Project Details

Woman on her mobile phone

A consumer smartphone for the post-Snowden age

By Article 12

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Project Twitter: @indie

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  • Economic Empowerment
  • Data
  • Internet
  • Physical Computing is a plucky new entrant to the hugely competitive consumer smartphone marketplace – going head-to-head with the likes of Nexus and iPhone in terms of design but with wildly different standards of privacy and data.

It marks the first time the sort of safeguards common to the open-source community will be marketed at the regular consumer, and represents a genuine alternative to existing hardware, software and services whose business models rest on the assumption that it is acceptable to profit by mining your subscribers’ personal data. Or, as the tech mantra goes, ‘if it’s free, you’re the product.’

Instead, users will pay a transparent price for its kit, products and services, retaining privacy and control over their data and content in exchange. Unlike the ‘unhackable’ Blackphone, which encrypts data, works by decentralizing personal information – making it not impossible but much harder and prohibitively costly for third parties to access it.

While there are some phones built on similar principles already on the market, is unique in bringing this functionality – hardware, operating system and personal cloud – together with top-flight design and user experience.

Its very small team of developers, Brighton-based Aral Balkan, Victor Johansson and Laura Kalbag, call it ‘the next evolution of open-source… [bringing] design thinking to this area with the goal of creating consumer products that compete with the likes of Apple and Google…so it’s a great, beautiful experience.’

‘Basically,’ they say, ‘it’s a phone where people can own the tool and the data. Whether everything we do is shared with a corporation or not has a fundamental impact on our freedoms.’

The phone is currently in crowd-funding and not slated to ship till 2016.

Image 'Say goodbye...' courtesy of Jose Teller

Last updated: 15th of May, 2014

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