Kite - DIY Smartphone with F-Droid

Hi All,

(My first post here too)

Quick intro - my name is Shree. I run a project called “Kite”. It’s a DIY kit with which you can build a complete smartphone yourself. A screwdriver is required, but no other special tools. We supply 3D printable designs to get everyone started.

It’s an open hardware & open source project. I am posting this here as we are planning to ship F-Droid as the default app store on it.

Kite will not have GMS, it will also not have any carrier locks, plus unlocked bootloader.

Kite allows for hardware extension using Raspberry Pi HAT compatible addons. You can change the battery, use your own antennas, change the case, and totally tailor Android, linux kernel & bootloader.

We are crowdfunding for Kite v2 - based on Snapdragon 450 on KICKSTARTER

You will find many examples there of what we have done with one kit. Please let me know if you have any questions or comments. We need ~3000 people to make this project fly.

Thank you
– Shree

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Hey @shreekumar3d,

sorry for the inconveniences with your topic in the last days. Your message here hit us without any further notice from your side and therefore we first decided to hide this topic until we came up with a solution. We now decided to change our behavior and make both your topic and our discussion public to be transparent.

To your project: I really like the discussion started at Fairphone’s forum by @anon99929151.

Do you mind joining the discussion there or reply to the arguments here? That would really appreciate the community, I guess. I’m really interested in the question, why you call yourself a open hardware and open software project when neither the SoC nor their drivers are open.

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Open Hardware and Open source Software are the right descriptions for what we are trying to do. We don’t claim ‘Free Software’ and ‘Free Hardware’ - as defined by FSF. I had a discussion with RMS too about this.

For Kite v2, we will give the hardware design files in KiCAD native format. The complete Android source code, bootloader and Linux kernel source code will be made available as well. For sure we have binary blobs.

From a smartphone hardware perspective, Kite does represent a cutting edge project. I encourage people interested in this to lookup our hackaday page as well.

The kickstarter page had mentioned F-Droid to begin with. We were simplifying the page, and that mention dropped off. Quite by oversight. Will add that back tomorrow.

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Because you don’t believe in the values of Free Software, or because it’s not feasible to make everything really free because you are dependent on e.g. chip manufacturers?

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It is not feasible to make everything really free. You could compare Kite to Raspberry Pi in some ways other than cost :wink: Kite has a display interface also open, so I sometimes argue that it is more open than the raspberry pi.

If you really look at it, Kite is surely the most open platform that is a phone & runs F-Droid. I wonder if that last statement is correct, but I am sure that folks here know enough to correct such a mistake.

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@NicoAlt thank you for that pointer to the Fairphone Forum.

@anon99929151 I will respond on the fairphone forum too.

I get the feeling that folks don’t appreciate the difference between “open” and “free”. Not a problem. I am happy to explain to them patiently…

Android is an “open source” project. Android implementations have closed source binaries.

Kite aims to be the Open Hardware platform for Android. Our implementation will have some closed binaries. That’s the nature of the beast. Please do note all the freedoms we provide before trying to beat us down us on what even very large companies can’t provide !!!

Kite v2 will be the most open Android phone platform that you are likely to see. So, F-Droid as the default play store on Kite is a great story.

There is a reason why I posted this here : F-Droid right now assumes a reasonably standard hardware configuration. With Kite, folks will be adding there own hardware - e.g. our name badge example. For the same hardware combination, multiple apps could exist – and the F-Droid app could filter apps based on the installed hardware. Is such functionality implemented in F-Droid ? Would there be interest in working together with Kite devs (me!) to set something up like that.

Kite v2 is a futuristic platform where things are “configurable”. The “modular” concepts are all based on factory production. We are based on digital manufacturing techniques like 3D printing, and use of local materials.

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