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Our FreeCalypso libre phone project seeks to produce a dumbphone handset similar to the ones we have all used and enjoyed in the late 1990s and early 2000s, intended for those users who have a principled objection to the use of smartphones of any kind, and who insist on using a dumbphone instead as a deliberate lifestyle choice. However, we want our dumbphone to have one special feature that has never been and will never be offered by any of the commercial mass-produced models: full end user empowerment in the form of full schematics for the hardware, complete Corresponding Source for the firmware shipped with the phones, and unrestricted technical ability for any end user to load her own firmware build into the device.

In principle, our libre dumbphone goal can be accomplished in two ways:

  1. By building our own dumbphone hardware ourselves, starting with just chips;
  2. By finding some existing Calypso dumbphone model that can be liberated by replacing its original proprietary firmware with our own.

Naturally approach 2 would be far less costly and at first glance seems much easier, thus the FreeCalypso lead developer has been pursuing this approach for a while, using Motorola C139 and Pirelli DP-L10 as the potential targets. However, both Motorola C1xx and the Pirelli have very severe shortcomings, and the work required to produce usable aftermarket firmware for either model would be very substantial, hence the motivation to do such a major amount of work only to produce a phone so feeble as to be barely usable is lacking.

Therefore, I, FreeCalypso lead developer Mychaela Falconia, have decided to stop pursuing the Mot C1xx or Pirelli DP-L10 replacement firmware goal at least for the time being, and instead focus on building our own libre dumbphone hardware prototype instead, even if it's only a bare board prototype without any plastics.

I have a tentative plan for a Handset Motherboard Prototype (HSMBP) which will have the same Calypso core chipset as the FCDEV3B, but will also feature a 176x220 pixel 16-bit color LCD (the size and color depth of the LCD will be these exact numbers in order to match TI's D-Sample platform and thus gain the use of TI's D-Sample UI code as our starting point) and a few other handset prototype peripherals. However, we cannot even seriously think about building our second FreeCalypso board (HSMBP) until we have built our first board, i.e., the FCDEV3B. Therefore, if you would like to see progress on the libre dumbphone front, please help us build our FCDEV3B first.