I wrote a quick commentary on some of the issues at hand.
Crowdfunding needs some ways for non experts to be able to assess whether a certain project can deliver on its promises.(which ind.ie never could. Building your own smartphone with a handful of people?)
I think it can be done. Not a smartphone that can compete with Samsung or Apple on (all of) performance, fit-and-finish, and size, but it can be done. Bunnie and Xobs are shipping their open-source Novena laptop as we speak. There’s only two of them, and they seem to have fingers in many pies to boot :)
I don’t think this team could have. Bunnie and crew are technical people who have the knowledge, connections and know their limitations. These people didn’t seem to have a realistic goal. Maybe they can badge engineer a Chinese phone with some firmware, but even that I doubt.
I agree that it can be done – isn’t this what Jolla did?