Tired of carrying around a smartphone that you didn’t build with your own hands? Soon your worries may be over.

Hacker Dave Hunt has built a working smartphone out of a Raspberry Pi, a touchscreen, a GSM module, a battery, and a few other components. The end result is a DIY smartphone which you can build for about $158 in parts… and that includes $40 for a Raspberry Pi model B.

He calls it the PiPhone.


You might need to spend a little more if you want a phone that you can safely put in your pocket though. Hunt hasn’t bothered explaining how to build a case for the PiPhone.

Hunt’s PiPhone features a SIM900 GPRS/GSM module, a 320 x 240 pixel touchscreen display, a 2500mAh battery, a boost converter, and a few cables. You’ll also need a headset that you can plug into the Raspberry Pi’s mic and headphone jacks.

He’s also written some custom software you can use to make calls using the PiPhone, but recommends advanced users develop their own since his is “not very clean.”

All told, you could get a cheaper phone with a more powerful processor and no assembly required by walking into a local phone shop. It’d also be an awful lot thinner. But it’s kind of crazy that we’ve reached the point where you can buy a few off-the-shelf components and assemble your own smartphone for under $200.

via Raspberry Pi

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9 replies on “PiPhone: DIY Raspberry Pi-based smartphone”

  1. Possibility of a raspberry pi android phone takes another step toward reality.

  2. Since size is a bit of an inhibitor to mobility, you could make it into a carphone!

  3. Seems like it would be more practical to build it into a landline phone (a la the old Sparkfun cell and BT rotary phone conversions), then you could leave it plugged in…

  4. Nice hack, not too practical though. I have a Blu Tango in my pocket that I bought for $70 new in the box without signing a contract… a few months shy of three years ago. It meets or exceeds this in every spec except battery capacity but I suspect it gets equal or better run time. And it was trivial to gain root on it so other than the closed video driver it is about as open.

    The Pi was obsolete when introduced and is falling farther behind the curve by the day. At least it is now the only ARM based platform with semi-open video… but a CPU so obsolete you can’t find many distros to run the open video driver.

    1. I’d take a reverse engineered open source GPU driver over what Broadcom have delivered with the Raspberry Pi.

      1. Holy crap dude that’s effin awesome! I’m so jealous, I don’t have time to tinker, and don’t know enough about the software side to even follow someone else’s instructions, but I hope to entice my son to get into it, gonna show him some vids and buy him some parts :p

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