The hidden costs of building an Android phone

Mishaal Rahman
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The hidden costs of building an Android phone

As a manufacturer, building an Android phone to the spec you want has its challenges and costs. You need to deal with dozens of regulatory agencies and standards bodies as well as (shudder) work with carriers if you want a chance at making a splash with a new product.

From assembly to testing to retail, OSOM Privacy is chugging along as it prepares to launch its first smartphone, and we're glad to have co-founder/CEO Jason Keats and chief product officer Gary Anderson join us again for a special, extended, freewheeling episode of Android Bytes.

  • 03:33 - 05:40 - Trademark secrecy, gatekeeping IMEI numbers
  • 05:43 - 07:32 - Certifying with the FCC (and other telecom agencies)
  • 07:34 - 13:40 - Bluetooth, WiFi, 4G, 5G, USB, and other certifications
  • 13:41 - 16:08 - IP ratings
  • 16:10 - 18:00 - Making a phone "unbreakable", or at least ruggedized (MIL-STD-810)
  • 18:07 - 23:35 - Drop tests, glass durability, and foldables
  • 23:38 - 26:17 - How to navigate the confusing mess of certifications
  • 27:00 - 32:07 - Pre-production hardware, EVTs, DVTs, etc.
  • 32:08 - 42:12 - Factory software provisioning, tooling, and signing
  • 44:26 - 50:06 - Cellular band support, VoLTE, and carrier certification
  • 50:10 - 52:30 - Why shipping phones in Japan, India, Russia, and Brazil is costly
  • 52:33 - 55:55 - Carrier software requirements
  • 55:57 - 59:30 - Widevine DRM, Netflix certification, and RSAs for preloads
  • 1:05:52 - 1:08:03 - Buttons, ports, and a future without them

About the Podcast

Android Bytes (powered by Esper)

A weekly show that dives deep into the Android OS

Android Bytes (powered by Esper) is the podcast that dives deep into the engineering and business decisions behind the world’s most popular OS. 

Android powers over 3 billion devices worldwide and is the platform of choice for over a thousand companies. You’ll find Android on smartphones, tablets, watches, TV, cars, kiosks, and so much more. How does Google architect Android to run on so many form factors, and how do companies fork AOSP to make it run on even more devices? These are the kinds of questions the Android Bytes podcast considers each week.

Join cohosts Mishaal Rahman and David Ruddock, two journalists with extensive knowledge covering the Android OS platform and ecosystem, as they speak to system architects, kernel engineers, app developers, and other distinguished experts in the Android space.

Click here to learn more about the podcast. Get in touch with us at if you’re looking to use Android for your product — we have the experience you need.

Our music is “19” by HOME and is licensed under CC BY 3.0.


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Mishaal Rahman
Mishaal Rahman

Mishaal Rahman is a Technical Editor at Esper. He has been an Android user for over a decade and has been at the forefront of Android news coverage for half a decade. His in-depth breakdowns of new Android versions have been referenced across the Internet.