TyTelli – a DIY Smartphone

One of the most popular projects we’ve featured here was Dave Hunt’s PiPhone. It’s a working mobile phone built around a Raspberry Pi; it does all the telephony you’d expect, but it’s a smart-ish phone, not a complete smart phone, which made some of you sad.

In the year since the PiPhone was first built, Tyler Spadgenske has been beavering away at his own version, which improves on the original. We think it’s rather splendid.

What’s new here? The TyTelli can take photos (and send them to Dropbox or another device), send texts and manage its own battery level, as well as placing and taking calls. Tyler wrote his own OS in Python, 3d-printed a rather smart enclosure, and now has a phone he’s built from the bottom up – hardware and software both.



Tyler has made full, diagrammed instructions, a parts lists and a Thingiverse file for the 3d-printed case available over at Instructables.


Ben Nuttall avatar

Love this!

Liz Upton avatar

I wonder if we can wean Jonathan off his Nokia 1600.

jdb avatar

Way ahead of you. Already upgraded to a Nokia 6303i.

Martin O'Hanlon avatar


bluecar1 avatar

interesting question, with the new Pi2 able to run windows 10, will we see it running windows phone 10 :)

Liz Upton avatar

The Windows 10 that Microsoft are bringing to the Pi is Windows for IOT; so not the desktop, and not Windows Mobile. https://dev.windows.com/en-us/featured/windows-developer-program-for-iot

SteveSpencer avatar

Is there any clue from MS when it will be available?


Liz Upton avatar

Not sure – I’m hoping they might make an announcement at Build, which is next month.

monkeymademe avatar

I think I will do this.. Upgrade from my Lumia 920

Kratos avatar

Cool! Quite the “smart”phone.

Dave Conlan avatar

Great work. Better than an iPhone. ;)

Michael Horne avatar

Going to try this one :-)

MalMan35 avatar

Awsome. What did you use for the screen?

Jim Manley avatar

It’s an Adafruit PiTFT Assembled 480 x 320 pixel 3.5″ TFT+Touchscreen for Raspberry Pi (https://www.adafruit.com/product/2097 – $44.95)

Federico Ramos avatar

Very nice project,I think this project can have huge benefits from GPU power :D

solar3000 avatar

Future Tycoon.
Nice, but I already saw your phone number from the video.
Hope it works in the USA.

Tyler Spadgenske avatar

I haven’t received any unknown calls yet. Are you sure you got the right number? :)

Nicolas avatar

NICE WORK!! really impressive!

But rather than developing your own OS, why not try FireFox OS or Android OSP?
I don’t know the current state of these projects, but it could be nice!
(Is the broadcom SoC powerful enough? What is its raw power, in comparison to an Apple A4 ? My iPhone 4 still works really well, and do A LOT of things)

John Bain avatar

Fantastic project. PEACE. ji.p. 2017

Eddie avatar

This thing is slow! nice work nonetheless.

Sagir Fahmid avatar

Hi there, I really love this project. Are there any plans for a Raspberry Pi 2 version? The 1GB of RAM would do just great as a 100% replacement for my Galaxy S2, which I am selling in order to acquire the funds to do this project.

In all honesty, Android is a disgrace to the spirit of tinkering that is a complete Linux distribution, therefore I want no part of it. The RPi has enabled me to ditch Android for good.

Please reply back to me if there are any other Raspberry Pi projects using either the B+ or Pi 2 models.

Max Chan avatar

Still nobody take that oh-so-important step? Raspberry Pi 2 now runs Android, and we have all the 4G-capable wireless modules, screens and capacitive digitizers out there, just somebody get a full blown Android smartphone out of it? (Cost issue? I know this is costly and that is why I am not at it.) Is it possible to fit AOSP or Cyanogenmod on top of the standard Raspbian kernel? I wonder how the smartphone industry that is battling hard amongst the patents will react to a real Raspberry Pi smartphone, and will that solve the modular smartphone mysteries

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