New crowdfunding campaign promises to enable backers to 3D print and assemble a powerful smartphone, and tinker to their heart’s content. Should you back the Kite on Kickstarter?
Now the concept of a modular smartphone is nothing new; efforts by companies as diverse as Jolla, LG, Fairphone and Motorola were bought to market with varying degrees of success.
But the Kite smartphone is pitched more as a platform to enable students, hackers, and researchers to build and develop a phone of their very own. And you can 3D print a custom shell to house your phone in whatever material you choose.
iSquare already has a working prototype called “Poorna” which is built around an older Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 quad-core processor.
If the campaign is successful, however, backers will receive a second-generation Kiteboard called as Kite v2. The KiteBoard v2 has a slightly more powerful Snapdragon 450 octa-core processor.
Moreover, the Kite v2 runs Android 6.0, will have a 5-inch screen, a 12MP rear camera, a 3,000mAh battery, and a good old fashioned 3.5mm audio jack.
But moving past the conventional specs and build, Kite has also demonstrated a proof of concept called the PianoPhone. As the name implies, this has a built-in piano on the backside of the phone.
In terms of rewards, Early Bird specials for $274 for a Kiteboard v2 are still available. A shipping date of January 2019 is promised. Thereafter, the rewards scale up to a standard $299 Kite on Kickstarter exclusive.
iSquare pledges to supply all the necessary components, software, and documentation to assemble the Kite phone. 3D printing parts from the supplied STL files looks to be most complex part, since the whole phone can be put together “in five minutes” using a screwdriver.
The KiteBoard v2 also supports up to two displays and two cameras for more advanced projects. Also of interest is the Raspberry Pi HAT compatibility (which is what makes the PianoPhone above possible).
So should you back the Kite on Kickstarter? An encouraging sign is the “Project We Love” designation from in-house Kickstarter curators. This is typically a solid endorsement of a project’s viability.
But what might hold it back is the ambitious goal of $941,000. Since launch on 23 April, the project has only raised $11,516 from 45 backers. It looks as though there will be a bit of an uphill climb for the Kite on Kickstarter.
And that’s disregarding the fact that for $299 you can get a significantly more powerful and established make of smartphone. That’s not to discourage any potential backers out there, but it’s best to approach this project as an educational tool above all else.
In those terms, the Kite is a fascinating idea, and we wish them every success. Visit their campaign page here for more details.
License: The text of "3D Print a Custom Smartphone with Kite on Kickstarter" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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