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Turn Your Raspberry Pi into a “Smartphone” or Cellular IoT Gateway with PiTalk 3G HAT (Crowdfunding)

December 11th, 2017 Leave a comment Go to comments
Orange Pi Development Boards

The Raspberry Pi boards are used in a countless number of projects, and some of those turn one of Raspberry Pi boards into a (thick) smartphone powered by Linux. The first one was probably PiPhone based on Raspberry Pi 1 Model B, and other followed suit such as TyTelli based on Raspberry Pi Model A+, and more recently ZeroPhone powered, as its name implies, by Raspberry Pi Zero board.

UK based SB Components Ltd is offering another option with their PiTalk HAT based on a Quectel 3G UMTS module, and kits adding a 3.2″ to 5″ display, an optional camera, and/or Raspberry Pi 3 board.

PiTalk Camera Kit

PiTalk board specifications:

  • Cellular Connectivity
    • Quectel UC15 3G/2G UMTS/HSDPA and GSM/GPRS/EDGE module with up to 3.6 Mbps download, 384 Kbps upload
    • SMA antenna connector
    • Push push SIM card holder
    • Voice, SMS and data support
  • Audio – 3.5 mm audio jack, speaker and mic support via unpopulated headers
  • USB – 1x micro USB port for comm., 1x micro USB port for power only
  • 40-pin Raspberry Pi A+, 2/3, Zero/Zero W compatible header
  • Expansion – 2-pin ADC header
  • Misc – On/off switch; Status & “Netlight” indicators
  • Power Supply – 5V via header or micro USB port

Pi Talk HAT

The board can be controlled with Python code, but the company did not provide any details at this stage. A PiTalk GUI interface to control the board will also be offered, and the Open Hardware and Open Software logo are shown on the Kickstarter page, but again no detailed information about that part.

PiTalk Software

Somehow PiTalk “smartphone” is supposed to be powered via the RPi’s micro USB port, as there’s no battery provided, but you could always use a power bank, which will make it even bulkier, but should do the trick if you need some portability. Quectel UC15 module comes in three variants: UC15-E for EMEA/APAC, UC15-A for America, and UC15-T for Thailand, but it’s unclear whether SB Components will offer PiTalk with any of the three versions.

PiTalk has launched on Kickstarter with a 10,000 GBP funding target.  Rewards start at 47 GBP ($63) for PiTalk boad and an antenna, but if you need a kit, you’ll need to pledge 65 GBP ($87) and up starting with the 3.2″ LCD kit. Shipping adds 3 GBP to the UK, and 10 GBP to the rest of the world, and you can expect the rewards to ship in March 2018 if the project can be completed on time.

Via MickMake

  1. jim st
    December 11th, 2017 at 14:27 | #1

    It looks interesting if they get the software done. There is a lot to do there if they just put out the board, and expect someone in the “community” to finish it. Which means you get to most likely.

    £110 + £10 shipping for the 5″ screen, which is what I’d probably want.

    Looks like the power will also be an issue from what Jean-Luc mentioned.

  2. theguyuk
    December 11th, 2017 at 18:22 | #2

    There are already many past and present Pi Phone kits just google search.

  3. Nobody of Import
    December 12th, 2017 at 00:02 | #3

    When someone brings an LTE hat to the fore, and has VoLTE support, come tell me. X-D

  4. theguyuk
  5. December 12th, 2017 at 09:39 | #5

    @theguyuk
    There are also others like:
    Sixfab Raspberry Pi 3G-4G/LTE Base Shield V2: https://www.cnx-software.com/2017/10/20/sixfab-launches-raspberry-pi-3g-4glte-base-shield-v2-for-31-20/

    OpenH QUASAR: https://www.cnx-software.com/2017/05/31/openh-pulsar-and-quasar-boards-add-4g-lte-cat-m1-or-cat-41-to-raspberry-pi-boards/#openh-quasar-raspberry-pi-hat-board

    But maybe what @Nobody of Import wants is a complete kit with display and software support, as while he’s capable, he may not have the time to work on the software.

  6. December 12th, 2017 at 09:41 | #6

    @cnxsoft
    @theguyuk
    … and none of the shields we’ve linked to appear to support VolTE.

  7. theguyuk
    December 12th, 2017 at 17:22 | #7

    @cnxsoft
    Yes sadly so. I also know of ” The Pilot ” shield by Linkware also not VoLTE sadly.

    Here is a easy read explanation of VoLTE, for anyone reading this and wondering what the acronym VoLTE means https://www.gsma.com/futurenetworks/technology/volte/

  8. theguyuk
    December 12th, 2017 at 17:29 | #8

    @theguyuk

    Should say Linkwave not Linkware

  9. GJN
    December 14th, 2017 at 02:17 | #9

    @Nobody of Import
    Nimbelink has a RPI Hat for their LTE (4G Cat4, Cat 3, Cat 1, and Cat M) modems. Check it out here: http://nimbelink.com/raspberry-pi/

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