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Linux engineer builds Raspberry Pi-based Piphone for $158

Device is built completely from off the shelf components
Fri Apr 25 2014, 15:48

Raspberry Pi powered PiPhoneA LINUX ENGINEER has built the first smartphone based on a Raspberry Pi computer, and has cleverly named it the Piphone.

Liz Upton of the Raspberry Pi Foundation lauded the device in a blog post on Friday, largely due to the fact that it cost just $158 to build. What's more, the Piphone is constructed entirely from off the shelf components, which means "there's no soldering required, and no fiddly electronics work," she said.

The components consist of a 2.8in 320x420 TFT LCD display courtesy of Adafruit for $35, a Sim900 GSM/GPRS module for inserting a standard SIM card, and a 2,500mAh battery, priced at less than $15.

The Piphone is based on a Raspberry Pi Model B, which costs $40, and other components such as connectors and the on/off switch came to around $20.

The Piphone also runs custom software, which brings a dialpad to the pint-sized screen so the device is capable of making calls.

David Hunt, a Linux engineer and the brains behind the Piphone project said, "If anyone wants the code, let me know, and I'll upload to Github. It's not very clean, certainly not as clean as the Lapsepi cocde, so if you're looking for some Pygame code to do a user interface, you could do worse than to start with the PiTFT Camera by Phil Burgess, which all this display stuff is based on."

Of course, it's unlikely that the Piphone will ever go on sale, with Hunt adding that the device is more a proof of concept which explores what can be done with off the shelf components.

"I don't expect everyone to be rushing out to build this one, but I had great fun in doing it, as it builds quite nicely on my previous projects, especially the Lapse Pi, a touchscreen time-lapse controller, and uses most of the same hardware," he added. µ


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