Want to escape big tech? Here's how you can buy $500 Freedom Phone

The 'free speech and privacy first focused phone' from BitCoin millionaire Erik Finman will be available in August, but you can order it now


                            Want to escape big tech? Here's how you can buy $500 Freedom Phone
A screenshot from the Freedom Phone website showing off the device. (Freedom Phone website)

Big tech has become the boogeyman of the 21st century. From Apple's alleged monopoly on apps to Twitter's crackdown on right-wing nationalists, almost all major tech companies are facing backlash and government investigations. The debate over the role of big tech has also become a recurring rallying cry for the Republican Party, since Donald Trump was booted off social media after the January 6 insurrection. Well, now we may have a solution to that, with the Freedom Phone.

As conservatives and right-wing nationalists find themselves increasingly isolated from mainstream social media, many have taken to alternative sites. First, there was Parler, before it was booted off Amazon's servers and the Google Play Store and Apple App Store. The app managed to make a comeback of sorts but was quickly forgotten despite not being reliant on big tech. Of late, Gettr has made headlines as a viable alternative for social media giants. 

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It appears the battle against big tech isn't just limited to social media, but all other aspects. That's where the Freedom Phone comes in. Dubbed "a free speech and privacy first focused phone," the device by BitCoin millionaire Erik Finman promises to give users freedom from all sorts of censorship and tracking. Does that sound like the device for you? Here's everything you need to know, and how you can get your hands on one. 

Erik Finman shows off the Freedom Phone in a Twitter promo video. (Erik Finman/Twitter)

About Freedom Phone

There's not a lot we know about the $499.99 device. The website lacks any information about basic features you would want to know, like the operating system, RAM, camera, and battery life. The website merely says "large storage. 6in screen. Great camera" but doesn't delve into any details. From the one image uploaded, it appears as if the device has five rear cameras and a flash. On the front, it appears the device has a single teardrop-shaped camera, like most modern Android devices.

Beyond that, the only other thing we know is that the device will work will all "other domestic & international carriers", including AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile in the US. The website also claims "it does everything your current phone does, other than censor you." That seems to be the big appeal of the Freedom Phone, the entire website is dedicated to highlighting how the device helps "bring back free speech forever."

A view of the front of the Freedom Phone and its 'FreedomOS'. (Freedom Phone website)

To start with, the device comes with its own app store, where nothing is censored. That's a bold claim, and by the sounds of it, you can download almost any app in the world. That means apps like Parler should be available, even if they aren't on Android and iOS. Speaking of Parler, the website doesn't even attempt to hide its conservative nature. "Some of the most popular banned & unbanned conservative sites & apps. Pre-loaded directly on your phone," it says. That includes search engine DuckDuckGo, social network Rumble, and website Newsmax.

The device will reportedly run FreedomOS, an operating system "based on free speech". We have no clue what that means, or how it works. At the OS level, there are little manufacturers do to limit free speech, unless you count Apple's prudish efforts to autocorrect the f-word to duck. And finally, the device will come with a privacy guard called Trust. "Trust will help you understand the security of your device and warn you about possible threats," the website says. 

In a Twitter video, Finman promises the device doesn't come with app tracking, keyboard tracking, or location tracking. While the first two are normal, the third should leave you worried. Without location tracking, you won't be able to use apps like Google Maps, track your device if it is lost, or get location stamps on photos you take. Of course, Finman didn't explain if these features would work, because of course, they can't without some sort of location data. 



 

How can you buy it?

If the specs (or lack thereof) appeal to you, the good news is you can actually buy the phone now. The device can only be bought from Freedom's website and costs just $499.99. Ironically, you'll still have to pay for the device via "big tech" methods like Google Pay, PayPal, or credit/debit card. There also appears to be a $5 shipping fee, to some states. 

However, the device won't be available the next day. For one, Freedom looks like it will be reliant on the United States Postal Service, UPS, or other delivery systems. For another, the device doesn't actually ship till August. The website does not list an exact date for shipping, so you might have to wait for a while longer to get your hands on the device. There's reason to be cautious, in the past many device makers have gone bust or disappeared without sending orders out to customers.

However, if it's a risk you are willing to take, you can go ahead and buy the phone now. Aside from promoting conservative apps, the device also appears to co-opt Trump's infamous 'Make America Great Again' message by saying, "Not just making America great. But also making a great phone."

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