There’s something to be said for economies of scale and few things sell more than cell phones. Maybe that’s why [NODE] took inspiration from an iPhone slide out keyboard case to create this Pi Zero W-based portable terminal. This is actually his third iteration, and in the video below he explains why he has built the new version.
By housing the custom bits in a 3D-printed frame that is size compatible with the iPhone, [NODE] manages to leverage the slick slide out keyboard cases available for the phone. The iPhone in question is an older iPhone 5, so the cases are inexpensive, compared to the latest generation. On the other hand, the iPhone 5 is recent enough that it shouldn’t be hard to find a compatible case.
The circuitry itself is pretty straightforward: a battery, a charge controller, and an LCD display. The only complaint we could see was the lack of a control key on the keyboard.
Being a terminal, we would have appreciated bringing a serial port out. On the other hand, there is a full-size USB connector so you could plug in a serial cable. There’s also a micro port for charging and a small HDMI connector, which means you could use an available HDMI device as a full-size screen if you like. Although you can see a prototype, [NODE] is still refining the 3D printed parts and plans to release them soon. Having seen the prototype, you can grab the dimensions of your target phone and duplicate something similar if you’re up for a challenge.
[NODE] clearly likes portable Linux systems since we’ve seen him cobbling together slightly larger laptops before. Of course, everyone loves the Pi and that’s why we’ve also been keeping our eye on the ZeroPhone. Of course many like to play games on their phones. If you’d rather play on a real iPhone, there’s always this simple method.