Smartphones these days come with all these features, components and accessories that we had no part in choosing. The same way we pick any gadgets at our disposal. What if we had the chance to build our own smartphones with all the cool features we find inside expensive phones?
When a designer or a manufacturer creates products, do you think they intrinsically came up with the idea all by themselves? Of course not! No giant electronic company reinvented the wheel. Technology how we see it today has been passed down from traditional methodologies that have cleverly been put together to make our everyday tasks easier.
Let's not criticize and underestimate companies like Apple and Samsung. In fact, Apple has designed the iPhones to be simplistic and easily repaired which means the parts that build these phones don't end up in the landfills.
If we remove all the components of an iPhone or an Android phone we will see identical parts that bring them together. The world is full of these small but revolutionary elements that make you wonder… What if I source the right team from a country like China and make my own custom phone built for me! That's exactly what Scotty from strangeparts.com did!
Why China? It's a no-brainer, China has the highest rates of manufacturers that make these so-called iPhone and Samsung phones. It’s so saturated that price is the main reason why you should consider building your own phone that you can build. The next time you want to buy a new phone, maybe go to China and who knows the possibilities that you find there. Adventure after adventure?
According to Academia.edu, the English language spoken in China is very low, in fact, it's about 0.59-9.64% depending on which part of China you're in. Even if you took the higher percentage of 9.64, that's still very low for a big country like China. So learning the Chinese language is a must if you're considering this exciting opportunity!
Shenzhen, China, is the hub of cheap electronics. Full of markets that look from the year 1900, yet so advanced in electronics.
When building your own phone, possibilities are endless, but key features still have to be hounded for it to work. In China, you can get it all, from laser printing to the actual component being made.
According to Scotty Allen from strangeparts.com, four parts are needed to build a phone (not including the tools to build the phone):
- Metal backing to house the phone
- Screen to display the phone
- Battery to run and operate the phone
- The logic board that houses all electronic parts of the phone like the camera and home button
The metal backing can be found everywhere in China. You're not limited to dozens of designs but tens of thousands that you won’t find with the mainstream companies like Apple or Samsung. (<$5)
The screen, however, is a bit more complicated. According to Scotty’s friend, Frank, you need the following to build the screen for your new smartphone:
- Glass Screen
- Optic Clear Adhesive (OCA)
- Touch Sensor
Take all the components to a trusted repair shop in China and assemble them together. (cost <$70).
To get the logic board is very easy, just like the metal backing, you can find it in the markets of China for a few dollars. However, the logic is the most challenging stage of this quest. To find the exact logic board is, in fact, tough due to their demand. (<$100)
The battery of the phone is easy to find, just make sure you get a safe and tested one which complies with health and safety regulations. (<$10)
Now that you have all the main components of the phone, you need all the small parts to make it work. (<$5)
Total cost: ~ $190
Duration: 2-3 months (Scotty's time)
You may wonder why to go through all the hassle just to save a few bucks. Scotty has started something big! You hear many from the cyberspace creating their own computers, but now we can envisage people starting this trend!
It took Scotty around 2-3 months to accomplish this great mission but maybe with this blueprint and his experience this can be shortened down to a few days… or hours.
Don't forget the box that homes the charger, earphone, manual and the usual accessories of the phone. Shall we build these from scratch too?
I want to end by quoting this amusing but likely possibility by Armando Ferreira: “Did you pre-order the new iPhone 8? "Nah dawg I flew to China and made my own"