A Tidy Clamshell Keyboard For The Pinephone

Something a lot of people don’t realise about modern smartphones is that many of them have fully-featured USB interfaces. Perhaps the best of all is the Pinephone, which is a fully open-source smartphone that gives end users total control over their phone experience. [silver] has such a phone, and set about building himself a neat keyboard setup for the platform.

The build is based around an RCA RKT773P tablet keyboard case, which uses USB to interface with a tablet via pogo pins. [silver] modified this by soldering on a USB cable to the pins, paired with a USB-C host adapter on the Pinephone. Paired with a few 3D printed parts to hold everything in place, it almost turns the assembly into a cute little Pinephone laptop.

It’s a neat build that would likely save a lot of frustration when hacking away at a terminal window on the Pinephone. Parts are available on Thingiverse for those interested in replicating the hack. Those eager to dive into the Pinephone platform may relish the new Pro model that has just dropped, too. Video after the break.

9 thoughts on “A Tidy Clamshell Keyboard For The Pinephone

  1. Better than a bt keyboard IMO, looks nicely done, very neat.

    Never been a fan of the ergonomics of such things though, keyboards are too small to be easy to use and the screen at a terrible angle – seems to me if you are going to have real buttons on a phone sized object those smaller slide out keyboard phones had the right approach – still too small to type normally on, but easy for the thumbs and you can hold the whole thing up to a comfortable viewing position. Lots of that might just be my rather large hands though, if you can type of the that keyboard I guess it could be really quite nice to use and better than the thumb keyboards…

  2. Think I’ll wait for the official PinePhone keyboard.

    It’s MADE for the PinePhone, has been in design and testing for a long time, and therefore will be a no-hassle option for both the PinePhone, and the PinePhone Pro (good luck on getting your hands on useable PP Pro before the end of 2022).

    Lucascz E. reports that it’s really close to production, and that he’ll have an in-depth report out at the end of this month. Check on it at


  3. Maybe I’m slow: I just figured out what it is. It uses the keyboard and hinge and frame case already produced for a specific tablet, and this build is just the chunk that holds the pinephone in that case (along with the handy usb connection).

    For a moment, I thought the build was the whole keyboard, hinge, etc.

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