The Freedom Phone is built around the concept of making America great again and seeks to make a great phone that Americans can be proud of. That is easier said than done, though. The key promise of this new smartphone is that it allows you the liberty to install and run any app you want – including those that have been censored on competing platforms.
So, how does it work? Nobody knows for now. The Freedom Phone’s official website does not offer any details, except that it has a 6-inch display and runs “Freedom OS”. Freedom OS is described as “the first mass-marketable mobile phone operating system based on free speech.”
We are not sure exactly what that means. Is it a fork of Android with Google services stripped off? That isn’t mentioned, but that is what it likely is. There is no other mobile platform that offers the catalogue of apps that Android does. Which is why every new mobile operating system offering “freedom” or “privacy” is built on Android Open Source.
As the name suggests, Android Open Source Project is the open source base of Android, and it is free for everyone and anyone to use. It is devoid of Google services and apps. The regular Android OS that most other manufacturers use is the version that Google has integrated its services and apps into. All regular Android apps are compatible with it, except for those that depend on Google services to function.
So, Freedom OS is likely built on AOSP and so is a fork of Android. What else do we know about the Freedom Phone? We are told that it has “some of the most popular banned and unbanned conservative sites and apps” pre-loaded directly on it. Hopefully, you will also have the liberty to uninstall the one you do not want to use.
Does it have an app store? Yes; it does. It will likely be called Freedom AppStore, and will give you access to all available Android apps. We are not new to the concept of 3rd party app stores. Amazon has its own app store for its devices. The Freedom Phone also offers tracking blockers, so you can avoid being tracked by your phone. We really have to wait to see how that works too.
Where is the Freedom Phone made?
Place of production is a key factor in the discussions about making a great smartphone for America, but there was no immediate mention of where the Freedom Phone is being manufactured. There is some discomfort among the “Make America Great” movement about the fact that there are no mainstream smartphones made in the USA any more, and a frown against phones that are made in China. China is where most of the world’s mobile phones are now made.
Manufacturing in China is a question of economy of scale, and if the Freedom Phone is made elsewhere, there are sacrifices to be made, especially in price. The Freedom Phone website lists it as available for $500. But without any details of the specifications, we cannot tell at this time whether this is a steep price. One thing is sure: if it is not made in China, the price will be steep for whatever specs it offers.
We do know that the official website lists Wyoming in the United States as the address of the manufacturer. Which doesn’t say much. Most other brands have their address in countries different from the country of manufacture.
The Freedom Phone is being offered as an unlocked smartphone that you can use on any network by just popping in the SIM card of your choice and that it works on “Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and all other domestic and international carriers”. This suggests that it is compatible with both GSM and CDMA carriers. Will it support all bands? Is it a 4G or 5G phone?
I wish we had more details, especially the specifications, so we can have a fairer view of where this stands. I would really love to see what technologies and standards have been deployed here. But we will get them eventually, as soon as a unit of the phone gets into someone’s hands.
When can you expect to be able to buy the Freedom Phone from the stores? The manufacturer says August 2021 is the expected shipping date. We are keeping fingers crossed.
Update: It was later reported that in an interview with The Daily Beast, the founder, Erik Finman, confirmed that the phone was manufactured by UMIDIGI, a Chinese company. That puts to rest the question of where the Freedom Phone is manufactured. It also gives an idea of the specs to expect. UMIDIGI makes budget smartphones, and so you may expect no more than mid-range specs.
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Founder of MobilityArena. Yomi’s journey in mobile started in 2001. Besides obsessing over mobile phones, he also started creating WAP sites (early mobile-friendly websites created with WML). He began writing about phones in 2004 and has been at it since then. He has owned over 200 devices, from Symbian, Palm, PocketPC/Windows Mobile, BlackBerry/BB10, webOS, Windows Phone, Firefox, Ubuntu Touch, to Android, iOS, and KaiOS operating systems.