The DIY awesomeness of PiPhone – Raspberry Pi smartphone

pi-phoneIt seems that people are still looking to push the most out of the little Raspberry Pi. It’s been shoved in to cameras, used in robots, reanimated classic computers and now one innovative Pi fan has actually turned Raspberry Pi into a working mobile phone!

Dave Hunt’s PiPhone (well, what else was it going to be called?) is constructed entirely from bits available off the shelf, so if you wanted to have a go yourself there’s nothing stopping you.

Before you start planning a fresh competitor to the iPhone, HTC One (M8) or even PlusPhone One, there are a few things you should bear in mind.

The first thing you’ll notice is that the PiPhone is a little chunkster and even makes some of those 90s mobiles feel svelte, and then there’s the lack of casing due to possible overheating issues.

Let’s face it though, how cool is it that you can cook up a home-made mobile phone?

The PiPhone is based on a SIM900 GSM/GPRS module, so you wont find 4G and blistering internet speeds here. Instead it’s best to remember what a phone should be able to do – actually make calls. As with any smart(ish)phone, you’ll be needing a display, and the PiPhone uses the Adafruit PiTFT touchscreen – a 2.8-inch 320×240 panel.

Those off the shelf parts also means that the PiPhone works out pretty cheap, costing a grand total of $158 (£93). I would have liked Dave to have added a camera to the PiPhone for that added bit of smartphone-ness – perhaps later?

Granted, you could pick up a second-hand bargain smartphone for that but, as Dave points out, where’s the fun in that?

Dave says this of the PiPhone:

“It’s more of a proof of concept to see what could be done with a relatively small form factor with off-the-shelf (cheap) components. I don’t expect everyone to be rushing out to build this one, but I had great fun in doing it,”

Check out the PiPhone in the wild:

[youtube id=”8eaiNsFhtI8″]

It’s a great idea and, no doubt, fun to build but I have a feeling that the nearest I’ll get to building my own smartphone will be when (if) The Project Ara Gray Phone is released 😉

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