PiPhone – home-made Raspberry Pi smartphone

Update, May 6 2014: Dave’s now filmed a teardown of the project, because so many of you were asking for more details.

Dave Hunt‘s been at it again. Here’s his latest: a home-made smartphone based around a Raspberry Pi. It’s smaller than many of the phones I’ve owned, and it’s cheaper than the phone that’s currently in my pocket, with a parts list coming in at only $158. The PiPhone is built entirely from off-the-shelf kit, so there’s no soldering required, and no fiddly electronics work. I’ll let Dave introduce it to you.

The PiPhone is a remarkably simple build, with a Sim900 GSM/GPRS module (which you can slip a SIM card into – you’ll still have to pay for your calls) talking to the network and doing the heavy communications lifting (making calls, and hanging up; sending texts and dealing with data); an on/off switch, a converter to make the LiPoly battery output 5 volts, and one of Adafruit’s tiny TFT monitors. You’ll find a typically thorough writeup on Dave’s website, with a parts list (he sourced everything from Adafruit and eBay), although he hasn’t uploaded the code, which he currently considers a bit hacky, to GitHub yet; please do, Dave, because we’d like to have a play! Dave’s now made the code available. Go and have a poke.

For those of you who do not want your phones crammed with Apple, Google or Microsoft software (Jonathan Bell, one of our engineers, still hauls around a Nokia 1600 for that reason – and because the thing’s basically unbreakable), or who want the satisfaction of making one yourself, this is the perfect project. Thanks (again) Dave!