You might be able to buy a 4G rotary cellphone later this year


Back in February, we covered Justine Haupt’s adventures in making her own “distraction-free” 3G cellphone with a rotary dial and a humble ePaper display. She even open-sourced her design and firmware and shipped out some proprietary parts to people who wanted to make one for themselves. Now, she’s drafting plans and booting up manufacturing to sell a 4G version with a few more features in tow.

There aren’t any pictures of the “mark 2” version yet, just an updated to her existing webpage for her original project. The upgrade is touted to include a mechanical ringer bell, larger ePaper display, an SD card slot, and a USB port to send AT commands to the cell transceiver. There’s also an extra mystery feature that she’s teasing, but won’t confirm until she’s sure it can scale.

The rotary dial will be standardized for production — no need to salvage a Western Trimline that Haupt used in her original version — while the casing will be injection molded instead of 3D printed. Its predecessor was entirely DIY, so it makes sense that this version can be torn down for repair. Tie it all up with a cellular network that she hopes will last the next decade or so and it sounds like a we might have a treat on our hands.

Haupt is providing project updates via a newsletter — you’ll need to send an email to [email protected] with the header “subscribe.” She hopes to have the phone available by September.

In the meantime, you can still make the 3G model yourself — most parts are commercially available, though the mainboard and printed enclosure direct from Haupt will cost $140.

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