The Frank Phone project is going back to the research and design phase to come up with a new device and possibly a new OEM contractor. The project will also likely find a new sales platform. The change will essentially make the Frank project into a new device entirely from what it was before, rather than trying to stay close to the specs and design previously shown. The Frank team has also provided a link that will lead prospective Frank buyers to a discount on the final device, if they choose to stick it out through this setback and buy a Frank Phone once it’s released.
The project was recently suspended on Indiegogo after it was revealed that the Frank Phone was not an entirely original creation, but rather a spec variation and rebrand of an existing Chinese device, manufactured to order by Shenzen Leegoog International Technology Co., Ltd. The device that the Frank Phone was set to be based on is actually available from e-commerce giant Alibaba for between $125 and $135 per unit. The idea with the Frank Phone was to customize that base design to provide the best balance between price and performance for the American and Canadian markets. The language of the Frank campaign originally made it seem like the team had designed the phone from the ground up, and the backlash that resulted from that misrepresentation coming to light included suspension from Indiegogo, since that sort of behavior with a product in development is actually a breach of the site’s terms.
The Frank project, originally, was not anything too ambitious. At the root of the punk-rock attitude and decidedly frank wording of press copy, the goal of the project was to put together a package that essentially contained all the smartphone features that the average consumer would need, and get it to market as cheaply as possible, serving as an alternative to settling for used phones, buying pricey devices upfront, or paying monthly to your carrier. The original device plans included spec highlights like an upper mid-range MediaTek processor, 3GB of RAM, and a 5.5-inch, 1080p screen. Presumably, the new Frank Phone, when it is designed and revealed, will follow the same philosophy, though the specs and design could be different.