The Nokia 1680 classic is a basic cellphone that was released in 2008 just as smartphones were starting to become a thing. Designed for phone calls, texting, and not much else, the phone has a small screen, a numeric keypad, and support for 2G networks.

But a hardware hacker going by Reimu NotMoe has scooped out the guts of the phone and replaced them with a custom printed circuit board (PCB) and other components to transform the Nokia 1680 classic into the Notkia: a pocket-sized Linux computer/communication device.

Note that this isn’t just new software for an old phone. The full project involves replacing much of the phone’s hardware, while keeping the shell, number pad, and other buttons.

The original PCB has been replaced with a new one featuring a 1 GHz Ingenic X1000E single-core MIPS processor with 64MB of RAM plus 32MB of NOR flash storage and 4GB of SLC NAND flash.

The original 128 x 160 pixel TFT screen has been replaced with a 2inch, 240 x 320 pixel IPS LCD display, although it’s actually a little too large for the device, so a few pixels get cut off by the plastic borders. So the effective/visible screen resolution is 220 x 280 pixels.

The Notkia also includes:

  • USB Type-C port
  • OV5640 5MP camera with auto-focus
  • Yamaha MA-3 music synthesizer (with ringtone support)
  • Analog MEMS microphone
  • AMPAK wireless card with WiFi 4 & BT 4.0 LE
  • Semtech SX126x LoRa transceiver
  • BL-5C battery

Everything works with mainline Linux software, including text input using the phone’s original T9 numeric keypad. And thanks to the upgraded wireless components, the Notkia can be used as a wireless communication device or walkie talkie. But one thing it can’t do? Make phone calls or use data over cellular networks.

Reimu NotMoe couldn’t find a 4G LTE module small enough to fit inside the case.

There is a GNSS module for satellite location, but it hasn’t been tested yet. And since there’s no headset jack, you’ll need wireless headphones or a USB Type-C to 3.5mm audio adapter to use headphones with the Notkia.

Schematics, a component, list, and the design process are detailed at Hackster and HackADay, and Reimu NotMoe plans to open source everything in the future. There’s also a chance that you might be able to buy a Notkia or a kit to make your own in the future, as the project has been submitted to open source hardware crowdfunding service Crowd Supply for consideration.

via Hackster and CNX Software

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7 replies on “Notkia puts a Linux PC inside the shell of a Nokia 1680 cellphone”

  1. I would prefer the feather format and motherboard for fit this inside.
    If You need You can use orange crab fpga or this linux or other processor.
    but screen, sound, wifi, lora, BT and keys working on motherboard.

    second question is more than one usb c many people needed usb c host for keyboard/ethernet/mouse or other module

    very good idea, We look forward to the version released on kickstarter

  2. on linux is BATMAN mesh wifi network this is only one step to runing independent communications (without internet or using internet connections)
    this device have lora too

    question is how long this device will work? a month?

  3. I’m curious why it didn’t make more sense to “custom fit” a Pi-zero2. Not as fun of a challenge I suppose. I always get a giggle to see Linux running on a new thing. I’d love to see my car’s head-unit lockup and reboot into a linux screen some day. hehe.

    1. lora is very important for their plans for the platform so would also have to add a custom-fit lora hat… Not as easy. Also there’s a supply shortage of raspberry pis at the moment in addition to underlying component shortages whereas this device really pulls together a lot of components that are more easy to source… in addition to already mentioned power constraints

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