Can an old phone be DIY? Samsung’s “Magic Changed” mobile phone ends

Every time I talk about old phones, my friends are always gearing up to introduce their collections to me first. After the actual visit, I really sighed, the number is really large.

One of my friends once collected the first to sixth generations of iPod Touch, as well as the classic iPhone 4, iPhone 5S and other products. When I asked which product would still be used, he said:

Except for iPod Touch 6, most of the others can only use nostalgia.

This is also a common situation for old devices. Although the hardware and software functions are normal, time has passed in a hurry, and their role in daily life is becoming less and less.

Samsung had planned to change this phenomenon. As one of the world's leading mobile phone manufacturers, it has personally modified old mobile phones.

In addition to nostalgia, old phones can also be transformed like this

Samsung’s modification plan is called "Galaxy Upcycling", which was first proposed in 2017 to transform old Samsung phones into a variety of interesting and useful electronic products.

Samsung has designed a very ambitious future for this modification plan, and even stated that it will open source this old phone modification plan, so that other developers can learn how to call various modules of the old phone and even run other operating systems through open source information.

In other words, people can even transform old mobile phones into computers with Linux systems, retro game simulators, automatic pet feeding controllers, and other small objects that meet their personal needs. At present, the renovation plan has some implementation plans.

▲ Some geeks changed old Samsung phones into game consoles. Picture from: iFixit

For example, this visual impairment diagnostic device modified from an old Samsung mobile phone, through cooperation with the International Blindness Prevention Agency IAPB and Yonsei University in South Korea, Samsung combines the mobile phone with the EYELIKE camera, and the old mobile phone with lens accessories can take images of the inside of the eyes and use artificial intelligence. The algorithm analyzes the image to check whether the subject suffers from eye diseases.

Of course, this is only used for basic diagnosis, and it depends on the doctor's diagnosis. In remote areas or areas with imperfect medical systems, this equipment modified with old mobile phones is relatively affordable, and the addition of artificial intelligence technology is also liberating to a certain extent. Part of the medical staff has been improved, and the efficiency of medical treatment has been accelerated.

In this way, the hardware computing power is used, and the undamaged mobile phone camera and screen can be used again. According to Samsung, this type of cooperation will continue, and they will continue to introduce medical devices such as smart phone-based portable colposcopes.

And this year, Samsung updated the Galaxy Upcycling plan and brought a new transformation plan. According to the relevant promotional video, this time the old Samsung mobile phone can act as a variety of smart home accessories, such as baby monitors. Once the sensor detects the baby’s crying A notification will be issued to remind parents.

In addition, it can be transformed into a smart home controller, which will automatically turn on the lights in the home once it detects that the pet is alone at home. For users, it is relatively simple to transform old mobile phones. Samsung provides corresponding updated firmware, which can be downloaded by users.

At the same time, the combination with smart home can also allow people to make more custom operations. Of course, most of the battery life of old mobile phones is not good enough. Samsung also anticipated that it optimized the way of use to reduce the daily power consumption.

Generally speaking, Soc is a big power user on smart phones. At present, most mobile chips are designed with large and small cores. Smart home controllers do not require high performance. Low-power Bluetooth and WiFi transmission technologies are mature enough. Therefore, continuous use of small cores to drive old phones can still significantly increase battery life.

After the announcement of Samsung’s old phone renovation plan, it was highly praised. Generally speaking, the end of old phones is either eating dust in a drawer, reselling or even discarding them as electronic waste, and then entering the garbage disposal process to be decomposed. The old phone renovation plan can effectively reduce electronic waste. , It is also conducive to protecting the environment.

According to data from the American public interest research organization RIPG, the United States alone consumes 23.7 million tons of raw materials for the production of smartphones each year. The organization estimates that if consumers in the United States use smartphones for one more year, the reduction in emissions is equivalent to 63.6. Million cars.

▲ More and more e-waste. Picture from: NationSwell

At present, the transformation plan has been launched in the United States, South Korea, the United Kingdom and other regions. This project originally from a small team within Samsung has won Samsung a good brand reputation.

The transformation of mobile phones is nothing new, but big companies have finally “regularized” it

In all fairness, the transformation of electronic products such as mobile phones is nothing new. Previously, it was commonplace to install batteries on the iPhone, replace the full-fitting screen of the Switch, and even upgrade the Root of various Android phones.

▲ Adding LED lights to the iPhone logo was once a popular modification project

However, Samsung, as one of the world's largest mobile phone manufacturers, has personally modified its mobile phones to formalize this matter, bringing many different changes compared to the transformation of individuals or geeks.

The first is the coverage. Compared with personal Samsung, it can better cover a variety of old models. At the same time, like the smart home controller transformation mentioned above, under the situation of similar functions, Samsung, who has developed these models, can naturally Higher efficiency batch adaptation.

This kind of case is also uncommon in the industry. When I was talking about the mobile phone cooling back clip with my friends before, I was surprised by its intuitive and remarkable heat dissipation effect. I also lamented that this was originally a DIY product by individual geeks. Mainstream mobile phone manufacturers entered this place. After the first field, not only allows more consumers to enjoy good products, but also reduces prices.

If the individual reforms, the overall overall cost is close to 200 yuan, and the final sales price of mass-manufacturing manufacturers is mostly within 100 yuan, which lowers the barriers to entry.

The second is safety. Generally speaking, the sale of electronic products to the public requires corresponding tests to ensure safety. The transformation of old phones focuses more on the software level, and the mobile phone manufacturers who are most familiar with the old phones have more comprehensive internal information. Naturally, there is a safety advantage in retrofitting.

Most of our common electronic product transformations are mainly based on hardware adjustments, but this also puts forward higher requirements for the safety of the transformation. At the same time, mass popularization also requires a process of mass manufacturing and assembling hardware, which lengthens the entire transformation period. And the difficulty of transformation.

The method of firmware upgrade or combined use with other products is through software OTA. As long as Samsung does not intentionally close the port, it is still possible to reverse downgrade to the original system. This also helps the product to be used as a second-hand product to a certain extent. Circulation.

In addition, large companies obviously have more technical reserves than geeks or related teams. The visually impaired diagnostic device mentioned above uses Samsung’s artificial intelligence computing technology. Without changes to the hardware, artificial intelligence does Can bring unexpected improvements.

There are also many cases in the industry. When Google’s Pixel series was first launched, the single-camera image system was obviously lagging behind other brands’ flagships. However, with the HDR+ technology of artificial intelligence multi-frame calculation and synthesis, the final effect was reversed. Better than current flagships such as iPhone X,

This undoubtedly proves that the software transformation of old mobile phones still has great potential.

There is still a long way to go for the transformation of the old machine

It can be said that this old phone renovation plan launched by Samsung has extremely high value for the environment and for ordinary DIY enthusiasts, but the actual situation has not been realized in accordance with the ideal plan. As time goes by, people are concerned about this renovation plan. Questions are also increasing.

One of the reasons for this is that Samsung’s advancement speed is too slow. Since the announcement of the vision of the renovation plan in 2017, Samsung has not announced the actual progress of the plan. It will not initially launch a smart home renovation plan until 2021.

Moreover, in the eyes of many people, this smart home renovation plan did not make full use of the capabilities of the old mobile phone. It just transformed the smart phone into a sensor. There are many alternative low-cost controllers on the market. The value gap between a sensor and a mobile phone that can be circulated in the second-hand market is self-evident.

By 2021, there are not many models that support the transformation plan, mainly the Samsung Galaxy, Note and Z series released in 2018.

▲ Samsung Galaxy S9 is the main product in the transformation plan

More importantly, the open source plan promised by Samsung is still in the foreseeable future. This greatly reduces the scope of transformation. The retro game simulators and even Linux systems mentioned before are no longer good.

This also makes many people think that Samsung is just marketing and propaganda rather than sincerely want to transform the old mobile phone, after all, there are relatively few people who can use the currently announced transformation plan.

The reason why Samsung did not continue to advance is also very simple-it is not profitable. Although the renovation project comes from within Samsung, it is obvious that the old machine renovation cannot directly generate monetary benefits. On the contrary, Samsung has to spend a lot of manpower and material resources to rebuild.

Even if the reform plan is open sourced, for Samsung to publish system information of some old models, there is still a risk of damaging intellectual property rights. As a large commercial organization, it is not surprising that this choice is driven by interests. Up.

Smart phones and even the computer industry have now entered a period of high maturity. There will only be more and more old computers and old mobile phones. However, for the mature computer DIY market, mobile phone hardware is obviously more integrated, and hardware transformation is more difficult to standardize and even more difficult. A large-scale commercial market, and software upgrades can indeed be regarded as a new direction.

But relying on Samsung alone, it may be unrealistic to transform old machines into thousands of households, not to mention that this is a project with unclear business prospects.

Perhaps the solution to this problem is a new second-hand transformation platform. The geek team or commercial company proposes a transformation plan and charges a certain fee. Users can also purchase corresponding solutions to reuse their old mobile phones.

Only when we win more can we promote change.

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