Technology

The “Freedom Cellphone” geared toward MAGA has a wide ranging variety of crimson flags

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  • The Freedom Phone with a very political selection of standard apps.

  • The back of the phone.

    Freedom phone

“Nobody voted for Mark [Zuckerberg] or Jack [Dorsey] to be the arbiter of truth in America, “declares a man above a chorus of triumphant horns.” Still, they felt it was okay to banish an incumbent president from their stands. If they censor the president, they censor everyone. Imagine if Mark Zuckerberg censored MLK or Abraham Lincoln. The course of history would have been changed forever! “

This is the selling point for the “Freedom Phone”, a $ 500 smartphone aimed at the MAGA crowd. As we’ve seen with Gab, Parler, and Voat, the Freedom Phone is the latest attempt at building an alternative tech platform for right-wing extremists, but this time with a smartphone instead of social media. When the phone was announced in March, the tagline was “a phone made by conservatives for conservatives.” The device is being sold by Erik Finman, the self-proclaimed “youngest Bitcoin millionaire in the world”. The cell phone should be delivered in August.

The functionality of the Freedom Phone is roughly what you would expect. The company (apparently also called “Freedom Phone”) claims to have created an “uncensible app store” that doesn’t ban Gab and Parler like Google and Apple do. “FreedomOS” is a “Free Speech First” operating system that the company allegedly developed and the hardware is “comparable to the best smartphones on the market”. Based on the information Freedom Phone has released so far, almost none of this seems to be true.

The phone has so many red flags that it is difficult to know where to start. The website lists almost no information about the device itself. There’s a name, a picture, and a price, but there’s no data sheet. This is a $ 500 phone, and the website gives you no indication of what you are actually buying. The website’s home page looks normal, but any button that says something like “More Info” and a link to more information says “Buy Now” instead. There are 10 “Buy Now” links throughout the front of the website – and almost no essential information about the phone. Many manufacturers publish incomplete teaser pages for upcoming phones, but they don’t collect the full retail price from customers without first providing detailed technical information.

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Speaking to The Daily Beast over the phone, Finman admitted that his supposedly patriotic device was made by Umidigi, a Chinese tech company. Our best guess is that the phone is a renamed Umidigi A9 Pro that you can buy for around $ 120. Without a spec list that pretty much every other smartphone manufacturer on earth provides, the impression remains that the hardware does not match the price.

Everyone who buys a Freedom Phone is basically doing it invisibly. You should really trust this aspiring phone maker because if you don’t like what you get, you are out of luck. The FAQ states: “If the device is already open, we currently do not offer a return.” Other manufacturers stand behind their products.

The “uncensible App Store” is … the Play Store?

  • The “PatriApp” store is just the Aurora app client and the Play Store app catalog.

  • Does it have google apps? So Freedom Phone either didn’t build an app store or pirated the Google apps.

  • Here is the app drawer. These are mostly lineage apps. Does it come with Fortnite too?

Calling some turnkey manufacturers in China and having a phone made is not a lot of work, but running your own app store is a lot more difficult. You need an account system, servers, and a way for developers to upload apps. You also need to keep the ecosystem going for years. Claiming to do so, Freedom Phone company says, “We made our own app store that is completely uncensored. If an app you love has been banned from mainstream app stores, you can always get it still in our download because we don’t prohibit apps, period. “

You don’t ban apps, period? Even if it contains malware, porn or illegal content?

And while Freedom Phone company provides almost no information about the device, various conservative internet figures have posted handy videos of the phone, and it doesn’t look like Freedom Phone company built an app store at all.

As XDA’s Mishaal Rahman pointed out on Twitter, the phone’s “PatriApp” store appears to be nothing more than a renamed Aurora Store, an open source client for the Play Store. This is not an alternate app store like F-Droid or the Amazon App Store – Aurora connects to Google’s Play Store servers and is the Play Store app catalog; it just uses an alternate client. In fact, videos like this one show that the App Store has all of the popular Google Play apps you would expect, like YouTube, Google Photos, Instagram, Facebook, Netflix, Spotify, Snapchat, and more. It would be possible to set up the open source Aurora client to connect to something other than the Google App Store, but the presence of so many major app vendors suggests that the Freedom Phone will simply be on the Play Store got. The only other (much less likely) explanation is piracy.

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The video hosts don’t seem to understand that they are looking at the Play Store, and they all claim that they are using the “uncensored” Freedom Phone App Store. None of the speakers showed how to download a banned app from the allegedly uncensored store. One reason Freedom Phone can promise not to censor anything is because it doesn’t control the Play Store.

As far as getting “censored” apps onto the Freedom Phone is concerned, the plan seems to be to subpoena them. The phone comes with apps for right-wing outlets and services like Newsmax, OANN, Parler and Rumble. You can’t update these apps from the Aurora Play Store client, but if they’re just web links, it probably doesn’t matter.

Finman says the “FreedomOS” operating system is “our own mix of AOSP, LineageOS, GrapheneOS and also our personal development”. FreedomOS certainly seems to have taken over most of the apps and graphics from LineageOS, the largest open source Android distribution in the Android community. You will also discover microG, a replacement for Google Play services for phones without Google. Usually, Google’s Android phones perform many services through Google, such as location, push notifications, and more. The client for these functions are the proprietary Play Services. MicroG is a reimplementation of these APIs and can redirect them to another service for something like / e / OS that provides its own cloud servers. It’s not clear what’s going on with the Freedom Phone. It has the Play Store and can download Google apps. Is there an alternative cloud service?

Lots of payment problems

  • The Freedom Phone has been constantly dropping payment providers.

  • In one of the many changes to the checkout flow for the Freedom Phone, the coupon codes stacked up briefly and you could get the phone for $ 0 plus shipping.

    Ron Amadeo

Looking at the Freedom Phone website for the past few days has been a thrill. The company has continuously changed the payment processors available and changed its checkout flow several times. Browsing Archive.org and comparing the payment list for launching the site with the current one reveals an interesting story. Apple Pay, Google Pay, Venmo, PayPal, Discover and several other payment solutions were supported, but now the website only accepts the normal checkout process from Amazon Pay or Shopify.

For some reason, on Monday night the website briefly shifted their entire checkout process from Shopify to WooCommerce (H / T @relationsatwork), and while Shopify was set up to only accept a single discount code, WooCommerce wasn’t. Countless conservative personalities are pushing this phone with custom $ 50 discount codes, and by using some easy-to-guess (MAGA, Trump2024, etc.) $ 0 with only the $ 20 shipping and handling fee charged to their cards .

It’s hard to believe the company will actually ship the phones for that price, but they processed a couple of $ 20 orders (including ours). When the phone shows up, we’ll notify you.

Entry image of Freedom Phone

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