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.

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.

thanks bz9t!

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12 replies on “GPD Pocket 3 mini-laptop gets a 3rd-party 4G LTE module (Making the most of modularity:)”

  1. sorry for the sudden
    Is it possible to replace the lte module with “EC25-J Cat.4 for Japan”?

    1. if they are the same dimension and pin compatible, you can replace it ( I guess it is) you can ask Quectel for that

  2. Oh man, that module with power and volume buttons will make this device complete. So annoying in tablet mode without those buttons available.

  3. “The developer doesn’t appear to be selling the Pocket 3 4G LTE module” because it’s still work in progress…waiting for another more fitting antenna parts and do the final testing

  4. If they’re just going to give away all the design files with apparently no license whatsoever I guess GPD might as well sell it unless there are other copyright problems I’m not aware of.
    Normally I think cellular connections are an extraneous feature in laptops unless you travel a lot or do field work, but when you have one that can be carried in a sufficiently large pocket someone might actually end up using the cellular connection in everyday life even if they do nothing worth noting besides a boring office job. Provided they use the computer itself often enough.

    1. i’m not they, i’m only one person, and i do put CC-BY-4.0 in the footer of the website. so yes anyone can make and sell the module as long as mentioned me in their products.

      1. This is a really great little addition to the machine!
        Often a person might want an internet connection in a datacentre or airport, but doesn’t want to drain their smartphone for hours.
        Well done for engineering a module to solve this problem, especially on your own!
        Have you considered approaching GPD to see if they’re interested?
        Also, is there somewhere you’ll be selling the module once development is finished?

        1. GPD officially said they stopped developing 4G/5G module for Pocket 3 according to some users but I never checked (but I do believe them).
          You can check GPD Pocket 3 Discord Channel / Reddit to get updates. But try to be patient ’cause I am only an amateur in making electronics and selling them especially beyond China (different band in different area of the world requires different module) is still a long way to go.

          1. Thank you for the reply.
            I will check out the Discord and Reddit, as you’ve suggested.
            You may think that you’re an amateur, but I am very impressed! 🙂
            Best of luck with this exciting project.

          2. Friend, if I were to produce that file in the GitHub, would it still be available? I’m asking because I’ve never done this before. thx

          3. The files in GitHub repo is under CC-BY 4.0 license for now, so you can freely reproduce/edit the product as long as you mentioned its original repo. If you encounter any Chinese you don’t understand, I’m happy to provide the translation : )

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