Blogger News: Runcible: The Circular, Extensible, Anti-Smartphone 4.7.16

Runcible is an elegant, round, palm-sized mobile device with a new attitude towards your digital life.


As powerful as a smartphone, but is designed to be quiet, Runcible is designed to use all that power to enhance your real life rather than constantly pulling you into the digital world. When you're ready, you can do "smartphone things" like make calls, type, take pictures, explore the web and get directions, but the rest of the time Runcible is quiet, beautiful, and truly yours.

The Mission

We have spent the last year designing, re-designing, and sourcing components for this initial Runcible release.  While this device isn’t yet the polished, “available at the Apple store” kind of consumer electronic we know it will one day be, it is already useful, playful, powerful and truly something new.  

This version of Runcible features a Snapdragon 410 Quad-core processor, WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, 1GB RAM, 8GB eMMC 5.0 Flash storage, Rear-facing Camera, BuniOS (based on the Android 5.1), and exposed GPIO  and USB Host for further expansion and innovation by us but also by YOU.  Note that LTE/4g connectivity is a goal but not a certainty for this version (see "challenges" below). If LTE doesn't make it into this initial version, it will be a simple upgrade shortly afterwards, not a replacement!

Funds from this campaign will go to further polish and hone the process of creating Runcible as scale in a sustainable, responsible way.  We are keeping it local.  The wood backs are made with sustainably harvested and reclaimed wood from Mendocino County, California.  The device will be built right here in the Bay Area by people who live and work here.

Every dollar this initial release generates will go toward making Runcible cooler, better, and more broadly available.


Why are we funding this way?

The design and engineering needed for Runcible have been complex and often very expensive to do.  We have a terrific design for mass production today, but there is a chicken and egg problem: we want to get a solid platform into your hands as quickly as possible, but we don't want to be tied financially to people who didn’t necessarily share our values and vision for Runcible’s future. We have concluded that appealing to you, the audience, directly was the best approach, though the mixed results so often associated with crowd funded hardware are all too clear to us.


Risks & Challenges

One of the biggest challenges we face with putting Runcible into production is with wireless connectivity and wireless Operators.  Depending on how much you know about this industry, you might have noticed that Runcible doesn’t come pre-associated with a wireless carrier.  It's critical to us that we are not locked into one region or another.  This goes against the normal model in the wireless industry and we expect this to continue to be an uphill battle.  We feel that Runcible has to be about choice though, first and foremost.  We'll be honest because there is no reason not to be: for this release of Runcible, LTE data and voice connectivity will be a bit of an adventure.  We hope you will be willing to work with us in different regions of the world to test and pilot connectivity options.


Other Ways You Can Help

If you like the concept of Runcible, turn that into action.  Even if you aren’t able to get a device right now, you can download the developer tools and play around.  Join the community, file bugs, tell a friend, come have fun with us and let’s change the mobile world together!


Runcible Specs

Some aspects of the Runcible hardware stack are still works in progress and subject to small amounts of change, but the vast majority is locked down today:


  • Processor: Snapdragon 410 quad core,  ARM® Cortex® A53 (64bit, 1.2GHz) Qualcomm® Adreno™ 306 GPU with OpenGL ES 3, Qualcomm® Hexagon™ v5 DSP
  • Memory / Storage: 1GB LPDDR3 RAM (533MHz ) / 8GB eMMC 5.0 Flash
  • Wireless: Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n 2.4 GHz single band, Bluetooth 4.1, 4G/LTE Data (hopefully)
  • Display: 2.5 inch, 640x640 fully round screen at ~256dpi
  • Camera:  Rear-facing, 7MP camera (support for up to 13MP for hackers)
  • Audio: 1x Analog In / Out (other audio I/O options available on the main board)
  • Other Interfaces: 1x USB 2.0 (client or host), 2x BLSP 4-pin port configurable as I2C, SPI, UART or GPIO
  • Location: Qualcomm® IZat™ Gen 8C GPS, GLONASS
  • OS Support: BuniOS (based on Android 5.1), Linux
  • RoHS compliant

Runcible is sustainably made in California