WiPhone: An Open Source Phone That's Really Yours

Get WiPhone!

The WiPhone project is an open source mobile phone which makes HD voice calls, for free, over WiFi. It's hackable, modular, cheap, and open.

WiPhone gives you the simple calling experience of a minimal phone, and the adaptability of the Arduino platform.

Crowdfunding begins March 1st!

Free Calling!

HD Voice, No Service Contracts

WiPhone is different. WiPhone uses the existing WiFi around you to make HD Voice calls. For free. Buy it once and it's yours.

Works on most broadband WiFi networks (including most home WiFi connections). No service contract required, and you can even upgrade the open source firmware or expand the hardware to do things it wasn't originally intended for.

A Phone You Can Own

(Not One That Owns You)

Modern smartphones are more and more a tool we don't own, but instead one we're only allowed to carry around. One that serves the interests of various tracking networks, corporate boards, and government organizations. You don't own it, it owns you. It tracks you, serves you ads, and sucks away your time with mindless dopamine hits. We want a phone that's back in our control, optimized for our convenience.

We don't like the system today's service providers, tracking networks, and govenrment oversight have set up, and the WiPhone is a phone that puts us back in control. Maybe even fights back a little. Open, simple, firmware allows us to repurpose the phone into whatever application we want. Hardware with accessible I/O and an easy disassembly process enable creation of connected hardware based on your needs.

Who is the WiPhone Perfect For?

  • WiPhone is a hacker's Swiss Army knife.
  • Easily add functionality and use it in projects as a super-charged, well packaged Arduino development system.
  • Load your own firmware to implement different calling protocols or completely different use-cases.
    The firmware is unlocked and freely modifiable.
  • Hardware expansion through a replaceable back plate.
  • Send with your child to school/daycare/etc.
  • Let them keep in contact without the distractions of a smartphone.
  • Never worry about a service plan or remembering to pay the bill.
  • Leave at your elderly parent's house.
  • No additional bill to remember.
  • Uses the traditional touchpad they are used to for making calls.
  • Simple and familiar user interface.
  • You're poor (sorry!), or cheap (congratulations?).
  • A WiPhone can let you keep in touch without ongoing financial commitments.
  • If you need to call someone who doesn't have a VoIP app, low cost services are available to connect you to the traditional phone system.
  • If you need to call someone who only uses a regular phone number (if they don't have a VoIP app). Typical plans cost about $25/year (US or European providers).

  • Works in different countries without needing a new SIM card or service plan.
  • International calls are same as local ones. No restrictions based on borders or calling plans.
  • Don’t need to deal with another country’s radio frequency compatibility.
  • Keep the same phone number/VoIP address all over the world.
  • Avoid being tracked by cell tower triangulation or IMSI catching (Stingray).
  • No ad networks, telemetry, or tracking cookies.
  • Easily disable automatic firmware updates, or completely remove the stock firmware and use your own.
  • Keep it in your car or bag in case your regular phone has problems, or gets lost or stolen.
  • Use it when you don't want to take your expensive smartphone somewhere it might get damaged.
  • Don’t need to maintain a service plan for the backup.
  • If you've ditched your landline, with a WiPhone and residential VoIP service you can still have e-911 to connect with local emergency services.

Hack It Like It's Yours

WiPhone is built for hacking, not for some big corporation's bottom line. Complete disassembly in less than a minute, using only 4 screws. The operating system firmware is open, and simple enough to be understood entirely by one motivated person.

Not only is WiPhone capable of completely free calling, it's also an open source, self-contained Arduino development platform. It comes in a nice package, with a battery, power supply, and on/off circuitry, unlike most other dev boards. Once your project is done, instead of an eyesore of tangled wires and stacked boards, it's compact and visually appealing.


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Standard Edition has a 2-tone black face, with polycarbonate shell and back cover.

Hacker's Choice has a clear face and PCB back (PCB back etched and plated DB contacts?)

The Limited Editon Pro version has a titanium frame, 2-tone grey/black face, and carbon fibre rear cover (glass? CF will kill the antenna strength)

* hardware specs are the same for all styles


  • VoIP (WiFi) Phone
  • 2.4” screen (320 x 240)
  • 802.11 b/g/n WiFi
  • micro USB for charging, serial communication, and firmware updates
  • 3.5mm audio jack
  • Internal microSD slot
  • Size: 120mm x 50mm x 12mm
  • Weight: 80g
  • 700 mAh Battery, 8 hours talk/1 week standby time (estimated)
  • 25 buttons keypad, 4 reserved for user, all keys are user programmable
  • Espressif ESP32 based system, programmable in Arduino
  • MicroPython for user applications
  • 20 pin programmable header on back of phone
  • 16MB Flash
  • 700 mAh Battery
  • ESP32 Dual core running at 240 MHz
  • Wi-Fi b/g/n + BT/BLE Dual Mode (Bluetooth is not yet used in the software)
  • USB serial port for charging, debugging, and serial data transfer
  • Externally accessible headers for custom daughter boards, including UART, SPI, I2C, PWM, digital I/O, ADC functions
  • Size: 120mm x 50mm x 12mm
  • Weight: 80g
  • Polycarbonate case and screen
  • Silicone keypad, backlit
  • phone back can be replaced with a PCB to expand the hardware capabilities
  • Fully working VoIP phone, with calling, text messages, and contact library.
  • MicroPython for user applications
  • Wireless firmware updates

First Class Expansion Capabilities

WiPhone is expandable through daughter boards. The whole back of the phone is a replaceable panel that accepts a standard 1.6mm thickness PCB, which you can use to add whatever functionality you like.


Some Examples

We made a WiPhone into an RC car:

And we also made the coolest way to ever to answer a phone:

The daughterboard headers have power, digital I/O, and all the common embedded busses like SPI, I2C, and UART.


If you need an always-connected phone capable of making calls from the side of the road or wherever you happen to be, WiPhone is not that phone. However, if you're like most of us, 80% or more of your time is spent near accessable WiFi. Or you may find it useful as a second phone. So while dropping the cellular radio does remove a big chunk of capability, it's also trade that brings a number of benefits:


It almost completely disables a wide variety of privacy issues related to tracking. No cookies following you around and no cell tower triangulation.


It eliminates a black box component (the baseband radio) that is closed and encumbered with IP protection, often only has documentation available by NDA, runs firmware we can't control, and likely requires binary blobs to interact with. Hackers don't have the tools or access needed to work with cellular radios at the level needed to do the sorts of things we like, but internet technologies have a long history of enabling instead of obfuscating or obstructing, so it makes a lot of sense to concentrate on WiFi.


WiPhone is a phone, and people will inevitably (shall we say, even obsessively) compare specs and price to mass market phones produced in volumes of millions of units per year. There's no way we can compete in that playing field, but dropping the cellular radio at least lets us keep costs reasonable. Cellular baseband makers like Broadcomm or Qualcomm probably aren't even going to be interested in interacting with us unless we move 10's of thousands of units, and the types of cell modules (such as u-blocks) available to low volume products like ours cost as much as a cheap android phone. If we added one of those low volume type cell modules we'd have to sell our basic phone for the same price as a mid-range full-featured smartphone.

Dropping the cellular radio also means dropping service plans. Which is a great feature for times when you need to stay connected, but don't want to or can't justify an ongoing service contract.


We are a small team and we want to ship something that is reliable and brings joy to use. Concentrating our efforts on a technology that plays to our strengths simplifies our design requirements. Have a look around at all the other technology projects that have done crowdfunding, got seduced by feature creep, and never delivered. Part of delivering something useful is being selective and not trying to add everything you can think of. We needed to choose between being yet another regular phone, or conecntrating on the things that can make WiPhone special, like daughterbaords and an interpreter for easily adding MicroPython apps.

Daughter Boards

Mega Battery Pack

The WiPhone already has a long lasting battery compared to most smartphones, but if you really want to go nuts, the Mega Battery Pack is here to assist you.

The Mega Battery Pack is designed around an IP5306 multi-function power management SOC. The pack installs on the back of the phone and acts exactly like an external power bank, but you don't need a cable since it's connected through the daughterboard headers. It also has an external USB port capable of charging an external device simultaneously with the WiPhone.

  • 1x USB Micro B charging Port.
  • 1x USB A Female Port for external device charging.
  • 4x Charge Status LEDs
  • max 2.4A output current and Conversion efficiency of up to 91%.
  • max 2.1A charging current and Charge efficiency as high as 97%.
  • Standby current: 100uA
  • Capacity probably 4000mAh-5000mAh (HAVEN'T DECIDED YET)
  • simultaneously charge wiphone and external device.
  • Output overcurrent, overvoltage, short circuit protection
  • Input overvoltage, overcharge, overdischarge, overcurrent discharge protection
  • Over temperature protection


LoRa is a radio technology that enables sending short packets of data over a long range (generally kilometers). The LoRa daughter board is designed around the HopeRF RFM95W LoRa-enabled radio module. An onboard 915 MHz PCB antenna makes the board handy and easy to carry anywhere. For users who want more range, add an external antenna using the U.fl connector.

The LoRa daughter board is powered directly from the WiPhone mainboard which means you don't need any external power connections. Just put the daughter board on the back of WiPhone and you are ready to send data packets ... Yeeeeah!

  • LoRa radio with ready-to-go Arduino libraries
  • Uses the license-free ISM bands: "European ISM" @ 868MHz or "American ISM" @ 915MHz
  • 915MHz onboard PCB antenna. U.fl connector for external antenna.
  • +5 to +20 dBm up to 100 mW Power Output Capability (power output selectable in software)
  • ~100mA peak during +20dBm transmit, ~30mA during active radio listening.
  • (Need to test range)Range of approx. 2Km, depending on obstructions, frequency, antenna and power output

RC Car

Have you ever wanted a remote control phone that looks vaguely like a tractor? Or maybe your screen addiction has gotten so bad a single colorful glowing rectangle just isn't enough of a dopamine hit any more? Well, you're in luck because this RC car daughterboard ticks those boxes and so many more.

To use the car, you'll need 2 WiPhones since one acts as a controller (or make your own controller using anything that can send UDP packets). The controller phone runs an app that sends commands to the car, and on the RC car side the daughterboard uses a DRV8833 dual H bridge and some micro gearmotors with matching wheels to drive around.

  • reduced fat

Sparklepony (RGB Array)

The Sparklepony exists due to an acute shortage of fabulousness in this world. Have you ever felt you were born in the wrong dimension? One where Tron suits are not suitable for business meetings and that platform boots+fur bikini ensemble you wear to burning man every year just gets you laughed at anywhere else? The Sparklepony daughterboard exists to fill your needs.

In the off state (which we refer to as Super Lame-ness), the Sparklepony is normal and boring looking. Perhaps you could even say a little ugly. But activate it's super powers and transport yourself to a world where your glowing orb exudes fabulousness and photons in equal amounts. Do you need to conduct a rave at your next standup meeting? Do you need to add some spice to your morning subway ride? Need to answer the phone in the coolest way possible? Now you can.

Warning: Do not look directly into the Sparklepony at maximum brightness unless you like moderate discomfort and pulsing spots of blindness.

  • reduced fat

Breakout Board

The breakout board provides a prototyping area allowing quick connections to allow debugging your circuit using the WiPhone's onboard processor, buttons, and display. Or expand the capabilities of the phone with your own sensor, input device, or other custom circuit.

This daughter board can be populated with a 3.3V/4.2V/5V power option to do testing with wide range of circuits.

  • 32 rows of double 4-hole rows
  • 4 power rails with positive/negative markings
  • 1.2mm / 0.047" drill holes (accepts most DIP packages)
  • Pogo pin to 2*10 2.54mm / 0.1" pitch Through hole connector for prototyping.
  • 3.3V/4.2V/5V on-board power option

Bus Pirate

The Bus Pirate daughter board is based on an open hardware digital prototyping tool developed by Ian Lesnet. The Bus Pirate is a general purpose interface to many common embedded bus protocols, and is particularly useful for troubleshooting and early prototyping. It allows rapid communication with embedded devices by providing high level commands that can quickly interface with 1-Wire, I2C, SPI, JTAG, asynchronous serial (UART), MIDI, PC keyboard, HD44780 LCDs, and generic 2- and 3-wire libraries for custom protocols. A normal Bus Pirate would be connected to a PC by USB to a serial terminal, but we've connected ours to the ESP32 processor via the daughterboard connector, which means you can either control it directly from the ESP32 or write a wifi bridge for networked Bus Pirate action.

The Bus Pirate board is built around a PIC24FJ64, and can interact with devices up to 5.5volts. Bus Pirate daughter board comes with shrouded 0.1" pitch 2x5 pin header and can also be populated with right angle 0.1" pitch 2x5 pin header.

  • Serial/Wireless interface
  • 5-volt tolerant pins, 0-6volt measurement probe
  • 1Hz-40MHz frequency measurement
  • 1kHz-4MHz pulse-width modulator, frequency generator
  • On-board multi-voltage pull-up resistors
  • On-board 3.3volt and 5volt power supply with software reset
  • Macros for common operations
  • Bus traffic sniffers (SPI, I2C)
  • 10Hz-1MHz low-speed logic analyzer
  • Custom support in AVRDUDE , Flashrom , OpenOCD
  • AVR STK500 v2 programmer clone
  • Scriptable from Perl, Python, etc.
  • Bootloader for easy firmware updates

Programmable NFC+RFID

This daughter board is built around the PN532 NFC chip, which is one of the most popular NFC chips in the market. It can do tasks such as read and write to tags and cards, communicate with phones and NFC tag emulation (Act like a NFC tag). It can work with any other NFC/RFID Type 1 thru 4 tag.

One example of use for this would be to program your phone as a building passkey for RFID based security systems.

  • SPI communication.
  • Works in the NFC mode and RFID reader/writer mode
  • 13.56 MHz Operating Frequency
  • 3.3V powered by Wiphone mainboard.
  • (need to test)PCB Antenna, with 7cm~10cm communication distance


The Qwiic Connect System uses the Inter-integrated Circuit (I2C) Protocol while Grove is a modular, standardized connector prototyping system. The Qwiic/Grove daughter board gives you access to use the 100's of existing Qwiic/Grove boards by simply plugging in the Qwiic/Grove cable to proper connector on daughterboard.

This daughterboard also has on board level shifting circuity to enable communication with 3.3V and 5V Qwiic/Grove boards.

    1. Qwiic connectors
    1. 3.3V Grove Digital connectors and (1) 5V Grove Digital connector (1) 5V Grove Digital/PWM connector.
    1. 3.3V Grove Analog connector.
    1. 3.3V Grove UART connector and (1) 5V Grove UART connector.
  • Pogo pin to 2*10 2.54mm / 0.1" pitch Through hole connector with (4) 1.2mm diameter drill holes for prototyping.
  • 3.3V/4.2V/5V on-board power option
  • No soldering between Qwiic breakout boards
  • Polarized connectors to prevent mistakes
  • Daisy chain capabilities for Qwiic breakout boards.
  • 5V operation requires USB cable connection


Add a light to the phone with a high power CREE LED.

The torch daughter board uses a CREE XML T6 LED and a SGM3785 Flash LED Driver. Current can be set via PWM Signal and max current can be limited using an external resistor.

Normal phones might have 2 or 3 modes available to drive the flash LED, but with this setup you can make it do exactly what you want. Temporary flash? Strobe? Morse Code? All are no problem with simple Arduino programming.

  • adjustable light output up to X watts total (need confirm)
  • 1 x Cree XML T6 (LED rated at Max. Luminous Flux @ 700 mA and 280 lm, system should drive the LED at less to allow for proper heat dissipation)
  • Default Modes: 5(Low; Mid; High; Strobe; SOS)
  • Color Temperature: 6000-6500K

Barcode+QR Scanner

Bar code scanner to read 1D and 2D bar codes on multiple surface types.

  • Supported formats: Codabar, Code 11, Code 39/Code 93, UPC/EAN,Code128/EAN128, Interleaved 2 of 5, Matrix 2 of 5, Industrial 2 of 5, MSI Code, GS1 Databar, QR code, Data Matrix, PDF417
  • Supports multiple read modes such as Manual, Command, Continuous, and Sensor mode.
  • Buzzer and led output available for barcode recognition notification.
  • UART communication interface

Weather Monitor

The Weather Monitor daughter board monitors Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), humidity, and temperature. A CCS811 Ultra-low power digital gas sensor is used for monitoring indoor air quality and an HDC1080 makes humidity and temperature measurements. This shield should be helpful to provide an indication of indoor air quality via an equivalent CO2 or TVOC reading. VOCs are often categorized as pollutants and/or sensory irritants and can come from a variety of sources like construction materials (paint, carpet, etc.), machines (copiers, processors, etc.) and even people (breathing, smoking, etc.)

The CCS811 sensor requires an inintial 48 hour burn-in, followed by calibration. Additionally, allow a 20 minute settling period for the sensor to come to a steady operating state to get maximum accuracy.

  • Total Volatile Organic Compound (TVOC) sensing from 0 to 1,187 parts per billion
  • eCO2 sensing from 400 to 8,192 parts per million
  • Relative Humidity (RH) Operating Range 0% to 100%
  • Relative Humidity Accuracy ±2%
  • Temperature Accuracy ±0.2°C
  • I2C Digital Interface
  • Low-Power Modes


General questions

WiPhone is a unique, minimal phone. It uses WIFI to make HD voice calls, for free. This means that there is no required service contract - and it’s yours for life.

WiPhone is an open source phone, compatible with the Arduino platform: it’s hackable, modular, cheap, and open.

No. You might be able to get one into the microSD slot if you really push.

You can sign up for one of the free VoIP services. This method allows you to receive calls, and to call anyone with a VoIP app installed on their phone or computer.

If you need to call regular phone numbers you will need to sign up for a paid VoIP service. Those generally cost significantly less than residential or cellular service.

You will need to use Multi-Tap text entry using the numeric keypad.
Feature Requests
The hardware supports it, if someone wants to write the software to enable it.

These features aren't currently included in the design. We are concentrating on making VoIP work well before we start adding features. But if you can design a PCB, we've reserved a header on the back of the phone for expansion if you want to add that capability.

Update: We have designed a LoRA daughterboard which may go into production if the response is big enough

Because they are simpler and cheaper than buying a larger touch-enabled screen. We want to make a low-cost phone that's easy for people to adapt to their needs. We think physical buttons are easier for people with limited hacking skills (or simply better tings to do than configure soft buttons) to adapt to their needs.
This depends on a few things we aren't finished designing yet. But we are aiming for the kind of device that doens't need charging every day.

See the Features section for the present specs. These are subject to revision.

We wrote it. There weren't any open source libraries available that were suitable for small embedded applications like this one.
Probably Github. After we ship the rewards.
We could, but not at this time. Please see the previous section for reasons why.
It doesn't, really. We wrote it using Processing, which lets you use the Arduino IDE that most electronics hackers are familiar with. Once the code is released you can easily look through the code to see how it all works. Or load your own and use the hardware for a completely different purpose.
Yes. WiPhone will have CE, FCC, IC, and RoHS (North American and European) compliance when the first units ship. Other certifications may be done based on response.
Currently no. Backers will have input to help us choose future features, so it's a possibility later.

Stop waiting.
Start building.

Let's Get Started!

We new friends!