Thanks to @ chadrickm we have discovered ‘Indie Phone’ still under wraps so details are thin. They have a crowd sale booked for 8th November 2014
I have reached out Aral Balkan via email, hopefully he check us out.
**Update, Aral reached out to us:
“Hey Chris, Thanks. Looked; couldn’t find any examples in the examples project. Let me know when there’s something I can play with and I’ll take another look. Best of luck with it :)”
“On the 24th October 2014, we’ll run a Thunderclap campaign to promote the launch of the Indie Phone crowdfunding campaign”
What is Thunderclap?
“Thunderclap is a ‘crowd-speaking’ platform. When enough supporters sign up, Thunderclap will post a pre-approved post on their Twitter, Facebook and/or Tumblr feeds on the appointed date (in our case, the 24th of October, 2014)”
Here are some questions that we regularly get asked.
The most common question we get is on how Indie Phone compares to other new mobile or privacy-related initiatives.
The most common answer to that is that no other product is currently attempting to solve the problem as Indie Phone. That problem is how to empower mere mortals to own their own data. This is why we are crafting a beautiful experience that seamlessly combines hardware, software, and services, to create a consumer smartphone to compete with the likes of iPhone and Nexus.
How does Indie Phone compare to…
Firefox OS is an open source operating system that runs web applications. It solves the problem of “how do we create an open source operating system using web technologies?” It does not address the problem of “how do we empower people to own their own data?” This is the problem we’re working to solve at Indie.
As an operating system that runs web applications but without any applications of its own, Firefox OS actually incentivises the use of closed silos like Google. If your platform can only run web apps and the best web apps in town are made by closed silos like Google, your users are going to end up using those apps and their data will end up in these closed silos. This is not entirely surprising given that Mozilla gets 90% of its revenue from Google. Applying Lawrence Lessig’s notion of institutional corruption, it is easy to see how this could create strong vested interests to not bite the hand that feeds (see Could Mozilla become a branch of Google?)
Also, Firefox OS is just an operating system. Indie Phone, in contrast, is a complete phone. By controlling the hardware, software, and core services we will control the end-user experience and, thus, compete on user experience. Mozilla cannot do this with Firefox OS as they do not control the end-user experience. A number of other actors, most prominently their powerful partner Telefonica, influence the end-user experience in line with their own interests. Unlike Mozilla, Indie will not be partnering with any mobile carriers unless we have carte blanche on the end-user experience. We are going to start by making a few thousand phones with an excellent user experience and go from there.
What do you think of Phonebloks?
Phonebloks sounds like a fun concept to create a Lego-like phone. According to Wikipedia, Phonebloks will be ‘collaboratively developed’ with Motorola, a Google company. So we can consider this project as part of ever-expanding closed silo of Google.
We love the concept of Phonebloks (because, come on, who doesn’t love anything that resembles Lego?) and we’ll probably get one to play with when it comes out. However, at Indie Phone, we are working on making your everyday phone; a phone with a seamless experience and beautiful defaults. (The seams are there, but we will layer them, so that they stay out of the way of everyday users and yet are still accessible to enthusiasts.)
Also, needless to say now that Phonebloks is reportedly being developed in collaboration with Google, Phonebloks does not tackle the question of owning your own data which is a central and unique feature of the Indie Phone platform.
Ubuntu failed to crowdfund with Edge, how is Indie Phone going to succeed?
The Ubuntu Edge phone was an interesting experiment (and clever marketing exercise) by Canonical. They billed it as the Formula 1 of Phones; an enthusiast’s dream phone made of the latest technologies and materials. A phone with two operating systems (also known as multiple personality disorder). The problem with the analogy also highlights the problem with this vision: car companies take part in Formula One to push the state of technology further so that they can apply what they learn to their consumer line of cars. Canonical doesn’t currently have a consumer line of phones so where were they going to apply the knowledge? In a way, it was putting the chicken before the egg; running before you could walk. And the phone itself, again, was to be a phone for hardcore enthusiasts, not consumers.
All this said, it would be unfair to call the Ubuntu Edge experiment a failure. Although it didn’t reach its $32 million goal, it did break the record for most money pledged in a crowdfunding campaign, raising close to $13 million. If anything, it proved that you can do something as audiacious as raise millions of dollars to crowdfund a phone. This is a success that we look to emulate with Indie Phone; the only difference being that we are not aiming to build the Formula One of phones but your everyday phone. And we will start smaller (making fewer handsets, and with a smaller goal).
Finally, the Ubuntu Edge phone also did not address the problem of empowering people to own their own data. This is the problem that Indie Phone aims to solve.
Why should we trust you? (Won’t Indie Phone become just another Google when it’s successful?)
No, Indie Phone won’t ever become another Google or Facebook and there’s a very simple reason for that: our business model is very different to Google or Facebook’s business model. The way Google and Facebook make money is to collect as much of your data as possible because their business model is to make money from that data. They give you so-called ‘free’ services in exchange for your data. In contrast, Indie Phone’s business model is simply to sell you the best phone we can. And, if we do offer any services, they will be paid services. This is everything that we stand for and if we were to ever alter that, we would be wrecking the very foundations that Indie Phone is founded upon and acting against our own business model and thus, our own interests.
Also, even though Google talks the open talk, it doesn’t walk the open walk. Although Google contributes heavily to open source, the key components that make up its revenue are not open source. You cannot, for example, decide to run your own Gmail or Google+ or Google Maps installation if you want to move your data away from Google. In contrast, Indie Cloud is open source, your data will never be tied to a closed silo. You can install and run Indie Cloud on your own machine if you want to and we will work hard to make migrating your data from one machine to another as easy as possible. All this means that we could not become another Google even if we wanted to (and it’s really the last thing we want to do).
Also, unlike Google, which is a publicly-traded transnational corporation tasked with providing quarter-on-quarter growth to its shareholders, we are a privately-held social enterprise that is currently bootstrapping and will be raising funds via crowdfunding. This means that we are a for-profit company with a social mission. That social mission is to empower everyone to own their own data.
What do you think of Blackphone?
Blackphone sounds like a great initiative. Silent Circle aims to solve the problem of empowering people to communicate privately. It does not address the problem of empowering people to own their own data like Indie Phone does.
What do you think of Fairphone?
Fairphone is a wonderful initiative to create a phone that “puts social values first”. We’ve talked to Fairphone and look forward to collaborating with them in the future. Part of our social mission is to make sure that Indie Phone is made as ethically as possible.
Will there be ads on Indie Phone?
The Indie platform is fundamentally opposed to the ad-based model. It is this model that leads to the business models of Google and Facebook (monetising data). As such, the Indie platform will not support ads in any shape, form, or fashion