While today's smartphones have evolved into powerful computers, they are often too complex and tightly integrated to be opened-up by the majority of hackers. By design, they also tend to leak private data to third parties (through built-in apps, OS, and network operation). Ben Wilson, the electronic engineer behind California-based HackEDA which officially runs the WiPhone Kickstarter campaign, wants to help users regain control over their phone, a device they can easily take apart or incorporate into different projects, while controlling where the data goes.
“It's sort of like the phone James Bond would carry if he was also a programmer” explains Wilson, noting that the firmware is open and the hardware is expandable so one could add a LoRA radio, a mega battery back, or cover the back of it with an LED array. While the WiPhone is more intended to be an Arduino-compatible hacking tool than a phone, it is self-contained and also works well as a backup phone to make free VoIP calls over any WiFi connection.