This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by .
Kite: Make your own Smartphone
Kite: Make your own Smartphone
Build a powerful smartphone yourself. Tailor it with maker tools. Take your hacks with you. Build the next cool and useful thing!
Build a powerful smartphone yourself. Tailor it with maker tools. Take your hacks with you. Build the next cool and useful thing! Read more
This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by .
Kite is a DIY kit that empowers you (and everyone) to build a smartphone, irrespective of skill level. A screwdriver is required, but no other tools.
Kite is a freedom project for Android. Our aim is to “open up” Android at all levels - its hardware, software and even its physical construction - so that you can create custom smartphones both for yourself and your communities, with complete freedom!
If you are a DIY enthusiast, Kite gives you the never-before opportunity to put together your own Smartphone. For the Maker in you, Kite and your “maker” expertise easily helps you build bespoke phones using off-the-shelf components. And for the wizards of custom ROMs, Android, 3D Printing, the Raspberry Pi and related worlds, Kite is your open smartphone platform for innovation!
A KitePhone (i.e. a phone built with Kite) is a powerful Android smartphone that offers a surreal Android experience. If we were to give you Kite right now, you would assemble one using the following steps:
A pledge from you will help us make a simplified and powerful kit: "Kite v2". With Kite v2, you will be able to assemble a smartphone in under five minutes, with a screwdriver and no other tools. That’s our promise.
Kite v2 is based on the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 processor, featuring an octa-core ARM Cortex A53 running at 1.8GHz. With this comes 2 GB RAM, 16 GB storage, dual band WiFi, BT/BLE 4.2, fast LTE, GPS, USB 3.0 OTG, a 3000 mAh battery and a 12 MP camera. All put together, you begin by making a state-of-the-art smartphone. The complete list of items in Kite v2 are mentioned in the FAQ.
Kite v2 will be compatible with a wide variety of Raspberry Pi HAT and pHAT attachments. This allows you to use hobby electronic components to add amazing features at a low price to a KitePhone.
A pledge of $274 (and above) for “Kite” will get you:
- Kite v2
- Designs suitable for 3D printing a basic phone (model for Poorna is here), and various enhancements.
- 24 hours of fun videos. These will include step-by-step “recipes” to do all the cool things we show in our campaign video, and more!
- Documentation and source code for advanced users
Our kit does not include a 3D printed case, as the files are easily printable at home or any 3D printing service. If you want an easy out-of-the-box experience, we will offer a 3D printed case with color options, as a $30 add-on during our shipping survey in October.
A pledge of $25 (“Video Tutorial”) will get you 24 hours of fun and information in which you can learn a lot about Android too.
If you like what we are attempting, then you could back us as low as $1 for a Freedom Pledge, or $5 for a heartfelt Thank You along with a mention in our contributor’s file. We will use these donations to give away all-inclusive free kits that ship around the world, to be used for education.
The Kite project is one of the winners of the “Open Hardware Design Challenge” of the Hackaday Prize 2018, the “Academy Awards of Open Hardware”. We are in the finals, and in contention for the grand prize of USD 50,000 !
Backers we Love
Some of our backers are already experimenting with Kite in their hands. We had shipped a Kite to Lexie, an enthusiastic backer from USA. Lexie has built a fab GamePhone with his KitePhone. Lexie has also posted a detailed build log for the same.
Stuart is a radio enthusiast and backer from Australia. Here is a short video review of Kite from him (Thanks, Stuart!):
Interested to try out a Kite ? Drop us a line for more details.
We provide simple to use "recipes" that anyone can use. Recipes are the key to let you build fun things like a piano, using your preferred DIY electronic components:
A recipe is a mix of a few things (apart from Kite):
- Any required off-the-shelf electronic components
- Designs that you can 3D print to hold the phone plus the extra electronics
- Assembly steps
- Android software images. You can install these using either an SD card, or a computer.
Kite is an insanely flexible kit. We allow you to change batteries, add additional electronics, and even change the antennas. Recipes are great ways to leverage the flexibility of Kite to make a range of useful devices. The below video shows how this concept differs from the well known “modular smartphone” idea:
You might be familiar with DIY kits that helps you build PCs, robots, drones, and many other things. Kite is a DIY smartphone kit - but it's flexible enough to build any of these other items.
Kite allows you to apply your skill to create new experiences in the mobile space. Students and makers can use recipes as starting points to develop their ideas. Researchers and professionals can develop their ideas on a powerful smartphone platform. Startups can use Kite to prototype their ideas without an investment. Kite is also a “certified” platform, so you can jump to make products just after prototyping (see the FAQ for details). Kite aims to free the whole mobile ecosystem, and make it available for a lot of uses.
Some people -- but not all - will want to use Kite as a primary smartphone. Do note that's not necessarily a replacement for your primary phone, at this point . It’s a great kit that helps you try out ideas, aided by a large community.
Joys of 3D Printing
A smartphone is the next great thing that you can make with a 3D printer. Kite depends on 3D printing. All images on this page are prototypes made with an "Original" Prusa i3 MK2. You can get countless hours of joy exploring various creative possibilities:
Here is a case printed partially with a "glow-in-the-dark" filament:
Financials of this Project
The funding goal covers the costs of hardware, development, manufacturing, and certifications for Kite v2, for 3000 units.
We know that the DIY community is price sensitive. To keep costs low for everyone, we are avoiding expenses such as advertisements and marketing. We are banking on your support to make this happen.
Once we reach the funding goal, we will start the engineering activities associated with Kite v2. We will also setup a community portal. Here are some milestones:
- July 2018 : First set of devices will be tested by us
- August 2018 : We will ship Kite v2 test kits to backers worldwide for testing and validation
- October 2018 : Shipping survey for backers
- December 2018 : Production of first batch
- January 2019 : Delivery of first 3000 Kites
- February 2019 : Subsequent delivery, start of mass production
How "Open" is Kite ?
Kite is “free” as in “freedom”. You can use a KitePhone on any carrier, and in any country (there are reasonable limitations, though. The FAQ has the details). A KitePhone lets you control/change the underlying software & hardware, if you wish to do so. Recipes are a start, but the real power comes from the underlying freedoms.
Under the hood, the world of Kite is a reasonably open world. Here is a summary of Kite's "openness":
Note that Kite does not include Google Mobile Services. We ship F-Droid, a repository of open source apps. You are free to install any other app store of your choice too.
We are a team of 20+, from iSquare Mobility, spanning multiple disciplines - hardware, industrial design, CAD, software, RF & certification, component sourcing & production. We specialize in designing & manufacturing custom Android devices for the industrial, healthcare and education sectors. Products that we are currently shipping include a rugged tablet, a remote medical scanning device and an Enterprise tablet, all based on the KiteBoard platform. To know more about us, visit our website www.isquaremobility.com .
For production and logstics, we have a partnership with SIIX, Singapore. SIIX is the world's largest Japanese EMS, and a manufacturing partner to one of the world's largest electronic toy brands. (guess?)
This campaign for Kite is a coming together of our collective expertise & industry experiences. We are an enthusiastic bunch of engineers and sincerely believe there is tremendous opportunity in “tiny” volume, bespoke electronic devices. We see a lot of such things in our everyday work, almost all of them centered around off-the-shelf smartphones & tablets. However, in all cases, the smartphone is treated as a black box, which is limiting in many ways. With Kite, we “open up” this black-box to enable a wider audience of makers, DIY folks start-ups & perhaps many others, to innovate & build useful products, both for themselves & their communities, in responsible ways!
Community of Kite
Kite seeks to build a new world and a great community. We are waiting to welcome Wizards from many lands. Feats of great magic can be achieved by Wizards from the Android ROM world, 3D printing, the maker community, open source movement, open hardware world, and the electronics hobbyists.
These are vast worlds that are fragmented on their own. We have strong hopes that we can unite everyone with their phones. If you like this idea, please help us by sharing this story with your friends and fellow Wizards!
We are on Facebook & Twitter: @KitePhone . Do subscribe to our YouTube channel for additional entertainment.
It's more than just a "smartphone"
Think of Kite as the PC equivalent of the mobile world. Just like you can do funky things by opening up a PC, you can do funky things by opening up Kite. In a hurry, just turn off your phone, open the back cover, connect HDMI & use a large desktop. We have a tiny HDMI board to facilitate this. Clunky, but works!
We have created a rich environment where you can use traditional Linux tools with hardware access. Program an Arduino with a full desktop experience. Blink that LED.
Kite is based on the KiteBoard single board computer, a compact module that can be powered by two sources: USB, and 5V DC! Battery helps to make things portable, but it's not required. Helpful for development:
We have a generic connector system for displays & cameras. This gives us the flexibility to support more than one peripheral on any connector, without changing KiteBoard. Peripherals are connected to KiteBoard with flexible cables. Choose your location:
Most Lithium Polymer batteries should work. We tested those cylindrical Lithium Ion 18650 batteries too...
Cellphone or Satphone? Never get lost with this Satcom module from Sparkfun, added to your phone.
Here is an in-car device concept. If you are used to heavy metal trucks and signal trouble, then you know what this is:
Kite is not just about phones. Here is an intelligent remote smart camera, with a PIR sensor for motion detection.
If you are interested in taking a deeper look, please note that we have already made available 3D printable models, electronic design information, simple instructions and software details for a few prototypes. The details abound, in our blog:
Kite has a page with some deep details & documentation on HACKADAY.IO . Kite v2 is the next step for this project, where we go fully open.
Which parts of Kite are not 'Open' ?
There will be binary software blobs for a few system components. These are the usual suspects: GPU, modem, WiFi/BT, GPS, camera, audio, and sensors(possibly).
Kite is an open hardware project. We will run it in a fully IP compliant manner. Note that datasheets of all components of Kite may not be available (display, camera, SoC, integrated components on the KiteBoard v2). We expect that the open nature, extensible interfaces, software and documentation will make up for most deficiencies we may have in this regard.
Powered by a Maker
That's me - the creator of this concept, but not the entire implementation. My name is Shree. My primary job is demonstrating how maker tools can be used to create DIY smartphones.
Computing pioneer Alan Kay said it best:
People who are serious about software should make their own hardware - Alan Kay, 1982
The best way to predict the future is to invent it. - Alan Kay, 1971
Risks and challenges
We are well versed with sourcing, procurement & manufacturing products like Kite. Procurement of LCDs in small quantities can be a challenge sometimes. We are already working with the right vendors to ensure we can deliver on time.
To ensure timeliness of delivery of Kite v2, we may push the schedule of the video a bit. If push comes to shove, only the first ten hours of video will get delivered in December. That should be enough to get everyone started with the kit. The rest of the video will then follow at a decent pace.
We believe in early & honest communication. We will keep backers updated with project progress, once every two weeks.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter