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)


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