DIY Smartphone?

How about making your own smarphone? Making a cell phone or smart phone is not out of reach for clever hardware hacker. If you are planning to make a simple cell phone, ArduinoPhone project shows how you can build one. Or you can check the platforms used to build the cheapest cell phones.

Are you looking for something smarter? If you have a Raspberry Pi and an Adafruit TFT, you’re halfway to making your own version of [Dave]‘s PiPhone. PiPhone is proof-of-concept cellular sandwich is made by adding a Sim900 GSM/GPRS module, which communicates via UART, to the Pi/TFT hardware while using a piece of foam core board in the middle to prevent shorts. The device is powered with LiPo battery and using a DC-to-DC converter to set up the 3.7V to 5V. The build here costs $158, which means it’s probably cheaper to buy a phone off the shelf.

If you plan to go with Raspberry Pi phone route, check also PiUi project.



  1. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Other DIY cellphone links:

    DIY cellphone

    DIY Cellphone

    It builds on the hardware and software in the Arduino GSM Shield but extends it with a full interface, including display, buttons, speaker, microphone, etc.

  2. Tomi Engdahl says:

    It seems that smart phone business have evolved to point where even relatively small companies can start to make their own phones. This developments like:

    many people who know mobile phones are looking for new jobs (business of many mobile phone companies not going that well)
    architectural changes (application processor communicating with separate ready communication processor+rf module instead of one processor trying to do everything)
    there are many reference platforms for smartphones you can start your own designs
    there are ready operating systems you can use with small modifications on your products (Android being most successful in this but not the only one)
    there are companies that can design whole phone to you
    you can outsource all your manufacturing

    So nowadays with relatively reasonable mount of R&D it is possible to make your own smartphone.


  3. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Chap builds mobe based on Raspberry Pi
    $US158 phone WILL burn a hole in your pocket

    Yet even at that price, the phone may burn a hole in your pocket. Literally. In the video below Hunt warns that there’s no heat sink and the components are so close together there’s not much air to carry away warmth generated by the CPU and other components.

  4. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Hack Anything into a Phone

    If you’ve spent much time tinkering with electronics, you’ve probably heard of [Seeedstudio] from their development boards, tools, and their PCB fabrication service. Their latest Kickstarter venture is the RePhone, an open source and modular cell phone that will allow hackers to put together a phone by blending GSM modules, batteries, screens, and other stock units, including an Arduino-based processing core, GPS, NFC, and other building blocks.

    RePhone Kit – World’s First Open Source and Modular Phone

    Create a phone yourself in minutes and hack a new way to communicate with things.

    RePhone GSM + BLE features the world’s smallest System-on-Chip (SOC) for Wearables and Internet Of Things. It offers a wide range of communication protocols including GSM, GPRS and Bluetooth (4.0 and 2.1 Dual mode). It supports quad-band 850/900/1800/1900MHz, connecting onto any global GSM network.

    RePhone Core Module 3G

    Powerful microcontroller
    Standard xadow interface, USB, 20*GPIO(I2C\SPI\UART\EINT)
    Support analog audio interface(1*speaker, 2*mic, 1*headset)
    Compatible with all xadow modules
    Nano SIM, button, LED, antenna

  5. Tomi Engdahl says:

    ZeroPhone – a Raspberry Pi smartphone

    Pi Zero-based open-source mobile phone (that you can assemble for 50$ in parts)

  6. Tomi Engdahl says:

    ZeroPhone – a Raspberry Pi smartphone
    Pi Zero-based open-source mobile phone (that you can assemble for 50$ in parts)

    The 2017 Hackaday Prize

    View Gallery
    Team (21)

    P Joseph Sylvan
    Ricardo Ferro
    Dylan C.
    The Arkadia
    11 more…

    Join this project’s team
    Contest Entry Videos

    The 2017 Hackaday Prize

    ZeroPhone GitHub
    Read newsletter
    Ways you can help this project
    ZeroPhone UI framework code
    ZeroPhone board files
    ZeroPhone Wiki

    ongoing project
    pi zero raspberry pi Phone mobile phone GSM zerophone 2017HackadayPrize
    This Project Is In These Lists
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    This project is submitted for

    The 2017 Hackaday Prize
    Design your concept
    Internet of Useful Things
    Assistive Technology
    Anything Goes
    Best Product

    This project was created on 12/19/2016 and last updated an hour ago.
    This is a mobile phone that:

    - First and foremost, will be a well-working reliable phone
    - Is as open-source as possible *while also being cheap*
    - Can be assembled and repaired independently
    - Is easy to get parts for
    - Doesn’t have apps with privacy concerns
    - Allows to write your own apps in Python

    It costs about 50$ in parts, and all the parts are available on eBay/TaoBao/etc, most of the phone can be assembled with just a soldering iron. User interface is written using Python
    and is being morphed into a lightweight phone-tailored UI framework.

  7. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Open Source “PiTalk” Turns Your Raspberry Pi Minicomputer Into A Modular Smartphone

    Home Geek

    Open Source “PiTalk” Turns Your Raspberry Pi Minicomputer Into A Modular Smartphone
    December 16, 2017

    pitalk raspberry pi smartphone
    Images: PiTalk
    More than a year ago, I wrote about a Raspberry Pi-powered phone called PiPhone, and the readers loved it. Just recently, I came across another similar project on Kickstarter and decided to share it on Fossbytes. Named PiTalk, the project calls itself the “first ever DIY modular smartphone.”
    Powered by Python, PiTalk modular smartphone is compatible with Raspberry Pi Zero, Pi 2, and Pi 3. For voice and data communication, it has a 3G module.

  8. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Kite : 3D Printable DIY Modular Smartphones

    Make & 3D print your own phone with sensors, displays, electronics, batteries and antennas. Customize Android and do exactly your thing!

    Kite is the world’s first completely DIY Modular Android Smartphone kit. Kite is a kit of components based on KiteBoard ( ). KiteBoard Kit => Kite. With Kite, common electronic components, and your favourite 3D printer, you can build the phone of your dreams…

  9. Tomi Engdahl says:

    DIY GSM arduino FR4 cell phone

    Simple gsm phone with 22×5 LED display, 16 keys, atsamd21, and sim800l module, QI charging

  10. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Build Your Own Android Smartphone

    Let’s get this out of the way first – this project isn’t meant to be a replacement for your regular smartphone. Although, at the very least, you can use it as one if you’d like to. But [Shree Kumar]’s Hackaday Prize 2018 entry, the Kite : Open Hardware Android Smartphone aims to be an Open platform for hackers and everyone else, enabling them to dig into the innards of a smartphone and use it as a base platform to build a variety of hardware.

    When talking about modular smartphones, Google’s Project Ara and the Phonebloks project immediately spring to mind. Kite is similar in concept. It lets you interface hacker friendly modules and break out boards – for example, sensors or displays – to create your own customized solutions. And since the OS isn’t tied to any particular brand flavor, you can customize and tweak Android to suit specific requirements as well. There are no carrier locks or services to worry about and the bootloader is unlocked.

    Kite : Open Hardware Android Smartphone

    Make & 3D print your own phone with sensors, displays, electronics, batteries and antennas. Customize Android and do exactly your thing!

  11. Tomi Engdahl says:

    2018 Electromagnetic Field Badge: It’s an Entire Phone!

    As is always the case with a significant hacker camp, we’ve been awaiting the official badge announcement for the upcoming Electromagnetic Field 2018 hacker camp with huge interest. These badges, for readers who may have been on Mars for the past few years, are part of a lively scene of wearable electronics at hacker conferences and camps, and can usually be expected to sport a fully-fledged computer in their own right along with other special functionality.

  12. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Kite : Open Hardware Android Smartphone

    Make & 3D print your own phone with sensors, displays, electronics, batteries and antennas. Customize Android and do exactly your thing!

    A smartphone is the prettiest black box in existence. Due to volume economics, smartphones only expose features needed by the common man. That’s a shame, as even a low end smartphone includes powerful technology that could be used to solve a variety of computing problems.

    Kite breaks up the smartphone into pieces, creating a set of building blocks that you can use to create any device that needs the features of a smartphone: high performance in a battery powered mobile form factor, augmented by complete connectivity and great multimedia features.

  13. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Make your own phone with MakerPhone (some soldering required)

    There’s no shortage of interesting electronics kits out there to occupy an idle Sunday, but with this one you get a phone out of the bargain. The MakerPhone is a kit looking for funds on Kickstarter that lets you assemble a working mobile phone from a number of boards and pieces, and the end result looks about as wild as you’d expect.

    For about a hundred bucks, you get a mainboard, casing, LCD, wireless module, processor, and all the other pieces you need to make a basic smartphone.


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