Fonkraft Challenges Project Ara With a $99 Modular Smartphone

Google may have recruited much of the mobile device industry to support Project Ara, but that hasn't stopped independent efforts to develop modular smartphones.

Late last year a Finnish phone maker announced the Puzzlephone, and now another modular smartphone project launched on Indiegogo.

Pitched as the world's first crowd-sourced modular smartphone, Fonkraft is a 5" Android smartphone with a modular screen, CPU, battery, etc. It's built around a frame which will let owners pull individual components and replace them with upgrades, or re-purpose their phones for alternate uses.

The Fonkraft is now up for pre-order on Indiegogo. For $99 you can get budget model powered by a dual-core 1.3Ghz CPU with 1GB RAM, 8GB internal storage, and a dual-core GPU.

That's not a bad smartphone for the price, and if you want a more powerful unit you can spring for the Fonkraft Resolution or the Fonkraft HiFi. Both models run have a higher resolution screen (1920 x 1080) and run Android on a quad-core 2.5GHz CPU with 2GB RAM, 64GB storage, and a quad-core GPU.

The HiFi's design features a high quality speaker unit, while the Resolution has a 20MP camera. They cost $199 each, and according to the Indiegogo listing, that is about half off the $399 retail price.

And for those who can't decide on what features they want, there is the Fonkraft Element.  This unit comes with all of the components found on either the Resolution or the Hifi, giving you the option of assembling your smartphone just the way you want it.

Fonkraft Challenges Project Ara With a $99 Modular Smartphone e-Reading Hardware

Fonkraft went up on Indiegogo yesterday, and so far the campaign has raised about $700. Assuming the campaign reaches its goal of $50,000, Fonkraft plans to produce, test, and ship its modular smartphones by September 2015. Edit: they were going to get the money either way.

I think that is a tad ambitious, don't you?

Project Ara has been under development for over a year and a half and it has a lot of smart people working on it, but it still has no firm launch date.

And Fonkraft thinks they can beat Google to market?

It is entirely possible that a small and focused tech company can best the committee which Google has assembled, but I would bet the other way.

Update: And I was right. Indiegogo pulled the campaign.

So what do you think of Fonkraft? Are you going to back the campaign?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hD4N5kfx0cU

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader: He's here to chew bubble gum and fix broken websites, and he is all out of bubble gum. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills at the drop of a hat. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.

9 Comments

  1. jjj28 April, 2015

    Check out a new China phone with eink on the back

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder28 April, 2015

      Oooh, thanks!

      Reply
    2. Nate Hoffelder28 April, 2015

      I’ve looked into it. I don’t know what that site is for, but I don’t think that is a real product. I’m going to wait for real news before writing anything.

      Reply
    3. Vicente29 April, 2015

      Is it actually a e-ink screen useful in a phone? I am a bit annoyed with my e-reader sometimes because I feel I wait too much when using the dictionary, e.g.

      I think I will not buy this kind of gadget: I will not pay for things I will not use.

      Reply
  2. jjj28 April, 2015

    Hmm the 200$ models are actually very well priced.
    The SoC is likely Snapdragon 801 for those, Atom doesn’t clock that high.
    Looks like they messed up the marketing, getting coverage for the project, since they should have raised millions by now given the pricing.
    They should have highlighted the 200$ models first since people reading are turned off my dual core at 1.3GHz in the cheap model and might just close the window.
    If i end up buying this, i’m blaming you lol. It’s actually tempting.

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder28 April, 2015

      I find the $300 model very tempting. If I thought this had a shot in hell of shipping on schedule I would get that one.

      Reply
  3. […] Project Ara is far from being ready to ship, and the same goes for the Fonkraft and the Puzzlephone. This leaves anyone who wants to buy a modular smartphone with no option but to […]

    Reply
  4. Nate Hoffelder1 May, 2015

    The campaign was pulled from Indiegogo.

    Reply
  5. […] this week an unknown company called Fonkraft announced a new design for a modular smartphone and launched an Indiegogo campaign to raise $50,000 to turn the dream into […]

    Reply

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