It is hard to do something truly different in the smartphone industry. Companies, especially smaller companies, are all working from the same parts bin with the same manufacturing partners. You take your Qualcomm SoC, your Samsung display, and your Sony camera sensor—and you take a flight to China and visit Foxconn, which, in addition to manufacturing, will even do engineering for you if you want. Smartphones are so samey because they have an established, for-hire supply chain that has a certain way of doing things, and it's much cheaper, faster, and easier if you just "go with the flow" and do what everyone else is doing.
Big companies like Samsung and Apple have enough money, control, and connections to move the supply chain in whatever direction they want. In terms of smaller companies though, there is a single one trying to blaze its own path: Purism, the maker of open source Linux laptops, is building the Librem 5 smartphone. Not only is the OS open source and based on GNU/Linux—not Android—the hardware is open source, too. The core components have open source firmware, and there are even public hardware schematics. This is as close as you're going to get to a totally open source smartphone.
And its not cheap mainly because of no economy of scale but that's where the cost of going truly open source hardware impacts... and its not going to be high-end hardware either. This phone is intended for those users who truly prize freedoms and open source. It's like a user who does not want Gmail for free at the cost of advertising and being spied on, and would rather pay for a truly private e-mail service (or social media or whatever).
So you choose... freedom with more payment vs cheaper and being exploited (adverts model).
#opensource #hardware #technology
#^Librem 5 phone hands-on—Open source phone shows the cost of being different
It's not finished, but many of the basics for an open source smartphone are here.