The folks at Sparqee.com have been making things for a while.
While working on a recent project that was meant to include cellular connections, they ran into somewhat of a roadblock: There were no small, cheap cellular development boards available for them to prototype with. This sparked the "Cell v.1.0," an open-source cellular development board, which has just gone live on Kickstarter.
The Cell v.1.0 allows users to add cellular communications to projects quite easily. The Cellular module snaps onto a jumper board, which breaks data out into only four pins (Vref, Gnd, Tx, and RX). Additional "shields" allow them to be stacked on top of Arduinos and Raspberry Pi boards. As you can see in the video, the Cell itself is less than half the size of the Arduino.
SparqEE is open-sourcing the entire project. Users can download the schematics, source code, PCB files, and even the server software. And there isn't any need to build your own server as the company also is offering users free use of their servers.
Although the developers say that setting up your cellular connection can be as easy as pulling the SIM card from your phone and inserting it into the Cell, many will want a more permanent solution. To this end, the company has negotiated deals that allow them to have SIM cards available that work anywhere in the world at fairly cheap rates.
They intend to support their community in any way possible as well, stating this on their blog:
The CELLv1.0 is a completely open source project that goes several steps further. Not only are all the design files, schematics, layouts, and code available, but we're providing a complete ecosystem for users including a freely available server and software available using a simple and straightforward RESTful API.
Part of the ecosystem will be a space to host projects. Users can host their projects and build logs on the SparqEE site for others to follow, learn from, be inspired by, and even provide technical assistance.