Blackberry Pi Puts Desktop Linux In Your Pocket

Let’s face it — Android wasn’t what most of us had in mind when we imagined having Linux running on our phones. While there’s a (relatively) familiar kernel hiding at the core of Google’s mobile operating system, the rest of the environment is alien enough that you can’t run Linux software on it without jumping through some hoops. While that’s fine for most folks, there remains a sizable group of users who still dream of a mobile device that can run a full Linux operating system without any compromises.

Judging by the work put into the Blackberry Pi, we’re willing to bet that [IMBalENce] falls into that camp. The custom handheld combines the Raspberry Pi Zero, a 320×240 LCD, and the BBQ20KBD keyboard from Solder Party with a 2500 mAh LiPo pouch cell and associated charging circuitry. Optionally, it also supports modules such as the Raspberry Pi Camera, a Real-Time-Clock, a ADS1015 ADC to read the battery voltage, and even a USB hub — although you can’t have all the goodies installed at once as it draws too much current.

Everything is packed into a 3D printed case that looks roughly like an original DMG-01 Game Boy if somebody replaced the bottom half with a tiny keyboard. We appreciate the ZX Spectrum theme, even if it’s not immediately clear how it relates to the project other than being an excuse to play around with multi-color printing. [IMBalENce] says the final product works quite well, though the relatively limited keys on the BlackBerry keyboard does make it tricky to use the device for writing code.

Interested in mobile Linux, but not trying to build the hardware yourself? We recently took a look at the SQFMI Beepy, which is fairly similar in terms of hardware, but very much in need of some talented penguin wranglers who are willing to come in and work on the software and documentation. Think you’re up for the challenge?

Hackaday Prize 2023: The NEOKlacker Pocket Computer

Science fiction always promised us pocket computers. These days, we’re spoiled for choice. [Spider Jerusalem] eschewed a simple smartphone or tablet, though, instead building a custom pocket computer of their own design. 

Like so many other DIY cyberdecks and handheld computers, this one relies on a Raspberry Pi. In this case, it’s built using a Pi 4 with 8GB of RAM, which offers a snappy experience that wasn’t available on the earliest boards. [Spider] paired it with a nifty 720×720 LCD screen and a full QWERTY button pad, wrapped up in a tidy 3D-printed case. Like any good pocket computer, it’s well-connected, thanks to a 4G LTE cellular data connection.

It might seem to be a build without a purpose in this era, but that’s not necessarily the case. When it comes to running barebones Linux utilities at a real command line, a Raspberry Pi offers some utility that the average smartphone doesn’t have out of the box. It’s a useful tool if you need to interface with a server on the go or do some low-level network diagnostics without carrying a whole laptop around. Video after the break.

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Teensy Becomes Tiny Handheld Computer, Plays Emulators

Science fiction predicted that we would one day all carry around tiny computers of great power. While smartphones are great, those predictions were more based on cuter systems that more closely approximated existing computers, with keyboards and screens. [Jean-Marc Harvengt] has built something along those very lines, and it’s called the T-COMPUTER.

This build centers around the mighty Teensy 4.1. That means it’s got an 800 MHz Cortex-M7 processor, 1 MB of RAM, and 8 MB of flash – eclipsing the specs of many retrocomputers of yesteryear. [Jean-MarcHarvengt] has paired the Teensy with a 42-key keyboard and a TFT screen, making a compact handheld computer platform. It’s also got VGA out for display on a bigger screen, along with USB and an old-school Atari joystick port! Power is via a small rechargeable lithium cell on the back, and 16-bit stereo audio is available via a standard 3.5mm jack. There’s also a little GPIO available if you need to interface with something.

It’s capable of emulating the Commodore 64 and Super Nintendo, as well as more obscure systems like the Atari Lynx. And before you ask – yes, it can run DOOM. It’s a fun little platform that would be enjoyable for retrogaming and hacking on the go. If you want to build your own, files are readily available on Github to recreate the system.

Handheld computer builds are always growing in popularity now that so much computing power can be had in a tiny devboard formats. If you’ve built your own neat little rig, be sure to let us know! Video after the break.

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