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Hi!
I am new to electronics(though, I have decent experience in embedded systems programming).
I have couple of questions.(I probably might sound immature or over estimating myself...but still, I would like to ask)

1. How difficult is it to make a SIMPLE cell phone (Voice &SMS) with the intention of selling it on retail markets? Mainly from technically, process,approvals and documentation point of view (for example using hw like arduino with some gsm shield). Obviously, budget not in millions of dollars.
I.e., I am not asking about marketing efforts, usefulness of that kind of product, thinkable market segments etc. Just without considering those for now.



2. Does the hw suppliers like parallex, telit etc create custom designs for these kind of product orders? For example, squeeze arduino+gsmshield into single small board and preprogram our software. If not, can you give some examples of companies that might be doing this kind of custom designs?


I will be very thankful to all who reply on this with any info.


Thank you
Naveen




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How difficult is it to make a SIMPLE cell phone (Voice &SMS) with the intention of selling it on retail markets?

Probably about as difficult as making a SIMPLE car with the intention of selling it in retail markets. smiley-wink

Look at how many cell phone manufacturing companies there are in the world and you will find your answer.

Sorry to be discouraging, but it's an incredibly complicated piece of equipment and there are indeed major regulatory approvals, major amounts of signal processing, complicated battery charging circuits, antenna drivers, etc. etc.

You can maybe put some pieces together from shields and such but not for retail market sale.

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Hi!
Thank you for quick reply. I absolutely agree with you. so many cell phone companies, lot of complex designs to make it competent in current day mobile market.

But, what If I want to make a fixed-cellphone? something like this,
1. which is always connected to electricity(maybe with a 2hours battery charging) using normal cellphone charger kind of.
2. size does not matter(compared to current compact models)
3. No other features except redirecting mic input to modem and voice from modem to speaker, no lcd = no separate application processor, memory etc needed?

In nutshell, putting arduino+gsmshield+speaker+battery(backup) in a custom designed case (like arduino case) and connect it to power using mobile charger.
And, what the user have with him is "JUST a gsm network" and what he wants to do is "just hear and talk when others call him" using that box.

And regarding regulatory approvals; doesnt these readymade modems from Telit,Seimens etc have those approvals covered already?  at least those data sheets talk a lot of many approval covered?

I ABSOLUTELY value and trust every point you mentioned. All I am trying is to get things clarified more.


Thank you once again
Naveen

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Hi!
Thank you for quick reply. I absolutely agree with you. so many cell phone companies, lot of complex designs to make it competent in current day mobile market.

But, what If I want to make a fixed-cellphone? something like this,
1. which is always connected to electricity(maybe with a 2hours battery charging) using normal cellphone charger kind of.
2. size does not matter(compared to current compact models)
3. No other features except redirecting mic input to modem and voice from modem to speaker, no lcd = no separate application processor, memory etc needed?

In nutshell, putting arduino+gsmshield+speaker+battery(backup) in a custom designed case (like arduino case) and connect it to power using mobile charger.
And, what the user have with him is "JUST a gsm network" and what he wants to do is "just hear and talk when others call him" using that box.

And regarding regulatory approvals; doesnt these readymade modems from Telit,Seimens etc have those approvals covered already?  at least those data sheets talk a lot of many approval covered?

I ABSOLUTELY value and trust every point you mentioned. All I am trying is to get things clarified more.


Thank you once again
Naveen



That would be a very strange cell phone indeed. I'm not an Arduino master by any means, but I think even the fastest Arduino might have troubles processing voice in real time. I think the fastest ones don't even break 20mhz on the clock. I could be mistaken though.
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Yes, you can strip down a cell phone to use Arduino+GSM shield+random other things but it won't be MARKETABLE! Remember, you said you wanted to sell it in retail markets. There's no way something like that is going to be competitive with an actual phone ($49?)

Gotta admire your enthusiasm though.

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ok. So my fundamental assumption i.e., "get arduino->plug gsmshield->attach speaker and mic->connect to pc using serial connection->powerup and make voice calls using AT commands" is not correct i suppose

I assumed that, these gsmshields will takecare of audio processing and outputs digital audio and same with mic input.

Any alternate suggestions if i still would like to make such "strange" device?

Thank you
Naveen





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Any alternate suggestions if i still would like to make such "strange" device?

Yes, go to a good school and get a degree in electrical engineering and computer science.
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I disagree. While you are not going to sell it to a soul (i dont even know if you could, legally) its perfectly possible to roll your own talk and sms cell phone.
Most full-blown cellular modules (such as all the ones here: http://www.sparkfun.com/categories/68 )  do handle audio processing, and be controlled over serial with simple AT commands. An arduino could certainly control it with few external components.

So, while you certainly can make a smallish device that does calling and texting, it still would be hard, and your not going to be turning it into a commercial product any time soon.
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"Most full-blown cellular modules (such as all the ones here: http://www.sparkfun.com/categories/68 )  do handle audio processing, and be controlled over serial with simple AT commands"
In my previous posts, by "readymade modems from Telit,Seimens etc have " , I meant the same modules. To be precise, I had this in my mind when starting this thread http://www.hwkitchen.com/products/gsm-playground/
And it says "Domestic automation - remote opening of doors or gates using DTMF or just a call, switching of lights or sauna, controlling of heating, handsfree voice communication with somebody at home"

This gsmplayground shield uses GE863-QUAD from Telit. And, SW manual for this modem at www.telit.com talks about how to "Dialing a Phone Number (Voice Call)" and "Setting the Desired Volume on the Active Audio Path Speaker Output" etc

So, statements such as above made me assume that I can create a voice enabled cell phone directly by assembling these modules with little or no electronics experience.



And, according to Telit website regarding the same modem GE863-QUAD,
"The GE863-QUAD module is now boasting quad-band functionality and RoHS compliance and additional new features. This translates into one consistent product offering for global GSM networks and provides for significant cost advantages with the savings in approvals and logistics costs. "

Statements such as above made me assume that majority of approvals related to HW/communication standards are taken care by these providers already = I (=small registered company) can simply use these modules with minimal extra efforts on certifications(as long as I have official agreement with the supplier) and release a product.


Thank you
Naveen

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Naveen, let me ask a question that may help you see this problem from another perspective: IF it were possible for someone with little or no electronics experience to make a working cell phone from readily available components and market/produce/distribute it in volume to retail customers AND make a profit, don't you think someone would have done it by now?

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Guys, I think you are thinking "Cell Phone" like that thing in your hand. I think he is thinking of FUNCTION and what can be done with it.

My Son has designed a commercial product that goes on mountaintops and calls the data home using cellular parts controlled by an ATMEL controller. 1000 sold...

A Guy near me here has a prototype monitoring system working that will be duplicated all the way up and down the coast of the Red Sea, sending both weather and sea information.

Some cars call the cops if they're stolen.

I think there's a LOT of room for innovation and products that no 13 year old would recognize as a "Cell Phone"..

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Regards, Terry King  ..On the Red Sea at KAUST.edu.sa
terry@yourduino.com  LEARN! DO! (Arduino Boards, Sensors, Parts @ http://yourduino.com

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@Nootropic! I absolutely agree with you. No doubt we would have seen mobilephones like assembled desktops if its that simple

But what Terryking said is close to what I am looking for =not a fancy compact "cell phone" that can compete with Apple and Nokia. But a device that uses gsm network to transfer only voice from both ends. And not expecting to sell that volumes of mobile phones. And importantly. Does not use it close to human ear(speaker mainly used)

Sorry if my message was not that clear earlier.

So. Do I still sound optimistic(or you may call ignorant)? Or doable?

Thank you.
Naveen
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Naveen,

you just sound ignorant.

If you have a great idea which need cell phone capabilities, the cheapest way to go about it for hand-crafted prototypes is to get old cell phones, rip out unneeded parts and interface with them. You'd by surprised how many elder devices went that way where you find inside the box somewhere a disassembles Nokia, Motorola or Siemens phones.

Next cheapest for prototype series is to get a ready made mobile modules. The pricing for those things decrease a lot when you buy bulk and that's the way most products with cell-phone capabilites go about these days. From the pricing your product will never be able to be competitive with regular cell phones simply because of the economy of scales. However this works well for niche-products with added benefits where a premium on the communication part is acceptable.

Designing and implementing your own cell phone: Forget it. You have no chance of either getting right either the GSM protocol  nor the air interface nor the voice handling in a reasonable amount of time.

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Naveen,

you just sound ignorant.

If you have a great idea which need cell phone capabilities, the cheapest way to go about it for hand-crafted prototypes is to get old cell phones, rip out unneeded parts and interface with them. You'd by surprised how many elder devices went that way where you find inside the box somewhere a disassembles Nokia, Motorola or Siemens phones.

Next cheapest for prototype series is to get a ready made mobile modules. The pricing for those things decrease a lot when you buy bulk and that's the way most products with cell-phone capabilites go about these days. From the pricing your product will never be able to be competitive with regular cell phones simply because of the economy of scales. However this works well for niche-products with added benefits where a premium on the communication part is acceptable.

Designing and implementing your own cell phone: Forget it. You have no chance of either getting right either the GSM protocol  nor the air interface nor the voice handling in a reasonable amount of time.

Korman
I think you may be misunderstanding his point. if I'm understanding this all correctly, he just wants to use any of the ready made, commercially available cellular modules in a finished project. Tons of people have done it, and if you have a good understanding of the basics, its really not that hard. For making calls, you can just make the appropriate power and antenna connections, connect a speaker or earphone to the pins on the module labeled earphone + and - , and start sending it serial commands.
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Yes. Thats right. I did not want to make a phone from silicon level nor write my own GSM stack and make it work. As Bilbo pointed out, I want to  use any "Readymade" full gsm modems and "assemble" them to create a device which can be used to make voice phone calls. Thanks Bilbo.

@Korman - You did actually answer my question partially in your second sentence "Next cheapest for prototype series is to get a ready made mobile modules. The pricing for those things decrease a lot when you buy bulk and that's the way most products with cell-phone capabilites go about these days.  - This was one thing I wanted to hear from experts like you - Thank you.



Thanks
Naveen
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