Skip to main content

FreedomPop's releasing a phone that ignores cellular connectivity, and favors Wi-Fi

freedompop family plan feature
FreedomPop, the network that provides both free and low-cost mobile connectivity, has announced it’ll launch a Wi-Fi smartphone next year, which will use Intel’s new Atom x3 processor known as SoFIA. What’s a Wi-Fi smartphone? It’s one that uses Wi-Fi hotspots to provide calls, messages and data, rather than traditional cellular services.

Details on exactly how this will work are slim. The phone will be cheap, and aimed expressly at Wi-Fi connectivity, but it’s unclear whether it’ll still provide 3G or 4G as a back up. Wi-Fi may be common, but it’s definitely not available everywhere, and in an emergency it would be typical not to have a connection.

Related Videos

Services on the phone will include those to manage network speeds, and take VoIP calls. FreedomPop users must already install an app to enable voice and messaging, so the Wi-Fi phone will likely work in the same way. In the U.S., it offers a $5 monthly plan to connect to a network of 10 million Wi-Fi hotspots nationwide, providing unlimited calls, texts, and data.

FreedomPop says the phone will use Intel’s SoFIA platform, which was introduced in March this year, and designed for entry-level hardware. The 64-bit chip comes in both dual-core and quad-core form, with speeds ranging from 1GHz to 1.4GHz. Devices that use the chip may cost just $50, according to an Intel representative speaking to Cnet earlier this year. Intel says 20 companies including Asus, Lenovo, and unusually, Jolla have said they’ll make phones using the Atom x3.

Intel’s partnering with FreedomPop for the Wi-Fi phone’s launch, and the chip giant has invested an unspecified amount in FreedomPop’s business. This funding will be used to launch the new phone, and when it does, the device will have FreedomPop branding and be sold in several markets. Already established in the U.S., FreedomPop recently launched in the UK, and has plans to expand further into Europe.

We’ll keep you updated with news on the FreedomPop Wi-Fi phone as it becomes known.

Editors' Recommendations

What’s the deal with the Astro Slide 5G hybrid phone?
Astro Slide 5G being held as a laptop/smartphone hybrid with a physical keyboard.

Smartphones as we know them killed physical keyboards on mobile phones over a decade ago. No one carries a flip phone, Sidekick, or BlackBerry anymore because the iPhone and Samsung Galaxy smartphones have eliminated the need for us to type on the bulky keypads in order to send an email or text message to somebody. More often than not, people had a hard time typing out messages because the keys were either too small for their fingers or, if they had a flip phone, they had to press the same key more than once to get the correct letters.

It seems like a lifetime ago since we carried phones with physical keyboards. Now there's a passionate community of retro technology geeks working to resurrect those devices in the form of a laptop/smartphone hybrid called the Astro Slide 5G. It's the first 5G transformer smartphone made courtesy of U.K.-based phone developer Planet Computers, and it's currently up for pre-order, with deliveries expected to go out in April.
It's a laptop and a smartphone?
Courtesy: Planet Computers

Read more
How phones, social media, games keep seniors connected, safe
A person plays 'Wordle' on an iPhone.

Wordle has become an international hit with people of all ages. Each day, there's a new five-letter word to guess — some people get it in three guesses, others in the maximum of six. The game, which was recently acquired by The New York Times, is so popular that people have created chat groups with friends and family to share their results. It's a fun brainteaser, and no one loves brainteasers more than seniors. And this embrace of technology can help save lives.

Last month, a Seattle woman became worried about the well-being of her mother, 80-year-old Illinois resident Denyse Holt, after she didn't text her daily Wordle score to her. The daughter and her friends called her mother's local police department from across the country, and officers went over to Holt's house to discover that she was being held hostage by a naked man. This daily ritual of playing Wordle with her geographically distant family may have kept Holt alive.
Seniors are using smart tech and social media more than ever

Read more
Qualcomm’s FastConnect 7800 is the world’s first Wi-Fi 7 product
Qualcomm logo at an event.

At MWC 2022, Qualcomm has revealed the FastConnect 7800 chipset, which it says is “the world’s first Wi-Fi 7 product.”

FastConnect 7800 is a 14nm chip that supports Wi-Fi 7 and Bluetooth 5.3, promising high-speed, low latency network connectivity, and wireless audio enhancements altogether. Among the supported 5GHz, 6GHz, and 2.4GhHz spectrums, Wi-Fi 7 utilizes the first two, whereas the lattermost is reserved for Bluetooth and lower-bandwidth Wi-Fi.

Read more