The promise of a modular smartphone has been tantalizing us for years, but so far it has been left disappointingly unfulfilled. The benefits of such a phone would be numerous: you only pay for the hardware you need, you can upgrade that hardware when necessary, and broken parts can be easily replaced. If you want that fancy new processor, you can upgrade it without purchasing an entire new phone.
Now a Kickstarter campaign for PiTalk might finally make that dream a reality, and it’s built on everyone’s favorite single-board computer. PiTalk is a modular system for turning a Raspberry Pi into a smartphone. The base of the design is the PiTalk shield, which contains breakouts for components like the LCD display and camera. The shield uses the standard 40-pin Raspberry Pi header, and it works with most models (A+, 2, 3, Zero, and Zero W).
The PiTalk shield also contains a cellular 3G module, which gives you the functionality you’d find on a normal smartphone. You can make calls, text, and browse the internet using the custom PiTalk software. But, PiTalk seems to be more useful for home automation or other IoT projects than as a replacement for your iPhone.
The campaign is running until January 7th, and there are a variety of specials to choose from based on how you’d like your PiTalk spec’d. There are options for different LCD sizes, with or without a camera, and for the various Raspberry Pi models. If you’re in the market for a portable, 3G-enabled Raspberry Pi platform, this might be just the thing.