Modern-day phones are, in general, pretty easy to use. No wonder that their makers don't bother throwing an in-depth instruction manual in the box anymore. But the process of designing a phone, both on the inside and on the outside, is undoubtedly a complicated one. And then there's a bunch of code that has to be developed, debugged, and loaded onto the device to make it work. That's why you can't just grab a bunch of off-the-shelf parts and build your own cell phone at home over the weekend. Unless you're a devoted tinkerer and DIY enthusiast – just like these guys.
Making calls and sending texts are far from the only uses for the device, however. Sumasta designed the Phoenard in a way that lets one write applications (called sketches) for the handheld. What's more, it can "talk" to other devices via its expansion port. This lets the Phoenard do all kinds of neat stuff, from making lights blink, to being the brains of a self-balancing robot.
Hardware-wise, the Phoenard features a 2.6-inch touchscreen display, an Atmel microcontroller, Bluetooth, and GPS. If needed, expansion boards can be paired with the device to add Wi-Fi or MP3-playback capabilities.
Its creator, David Hunt, says that the PiPhone project is more of a proof-of-concept thing demonstrating what can be achieved with easily obtainable components. Plus, building the gizmo has been a fun experience, he clarifies. The PiPhone is made of $158 worth of parts, in case you're wondering, with the GSM component costing the most – $48. The Raspberry Pi and the touchscreen module cost him $40 and $35 respectively.
While this particular unit isn't for sale anymore, a newer and better model is listed on the creator's Etsy page. Its $516 price tag, however, might make you think twice before hitting that "Add To Cart" button.