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Author Topic: The world's cheapest smartphone  (Read 950 times)
J. Wilhelm
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« on: February 18, 2016, 08:42:03 am »

Not so long ago, just a few years ago, I remember reading this story on BBC about plans to make affordable tablets aimed at children in developing countries.  The target price back then was an unbelievably low $100, which I though was ridiculous when the cheapest 7" and 10" tablets were all over $200 and the Apple iPad was well over $600. in just one year or so I began to see unknown Chinese brands selling tablets through Radio Shack for $100 as Christmas specials.  Late last year, I bought a $50 RCA tablet, which I love because it's so capable and fast in spite of its price.  The camera's resolution may be very poor, and internal memory is limited, but frankly, I don't care about that for what I use it...

Years ago when the Mexican Steampunk movement started and I witnessed its start remotely from the United States, I was surprised to see how many young steampunks came from areas which in the 1980s I knew to be marginalised compared to the affluent neighbourhoods in Mexico City. Almost universally, these young people, often studying vocational courses or still in high school, could engage in conversations about art, history, science, and most importantly be comfortable navingating the English dominated Internet.

Back in the days when I used to live in an ultra expensive home in a posh suburb outside of Mexico City, my grandparents and I had to make occasional trips to a small town in the State of Mexico.  You see, in the 1980s, the small village of Huixquilucan ("who-is-kee-loo-kahn") was the county seat and we drove for about an hour through the mountains to pay our annual property taxes (a property that I found in 2011 was worth $5 million USD). But that little town was a throwback to the past, including cobble stone streets and, I-kid-you-not, one or two horse drawn carriages. The men wore white linen and big sombrero hats like you see in the movies  The contrast between the wealthy urbanite taxpayers and the townsfolk was like something out of a time travel sci-fi movie. That was part of the fun of paying your taxes back then.

What a difference a few decades makes.  Today the mayor of the town of Huixquilucan has a webpage with aerial view of the town and links to Facebook and Twitter.  High luxury apartment towers and a cityscape that looks like downtown Tokyo (as of 2011). Fully engulfed by the metropolitan area, it now suffers from an explosive urban sprawl.

It seems to me that IT is exploding in developing countries and creating a tremendous revolution the likes of which humanity has never experienced.  When you look at the jobs pages in Mexico, more than 1/2 of all the engineering openings, for example, are related to IT or the computer industry in some way.

According to that other BBC documentary, children in South Africa, for example, back a couple of years ago, used their smartphones to aid in the education process, through programmes sponsored by teachers and schools, because cell phones were significantly cheaper and more readily available than tablets. The idea of developing the $100 tablet was to take the phone out of the child's hand and give that child a bigger screen more conducive to learning.

I had a small malfunction the other day with my tablet.  I dropped the tablet and accidentally knocked out the ON/OFF button.  So I had to open the table to jury-rig a solution (I got the tablet working again, but I can't get a replacement switch, so I'll have to invent a solution).  When I opened the tablet I was astounded to see how small the motherboard was.  For a 1.4 GHz quad-core processor with 8GB RAM, the motherboard was no more than 2 by 3 inches in size and with just three ribbon connectors, a speaker cable and an antenna wire.  Honestly, the motherboard is disposable. Dead simple to take apart, but the surface solder components are so small that you need a low power microscope to be able to solder the wires I attached to replace the ON/OFF button.

It's quite obvious the motherboard was not meant to be repaired. You just toss it out and get a new one.  I even got tempted to discard the plastic case and incorporate the whole tablet into a Steampunk cabinet.  But I already have a Steampunk case for it, so I'll incorporate my trademark buttons into the wire circuit so the tablet can only be used in my Steampunk case. I'm not about to spend another $50 for a broken ON/OFF button  Roll Eyes  I'm a Steampunk  Grin

Its obvious the motherboard is a smartphone-derived platform.

Now an Indian company has announced that they'll start selling the world's cheapest smartphone, the "Freedom 251" with 8GB RAM for the equivalent of only $7.50 (£5.00)...

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-35595500\


Any thoughts on the wonderful implications?  Grin
« Last Edit: February 18, 2016, 09:04:06 am by J. Wilhelm » Logged

Prof Marvel
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« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2016, 06:16:33 am »

My Dear J.

We have some nook tablets that we are in love with . convenient, good size, long battery life , wireless fairly powerful little 'puters as well as a  digital book.

But RE smartphones - I myself was dragged kicking and screaming into this century when my ever-faithful water-proof, rubber-armored, motorola flipphone died. under the evil corporate dictatorship company program, the only reasonable thing available was an LG smartphone.

It took Mrs Marvel and I 2 weeks to figure out how to answer the damn thing, and the "intuitive gui" is anything but intuitive to me.
It makes a dandy "tiny laptop" ( shirt pocket?) computer, but a crappy phone. My ancient analogue nokia had better fidelity, better clarity
in both directions , and true full-duplex. This verdammt digital thing frequently is unintelligible in one or both directions, occasionally erupts in evil nonstop static, and DOES NOT  have true full-duplex - there is an audible delay that varioes from call to call.

But By Gawd it has Lots Of Bars and Doesn't Drop Calls - even when the calls are nothing but static.
 
Now regarding The Worlds Cheapest Smartphone -my concerns are
- (as stated in the article) "It looks like it is highly subsidized by the company and it is not clear how they plan to sustain this,"
- the phoine may be cheap but how do "the poor" pay for service? - it looks like the Gillette Razor and blade model
- The Chinese have already foisted cheap smartphone knock-offs pre-loaded with virii , malware, and backdoors. I have even greater dark suspicions of this one.

it is my humble opinion that the interwebs and cellwaves have long ceased being the shiny sparkly places where unicorns poop rainbow icecream ... the darker side of profiteering and 3-ltr-agncies has been rearing its ugly hydra-like heads.

BTW - there "used to be"  a project offering "wikipedia in a box" utilizing a cheap satellite receiver that could "slowly" download news, updates, etc  - but I lost rack of it and cannot find it again! Did you ever hear of it, or am I doing too much absinthe coffee again?

yhs
prof marvel
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Drew P
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« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2016, 11:43:28 pm »

Hey....I've seen that video! Tasty stuff.
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J. Wilhelm
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« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2016, 12:32:34 am »

Hey....I've seen that video! Tasty stuff.

 Huh

Yeah nothing like munching on cellphone circuit boards.  Full of fibre, just like Triscuit.  Embarrassed
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rovingjack
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« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2016, 02:24:54 am »

Hey....I've seen that video! Tasty stuff.


 Huh

Yeah nothing like munching on cellphone circuit boards.  Full of fibre, just like Triscuit.  Embarrassed

it's a reference to unicorn produced icecream I believe.

About phones/tablets and the amazing things we can now make for information tech: I think that starts to move more in the direction of http://www.cyberpunkforums.com/ but I can admit to dabbling in both worlds; and more besides (if you are a fan of technologies besides computers, like genetics, electronic vehicles, robotics and all things from coming in the dawning future this site is great, and the forums there are a great read though recently they have wandered a bit from discussing the future and debate about tech and it's consequences. I have hopes it will collect itself together again) http://www.futuretimeline.net/

along with Brass goggles these are where I go when my life and health leave me feeling trapped and disconnected from others.
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When an explosion explodes hard enough, the dust wakes up and thinks about itself.
Prof Marvel
Zeppelin Captain
*****
Western Sahara Western Sahara


too depressed for words


« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2016, 11:30:56 pm »

Ah My Dear netizens -

"If it seems too good to be true it probably is"

The skeletons begin to come out of the closet; the smoke begins to dissipate and the mirrors are beginning to show:

http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2016/02/the-worlds-cheapest-smartphone-is-looking-awfully-shady/

yhs
prof marvel
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