This project's funding goal was not reached on December 2, 2011.
About this project
Thanks for checking out our project. With your help we can realize our vision of delivering the first stand alone video phone that's so easy anyone 6-86 can use it.
It all started when... I was setting up my mom and my daughter on Skype so we could do free calls and see each other on the computer. I’m the tech guy in the family, so I made sure the software was installed, the video and sound were working, and the icon was visible—so it was easy to just click and call. I found, for numerous reasons, it just never worked out.
My mom always had some issue—the video would freeze, a message box would appear, or she’d unknowingly hangup—then she’d call me. Ironically, we’d end up on the phone trying to get a video call going.
And the video calls to my daughter ended when my granddaughter threw up on the keyboard of her laptop.
UfoneI thought, “There's got to be a better way.” And over the last year-and-a-half, I’ve worked on a design to make a stand-alone video phone that has smooth video and is brain dead simple to use right out of the box. It's called Ufone. And I need your help to bring this design into production.
One Touch ConnectUfone was designed for one-touch instant connect. Tap the screen, and it wakes up. Tap the picture of your mom (or sister, brother…) and there she is in her kitchen making dinner. Video and audio are high quality so conversations are natural. It's connected 24/7, resting in sleep mode when no one is calling. So calls can be as short as a quick tap to say hello as you pass by, or a nice long chat over a cup of coffee. It runs on your home WiFi network so you get free worldwide calling with no monthly bills or contracts.
PortableThe design was inspired by small barbells. You can easily grab it by the middle and set it on the floor in front of the baby for a quick hi Grandma!, then grab it and head out to the porch. Ufone is ruggedized to handle sticky fingers, baby drool and kitchen splashes. Turn it to portrait or landscape and the camera adjusts. The base has a solid stable feel and includes high quality speakers that project from behind the screen.
Works with Cell Phones, Skype, GoogleTalkWith the free Ufone Mobile app you will be able to make live video calls while you're out, so you can check on your parents, monitor your home, even send photos from your phone to other Ufone users. College kids or family members living abroad can call Ufone using Skype, Google or their smartphone.
Some SpecsUfone has an 8” touchscreen, 5 megapixel video camera, real -time video encode and decode, high quality noise cancelling microphone, WiFi, with up to 6 hours of battery life. It’s ruggedized, water resistant and at around 2 lbs, it’s portable. The chipset we’re using processes video “in hardware” for improved performance in video quality and battery life.
And this is just the beginning.
With built in Bluetooth and WiFi we have great plans for add-ons that extend Ufone. Things like mobile apps for remote home monitoring, elder care options like blood pressure readings and an array of cloud-based services.
So here’s where you come in.We are targeting to ship Ufone in Apr/May. Five of us spent over a year working out the technical details, writing software, and refining the design, in our own time. It’s been a blast, and we hope you are as inspired and excited as we are. We need your help bringing ufone into production. Your contribution of $250 essentially pre-orders a Ufone from the very first production run. And only the very first production run will have an artist edition version, with a stunning graphic element from a commissioned artist.
Whether you contribute $1 or buy three, please help us spread the word and share with your friends and family.
$750k is the minimum amount needed to setup manufacturing and to produce the first production run. The team continues to work on this project without drawing salaries, so your pledge goes entirely to manufacturing costs.
If we hit our goal, we will sell out of our first product run quickly and Kickstarter is the only way to ensure that you are among the first to get your family connected with Ufone. If we don’t hit our goal, there won’t be units in May because we won’t have funds to go into production.
If you want more details…
There is a manufacturing period called “ramp,” when the manufacturer starts production, the first month quantity is small, then gets bigger each month. For example, 5,000 units the first month, 7.500 the second month, 10,000 the third month, etc. This is why new products often sell out quickly, and get “backlogged,” because the company is still ramping their production line. Only Kickstarter backers and limited press reviewers are quaranteed units from the first production run.
Ufone connects with Skype users, and, with the free Ufone mobile app, Ufone can connect with Android devices and iPhones.
Ufone was designed to endure kitchen splashes, baby drool, and sticky fingers. It won’t go in the pool or SCUBA diving with you, but it’s ruggedized for family use.
Just about. You need power to recharge the battery, and a WiFi connection. That’s it.
Ufone will automatically work with 110 or 220 outlets, so no converter is needed. The initial production run will likely have a US plug so your friends and family living abroad will probably need an adaptor.
We don’t know yet but it’ll be optional, and we’re excited to work with artists on a design. Stay tuned.
You have a bunch of choices. Touch the “Privacy” button and you’re offline until you tap the screen again. I just turn mine face down. You can also turn it off. Ufone can be on all the time, but it doesn’t have to be.
Each connection between Ufones is secure. Let’s say you call your mom. That video stream is encoded when it goes out. And since your mom is one of your connections, her ufone recognizes the stream and decodes it. We use sophisticated encryption technology. Very techy. And very secure.
Our spec calls for 6 hours of video time.
It will be a surprise :-)
A call is placed by tapping the picture of the person on the screen. For example, if I have my mom, sister and brother on Ufone, there will be an image of each one on the screen. To call, just tap the image. It’s that simple.
When a call comes in, you will see a picture of the person calling and you will hear a ringtone. Tap to answer. It’s that simple.
There is an optional auto-answer mode. In auto-answer mode, when a call is place, it is automatically answered so you are connected right away. For example, my Grandma can set calls from me to auto answer. So when I call her, it just answers—she doesn’t have to do anything. In this case, it’s kinda like visiting her :-)
- (60 days)