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Crafting your own smartphone?

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 
Yes the title is correct, I have been toying with the idea of possibly crafting my own cellphone all day in class. I haven't done a lot of research yet, but I feel like it shouldn't be too unreasonable to do with enough time, patience, and money. I am mostly looking for any input from OCN that may help guide this idea into an actual project. This thread is mostly a way for me to piece together all the ideas, components, and potential problems so I can better assess what I will need to accomplish this. So please post any advice, ideas, links, potential roadblocks, anything at all that may help in making this happen. Before anyone says it is going to cost way more then a new phone would, I know. I am completely ok with this. We are enthusiasts here, and because of that we all enjoy a challenge and are ok with spending more then the average consumer to achieve what we want. So lets cut to the chase, here is a general list of things I know will be needed to make this happen.

-COMPONENTS-

  1. Some type of mobo (most likely will have to be custom made)
  2. The CPU (haven't researched enough to know what I want in it, but lots of options)
  3. Ram (not enough research has been done on my part yet, hoping for some help here)
  4. Screen (no idea on this one, might try and use my old Galaxy Nexus screen, might just get one made. Very little knowledge on this)
  5. Case (definitely will have this one custom made, last thing I am worried about tho)
  6. Camera (just a rear facing camera, I don't see any point in a front facing one. Probably just use one from an old phone)
  7. Speakers (Nothing fancy, again will probably try and reuse some old parts)
  8. An OS (probably a customROM based on JB, but who knows what the possibilities could be. A light version of UNIX maybe?)


Cellular Receiver - This is the biggest problem I foresee. Not sure how these actually work, but I know I can't just ask verizon to give me whatever I need to access to their towers. That would have to jeopardize their security in some way, so I am going to have to find a workaround. Figured I could use an old phone again to get the cellular receiver hardware, but have no idea how the actual component functions. Assuming there is software associated with it that allows it to communicate with the towers, so this might be the major roadblock in my idea. If thats the case, I would have to pretty much decompile the entire JB OS and figure out how it works which is wayyy over my head currently. But thats where the time and patience comes in I guess. I would need to hear more about this tho before even attempting it to see if it is even feasible.


This is as far as I have really gotten since the receiver is going to be my biggest hurdle. Once I realized that I pretty much just started thinking of workaround and haven't seen any point in going farther until I can get past this. So please, OCN lets see if we can make this idea a reality.
Edited by xRehab - 11/26/12 at 4:05pm
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post #2 of 32
Some type of mobo (most likely will have to be custom made)
- custom print your own PCB

The CPU (haven't researched enough to know what I want in it, but lots of options)
- AMTEL Cortex 9 or above

Ram (not enough research has been done on my part yet, hoping for some help here)
- Might be the hardest thing to get ever. Mem-modules are hard to find.

Screen (no idea on this one, might try and use my old Galaxy Nexus screen, might just get one made. Very little knowledge on this)
- Standard touch screen LCD (( check SparkFun ))

Case (definitely will have this one custom made, last thing I am worried about tho)
- Depends on your likings

Camera (just a rear facing camera, I don't see any point in a front facing one. Probably just use one from an old phone)
- They sell cell phone camera modules individually, so i guess you can experiment.

Speakers (Nothing fancy, again will probably try and reuse some old parts)
- Really don't know about this one.

An OS (probably a customROM based on JB, but who knows what the possibilities could be. A light version of UNIX maybe?)
- Could use android, could use linux. depends on the Cortex core you get.

source: me- I used to have contacts with all of these major manufacturers such as amtel- which usually sends me a copy of each Cortex core.

Obviously your prototype might be a little bulky, but once your happy with your components you can have a manufacturer print and put the pieces together.

though its kinda hard to get small batches of printed PCB (( usually have to order 1000 pieces per order )) i mean you can make your own at home if you have a ink-jet however.

anyways subbed, kinda interested. I never really got anywhere past dev-boards and sample pieces.
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[ WOMD ] Rainuke
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post #3 of 32
Thread Starter 
First, thanks for all the info. You have given me a great place to start, and after just glancing at a few sites this may be a lot cheaper then I expected. Well not cheap, but I was expecting it to cost me $1000+ to do this build. We may still hit that mark, but hopefully we can keep it under. But a few questions for you

Are you referring to the SAM9x series? I was looking through here, and see a lot of options. Going to do some more research over the next few days as to what I will need in the CPU but it looks like I will be using an ATMEL chip.

Don't know much about printing PCBs but I have been told it isn't as hard as it seems. I work for a best buy so I can get my hands on the correct printer no problem. Just going to have to research some more.

Any thoughts on connecting to the Verizon network, and what problems I may run into? I can't be as simple as ripping out some old components from my old phone. Also, I am sure I will have to activate it somehow and idk how Verizon will feel about a custom phone on their network...
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post #4 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by xRehab View Post

First, thanks for all the info. You have given me a great place to start, and after just glancing at a few sites this may be a lot cheaper then I expected. Well not cheap, but I was expecting it to cost me $1000+ to do this build. We may still hit that mark, but hopefully we can keep it under. But a few questions for you
Are you referring to the SAM9x series? I was looking through here, and see a lot of options. Going to do some more research over the next few days as to what I will need in the CPU but it looks like I will be using an ATMEL chip.
Don't know much about printing PCBs but I have been told it isn't as hard as it seems. I work for a best buy so I can get my hands on the correct printer no problem. Just going to have to research some more.
Any thoughts on connecting to the Verizon network, and what problems I may run into? I can't be as simple as ripping out some old components from my old phone. Also, I am sure I will have to activate it somehow and idk how Verizon will feel about a custom phone on their network...

not to blow your thunder, but if you're saying what I think you're saying, you're in for a lot of hurt.

oh and having a custom phone on a network = Jail
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post #5 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by lacrossewacker View Post

not to blow your thunder, but if you're saying what I think you're saying, you're in for a lot of hurt.
oh and having a custom phone on a network = Jail

Jail.... why? you buy their service, its the equivalent of me going down to walmart and picking up any GSM phone lol, do you know how many china bootlegs people have? lol like the Iphone 9000 for 50 dollars (( friend brought one back from china, works fine, but obviously doesn't support IOS apps lol ))
Quote:
Originally Posted by xRehab View Post

First, thanks for all the info. You have given me a great place to start, and after just glancing at a few sites this may be a lot cheaper then I expected. Well not cheap, but I was expecting it to cost me $1000+ to do this build. We may still hit that mark, but hopefully we can keep it under. But a few questions for you
Are you referring to the SAM9x series? I was looking through here, and see a lot of options. Going to do some more research over the next few days as to what I will need in the CPU but it looks like I will be using an ATMEL chip.
Don't know much about printing PCBs but I have been told it isn't as hard as it seems. I work for a best buy so I can get my hands on the correct printer no problem. Just going to have to research some more.
Any thoughts on connecting to the Verizon network, and what problems I may run into? I can't be as simple as ripping out some old components from my old phone. Also, I am sure I will have to activate it somehow and idk how Verizon will feel about a custom phone on their network...

I might have given a bit of misinformation, sorry, I need to reconfirm, Texas Instruments gave me the Arm Cortex's

http://www.ti.com/lsds/ti/arm/overview.page?DCMP=TIHeaderTracking&HQS=hdr_p_arm A9 was the last series I got.

Maybe you'll make the first phone with a interchangable SO-DIMM?
Edited by kyismaster - 11/26/12 at 6:33pm
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[ WOMD ] Rainuke
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post #6 of 32
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lacrossewacker View Post

not to blow your thunder, but if you're saying what I think you're saying, you're in for a lot of hurt.
oh and having a custom phone on a network = Jail
like I said, this was more of an idea that I wanted to see if I could turn into a reality. Still in early concept stage, so idk a lot about what I will need to be doing to make this happen. This is the start, who knows what will happen from here

And as for having a custom phone on the network, I didn't think it would constitute jail time. Just would be hard to get it activated. If it is jail time, could you please cite the source and tell me what law I would be breaking, because I was under the impression it was more of a grey area. Like kyismaster said, people buy Chinese bootlegs all the time and they activate perfectly fine on the network even though they are ripoffs and not legitimate phones. - edit so I don't sound like a dick - Not saying you're wrong, just wanted a source to say definitively that it was legal/illegal and save myself some time on an idea that will never blossom. If that's the case, I'll just start building my racing sim I have in mind tongue.gif mmm triple wide Catleaps with a handbrake mod on a fanatec setup. Damn I wish I had $2k to blow tonight

@ Kyismaster - thanks for the link, I will be sure to check those out in the morning. Just got back from a 21st birthday party at the bar... I'm sure you can guess that my motivation to research this is completely gone. As for the interchangeable SO-DIMM, why not? I mean if this actually becomes a project I don't want to recreate what I can buy instore, I want something better. Something only I will have, and that makes your standard consumer product look like a child's toy. With OCN behind this, the sky truly is the limit.
Edited by xRehab - 11/26/12 at 10:12pm
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post #7 of 32
Reminds me of the parody i made on watercooling the iphone. lachen.gif
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post #8 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by kyismaster View Post

Jail.... why? you buy their service, its the equivalent of me going down to walmart and picking up any GSM phone lol, do you know how many china bootlegs people have? lol like the Iphone 9000 for 50 dollars (( friend brought one back from china, works fine, but obviously doesn't support IOS apps lol ))
I might have given a bit of misinformation, sorry, I need to reconfirm, Texas Instruments gave me the Arm Cortex's
http://www.ti.com/lsds/ti/arm/overview.page?DCMP=TIHeaderTracking&HQS=hdr_p_arm A9 was the last series I got.
Maybe you'll make the first phone with a interchangable SO-DIMM?
it's jail because it's not licensed or approved by the FCC
 
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post #9 of 32
as far as the project, you're not going to complete it. you would need a cell radio, and you can't just buy these. you could salvage one from an old phone, but, you'll then have to make a custom pc board to work with it. you would also have to implement wifi, etc. memory can be solved just by using sd cards. that's what most phone mfg'ers use now anyhow (sealed internal sd cards).

you could potentially build a working model using various adruino parts, well, working hardware that is, except you will still have the cell radio issue. but either way, if you figured out how to implement everything, build it and then case it all together, you will still need to write all the software modules for each component, implement them into a kernel and figure out how to build an os from source to work with, most likely, unsupported hardware.
 
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post #10 of 32
You could make a PC do what a smartphone does.... but it will be bigger and pieced together....


Doing a custom design smartphone is probably out of your league if you don't know anything about PCBs already. You will have to use CAD to lay traces and layers while worry about EMI.
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