A Phone That Old Shouldn’t Be Running Android

Cars and smartphones have something curious in common, just as most everyday saloon cars from different manufacturers have tended towards similarity, so have smartphones. Whether your smartphone the latest and greatest or only cost you $50 from a supermarket, it matters little to look at because both phones will be superficially near-identical black slabs.

It wasn’t always this way though, in decades past phones from different manufacturers each had their own flavours, and there was a variety in form factors to suit all tastes. There’s a ray of hope for fans of those days though, in the form of [befinitiv]’s 2000-era Sony flip phone. It runs Android. Yes, you read that right, there on the tiny screen is Android 9.

Of course whatever processor and electronics the phone came with are long gone, and instead the phone sports the internals of a modern Chinese watch-smartphone grafted in in place of the original. The whole electronics package fits in the screen opening, and though it required some wiring for the USB-C socket and a few other parts it looks for all the world from the outside as though it was meant to run Android. You can take a look in the video below the break.

He cheerfully admits that there’s still a way to go for example in getting the original keyboard working, but even with a tiny touchscreen it’s good enough to be a daily driver. It may be a little on the small side, but for those of us who miss our old phones maybe there’s hope in it for something new.

Meanwhile this isn’t the first re-use of an old phone we’ve seen recently.

23 thoughts on “A Phone That Old Shouldn’t Be Running Android

  1. Of course, you could accept it for what it is – a nice modification idea that might inspire someone to take their next steps “hacking” something. Maybe they would then write an article you would be happy with?

  2. The kid with the clock still has the hacker spirit and is still doing more engineering than the kids who spend all day doing pointless things like playing outside or socializing (/s?). I like to see projects that make people think “oh that’s cool, maybe I could do that!” every once in a while.

  3. Well…. It requires replacing all the electronics inside including the screen, leaving only the grey metallic casing behind. Might as well, put a Raspberry Pi 3 in a dot matrix printer and claim to convert it into a WiFi printer.

  4. Flip phones are cooler than one-piece glass-fronted smart phones that get scratched and broken. Reminds me of how cool it was to see flip phones in the original Star Trek.

    1. My wife and I got those plastic snap on protectors for our phones. After years of horrific abuse, the protectors are scuffed and scratched, but the phone inside still looks like new.

  5. I always liked the old Sony phones, I still have them around.
    Also the W5 watch looks nice but I’d like to see the proper user manual before I buy.
    Different vendors say that it takes a 32GB SD card, or don’t mention that, so I wonder if there are different models out there?
    Also the camera is on the wrong side for a lefty who would wear such a thing on the r.h.s. limb, so I wonder if the screen auto-rotates so I can wear it upside-down?

    It’s been so long since I wore a watch though…….

  6. They shouldn’t? I don’t know, should they?

    Obviously getting something as new as Android 9 on such a device requires an extreme hack swapping out all the guts as seen here.

    But Android existed before most of us had ever heard of it. Google bought Android, they didn’t start it from scratch. It predated the iPhone.

    So I guess some sort of Android device existed back in the days when Symbian was the smartest smartphone OS and WinCe was also a thing. Those devices didn’t look much different than the one in the picture so maybe something similar running some early version of Android existed? Obviously one couldn’t just slap on the Play Store and install all the latest apps everyone runs today but that would still technically be Android.

    1. He basically used the shell of the phone as a case for the android watch. Nothing fancy. But I think it should be relatively easy to get that keypad working with a teensy, since these watches have USB.

  7. I’m still waiting for someone to cram an Android phone into an original iPhone and utilize the screen, and buttons. They fit your pocket nicely, were sized for easy one handed operation and you could use a screw driver to replace the battery when it died. The old charge port would have to go though. Maybe hack a modern usb phone port to fit. Probably want one of the later versions that had the camera light but still maintained the small phone size.

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