The GPD Pocket 3 is a mini-laptop with a QWERTY keyboard that’s just barely big enough for touch typing, an 8 inch touchscreen display, and a swivel hinge that lets you use the little computer as a notebook or tablet.
It’s also a modular computer: in addition to full-sized USB, HDMI, and Ethernet ports, the little computer has a modular port area that you can use to swap out a USB-A port for something else. GPD offers a few official modules, with more on the way. But third-party modules are also a thing, and one of the latest is a GPD Pocket 3 4G LTE module that brings cellular connectivity to GPD’s handheld computer.
The 4G module features a Quectel EC20-CN 4G chip (which, incidentally, is similar to the one used in Pine64’s PinePhone) and a nano SIM card reader. It’s a 4G LTE Cat 4 module with support for download speeds up to 150 Mbps and uploads speeds up to 50 Mbps.
Like other modules for the Pocket 3, connecting the 4G LTE module is as simple as unscrewing whatever model is already connected, popping it out, and replacing it with the new module. It communicates with the computer over a USB 2.0 connection, but since it’s designed as a modular that fits inside the computer’s case, it won’t jut out like a USB wireless dongle.
You can’t buy a Pocket 3 4G LTE module yet, because the developer notes that it’s still a work in progress, but if you want to try building your own or modifying the design, you can find everything you need in a GitHub repository, including design files for the printed circuit board, 3D printed case, and Windows drivers for the EC20-CN modem. Everything is shared under a Creative Commons license.
The new 4G module comes from the same person or persons who designed the P3 Clicker module we looked at in March. That module is an open source set of programmable buttons that can be added to the back of the case, giving you three buttons that can be used for power, volume, or other functions while using the Pocket 3 in tablet mode.
P3 Clicker is a DIY, open source set of buttons for the GPD Pocket 3 mini laptop that uses the modular port section to add 3 buttons (and an ATtiny85 microcontroller), letting you access power and volume buttons in tablet mode. Still under development. https://t.co/wOts1dJRWb
— Liliputing (@liliputingnews) March 21, 2022
As for first-party modules, GPD currently ships the Pocket 3 with a USB Type-A module and offers optional RS-232 and KVM input modules. The KVM module is one of the most unusual, as it features an HDMI input and USB port, allowing you to plug the Pocket 3 into a server or another computer and use the handheld computer as a dumb terminal for controlling external hardware using the Pocket 3’s display, keyboard, touchpad, and touchscreen.
GPD also plans to offer a microSD card module soon.