-go or minutes you have. Inside the USA, the "cost of using our service is approximately $5/month".... is that a SIM they negotiated with a carrier to provide 500 minutes a month? or over the span of a year? What exactly is the plan they have given, on what carrier, and what do you get? They promised 500 minutes so is that free and then once you've used those minutes you pay $5/month? Details please...]

..... Oh one more thing ....

If they are in this hole by $3.6 million just to make 3500 phones so far, that offer nothing innovative and cost 3-5x what is already available on the market, that's about $1000 per phone made thus far. You gotta be kidding me.  :palm:   You can buy 2G thin phones for $20-30 (or less) on eBay/Alibaba with free shipping. You can even buy 3G Nokia feature-phones for $50. I just don't get it... what did investors think when they looked at this as a viable business?

PLUS.... NO MENTION AT ALL on how they enriched any of those factory workers lives. Didn't they say they were going to give phones to the factory workers, or somehow write about how the phones are made in their book or give a candid glimpse on the living and working conditions of people in China? In my early discussion with them, they sounded like they were not just making a $100 rip-off of a $20 phone, but that it was more of a "statement" and socially-responsible project to inform the rich populations who are buying these things on how things are done over there. Does their book have any mention of it, or just nice photos? Do they have a documentary or videos? Interviews with their Chinese factory workers? I've seen nothing except small tidbits from that other guy (Andrew "Bunnie" Huang) on the recycling/cellphone documentary YouTube video I linked before. The Light Phone hasn't done anything that I've seen... and now that they are "in bed" and in deep debt doo-doo with Foxxconn, I am certain the story will be very different. The last thing they will want to do is hurt the image of one of their main investors, so how can we be sure about anything they tell us about the factories there?

They have mentioned a few things in their MANIFESTO and PROCESS:

https://medium.com/the-light-phone/100-for-a-phone-that-does-nothing-ae74ed88b8d3#.5pb33uwdp

"There is no way a phone should ever cost $10 as people have suggested to us, that just cannot be right. "

(Yet it is possible, we see it on eBay and Alibaba. Why not explain to us how this is so? Why it is not right, and why your phone has changed that)

"We think we can add value to this conversation by showing the true nature of the manufacturing process at our scale. The ecosystem is much more complicated than we can realize as consumers, and there are many factors that are not obvious to us as outsiders. Why are people lining up to try to get jobs at factories that we consider a terrible working condition?"

(Good question, why not tell us the answer. From your experience what have you found? Can you divulge anything now or will this upset Foxconn)

"We’re going to provide an understanding of what and who is involved in bringing new models to market every year at such an incredibly competitive price points. It is unsustainable for many reasons, but especially for the environment. We believe by making this information available we might have a deeper appreciation for the technology we already have, and begin to think twice as we continue to consume more so quickly."

(Yes, except that you just created a phone that is going to be landfill or is already landfill by making it 2G instead of at least 3G or even 4G)

"We also want to pose the question, shouldn’t we, the companies and consumers that are benefiting from the hard work of these employees, be responsible for improving their lives too? We can chose to not think about them often, but they are real people with stories too."

(And so what have you done to showcase the lives of your factory workers... A few photos of these guys on a blog post, here and there. But what about their actual stories, how they grew up, their educational background, family, wages, their living conditions, how many hours they work a day, etc.... What about giving them more money? Is Foxconn paying them or is LightPhone agreeing to pay them more money? Is that $10 phone that you are now selling for $150 because the wage of the factory worker making it has gone up, or is it to pay your rich investors?)

Come on LightPhone guys... You've done an incredible thing making this limited release phone and using a major corporation to do it, but this was never really about the phone. I would argue that the only reason people would shell out 10x more money for this product was because they thought they were making a social impact or at least getting some education of what goes on over there, yet you have kept things in the shadows and your entire foundation is now in question as your company is heavily indebted to Foxxconn given that you accepted a huge amount of investment from them. How is anyone going to trust what you tell us?

« Last Edit: February 27, 2017, 02:46:40 am by edy »
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Offline edy

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Re: Light phone on Kickstarter
« Reply #87 on: March 02, 2017, 02:28:37 am »
Light Phone KILLER!  New Nokia 3310:

$52
Dual SIM
1 month on standby
"Dumbphone" (no apps)
Sadly, still 2G....  :palm:

... but I'd rather carry around one of these than a LightPhone. Seems much more durable as well, less likely to bend in a pocket, longer battery life, much better features and screen, all around kills the LightPhone yet still delivers the same "unplugged" from the world feel and you just do your own forwarding setup anyways.



MORE INFO:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4261634/Nokia-brings-old-classic-3310-model-17-YEARS.html
« Last Edit: March 02, 2017, 02:33:30 am by edy »
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