Can you build a smartphone with free software?


It may seem like a very obvious question and many of you will know the answer. But with my question I want to go a little deeper into the subject. It is clear that IF you can create a mobile or a smartphone with Free Hardware, in fact, There are several projects to create a mobile using Arduino or Raspberry Pi boards, But Is it really profitable to do this? Can you get better results than with a purchased smartphone?

It may seem that the subject is simple and in fact it is. To our Raspberry Pi board, it is enough attach a data module and LCD touch screen and we will already have a powerful and curious smartphone. With the software there is no problem since there is currently a version of Android for Raspberry Pi, so we will even have the most popular apps like WhatsApp or Spotify. But What does this cost?

A smartphone with free hardware still has a great cost for the end user

At the low price of the Raspberry Pi (we can use the Pi Zero), we must add the price of the LCD screen, which costs about $ 30; a battery to make it portable that costs about $ 20 and a data module that currently costs $ 60 per unit. In total build us our own smartphone would cost us approximately $ 150, plus the time it will take to build it.

For 150 dollars we can find in the market more exclusive but also more powerful solutions and with more accessories, such as the fingerprint sensor or a 5-inch screen.

If we use components from other elements such as broken mobile screens or old batteries, we can save on costs, but the main component, data module is still expensive and face the price of the project. So it seems that at the moment we can build a smartphone but in practice it is a project doomed to failure. or maybe not? What do you think?

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