DIY Raspberry Pi-based smartphone dubbed ‘PiPhone’ is unveiled
Linux software engineer David Hunt has unveiled his latest “DIY Project” on his blog, showing off a Raspberry Pi based smartphone he calls the PiPhone. The home-made device comes with an Adafruit touchscreen display and a Sim900 GSM/GPRS module for placing phone calls and sending texts.
The bare-wire design of the device is obviously not a finished product as it may seem rough, but it does serve as a functional proof of concept prototype which only cost a total of $158 in materials to make. The off-the-shelf components include; the $40 Raspberry Pi model B, the $35 PiTFT display, the $15 2500mAh LiPo battery, the $48 GSM/GPRS radio module and an antenna, the $10 DC-DC voltage converter, and a few other parts required to make the device work costing around $10.
Here is a video of Hunt introducing the PiPhone.
Hunt is offering the code of his custom software used to make calls on the device freely to anyone interested, saying that he will upload it to GitHub. However, he does suggest that his code is “not very clean” and recommend advanced users to developer their own.
We know that the PiPhone’s 320×240 resolution screen is not going to impress anyone, nor is the slightly chunky chassis and the fact the device “gets a bit hot” around the CPU if the unit is left switched on for several minutes since there is very little air circulation. The PiPhone will also require a headset which one can plus into the mic and headphone jacks in order to make or receive a phone call but it does work with a regular SIM card.
All in all, you will definitely be able to pick up a more powerful, slimmer phone just from your local phone shop, with no assembly required. But as Hunt points out: “where’s the fun in that?” I think Hunt has demonstrated quite well that it is possible for anyone to assemble their own smartphone and if you are interested in building your own non-Android/iOS phone, maybe Raspberry Pi is a good place to start!