Almost every mobile phone on sale today looks pretty much the same: a thin, rectangular slab of glass and plastic. That’s because the market has demanded that aesthetic and the versatility of large touchscreens. But many of us remember the days of dumb flip phones fondly. They were durable, had incredible battery life, and didn’t have any distracting apps. As an homage to that era, Element14’s Ritika Jena used a Raspberry Pi to build a giant flip phone.
This project is a followup to a previous phone that Jena built. It was also built on a Raspberry Pi, but had a more conventional touchscreen design. Some commenters said that phone was too big, so Jena did the logical thing and went about building an even larger flip phone. The result is a Raspberry Pi-based flip phone that is roughly four times the size of that old Nokia you had back in 2003. But, thanks to the Raspberry Pi, this phone has far more power and capability than those old dumb phones ever did.
The components for this build include the small Raspberry Pi 3 Model A+, an official 7″ Raspberry Pi LCD touchscreen, a single 18650 LiPo battery with a boost converter for power, and a 2G GSM board for the cellular connection. Input is handled through either the touchscreen or through Cherry MX switch buttons. The entire enclosure of the phone was designed in CAD and completely 3D-printed as several pieces. On the software side, Jena is using Raspbian with a custom GUI. In testing, he was able to successfully make a call from his Raspberry Pi flip phone to his normal phone number.