We present a compact mobile phone platform for rapid, quantitative biomolecular detection. This system consists of an embedded circuit for signal processing and data analysis, and disposable microfluidic chips for fluidic handling and biosensing. Capillary flow is employed for sample loading, processing, and pumping to enhance operational portability and simplicity. Graphical step-by-step instructions displayed on the phone assists the operator through the detection process. After the completion of each measurement, the results are displayed on the screen for immediate assessment and the data is automatically saved to the phone's memory for future analysis and transmission. Validation of this device was carried out by detecting Plasmodium falciparum histidine-rich protein 2 (PfHRP2), an important biomarker for malaria, with a lower limit of detection of 16 ng mL-1in human serum. The simple detection process can be carried out with two loading steps and takes 15 min to complete each measurement. Due to its compact size and high performance, this device offers immense potential as a widely accessible, point-of-care diagnostic platform, especially in remote and rural areas. In addition to its impact on global healthcare, this technology is relevant to other important applications including food safety, environmental monitoring and biosecurity. © 2013 The Royal Society of Chemistry.