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Build your own smartphone…..from scratch.

datePosted on 23:13, May 23rd, 2009 by Many Ayromlou

 Yep, you can do it now…..The open source hacker community GizmoForYou is shipping a Linux hardware/software kit for building a modular touchscreen smartphone. Using the OMAP35x-based Gumstix Overo Earth single-board computer (SBC), the Flow phone offers numerous customization modules including GPS, 3.5G cellular, Bluetooth, WiFi, and a camera. At around $1300 for the complete kitchen sink version, it’s not exactly cheap, but since they offer multiple choices for each component, you can pick and choose what you like to have inside your smartphone. Really neat stuff.

For those of you who are not tuned into Gumstix, the Overo line is a new line of Computer-on-Module devices designed by Gumstix based on TI’s OMAP Processor. Overo Earth comes with  the following specs:

Processor: OMAP 3503 Application Processor with ARM Cortex-A8 CPU
Clock(MHz): 600 MHz
Performance: Up to 1200 Dhrystone MIPS
Memory: 256MB RAM , 256MB Flash

  • Pin-out compatible with future OMAP 35x-based Overo motherboards
  • on-board microSD card slot
  • I2C, PWM lines (6), A/D (6), 1-wire, UART, SPI, Camera in, Extra MMC lines.
  • Headset, Microphone, backup battery,
  • USB OTG signals, USB HS Host


  • (2) 70-pin AVX connectors
  • (1) 27-pin flex ribbon connector

Size: 17mm x 58mm x 4.2mm (0.67 in. x 2.28 in. 0.16 in.)
Expansion: Expansion boards for Overo motherboards. Or, custom design from open specifications.

The core of the Flow phone is the Flow motherboard, which is designed to integrate the separately available Overo Earth module. You can also use the more expensive Overo Water, Air or Fire modules. Other modules attach to the motherboard, including a 3.7-inch 640 x 480 Sharp LS037V7DW01 touchscreen LCD and Flow Sharp LCD module.

Connectivity modules include GPS, USB, and a choice between a plain GSM cellular module and a HSDPA-ready 3.5G/GPS/GSM/GPRS module. (WiFi and Bluetooth are already supplied by the Overo SBC.) Additional options include a 1GB MicroSD card, camera, power supply, battery, and enclosure, with various options available on several of the modules. Flow motherboard features include:

  • 2 x 70 pin connectors for the Overo module from Gumstix
  • 80-pin connector for the GSM, GPS, and 3G modules
  • Stereo amplifiers
  • 2 x speakers and GSM audio amplifier for speakers
  • Microphone and GSM preamp for Mic
  • PIC16LF877A UI Init (with Bootloader preloaded)
  • 2 x general-purpose buttons linked to the UI Unit
  • Orientation sensor
  • Light sensor
  • Level translation for GSM serial connections
  • 3G USB HS power supply
  • Luxeon 1W LED for the camera flash features
  • Dual SIM/MicroSD slot (experimental)
  • Camera connector and camera power management
  • Power management circuits fully controllable by the UI unit
  • Additional pins for connecting external power sources
  • Dimensions — 3.0 x 2.6 inches (76 x 65mm)
  • Operating system — Linux

GizmoForYou does not say much about software, but there are a growing number of Linux development platforms supporting the Overo Earth and OMAP35x platforms, and according to a project member, the group is working on an Android implementation.

Get down and dirty with Gumstix Goliath…

datePosted on 12:08, July 19th, 2007 by Many Ayromlou

We’ve been covering quite a bit of Opensource/Linux/Hack-your-own GSM phones (some even with GPS), but here is the ultimate phone for the N.E.R.D’s out there….From the Press Release:

“Portola Valley, Calif., July 10, 2007 – Gumstix, Inc, today announced its integrated, open source cellular communications platform: the GoliathTM line of expansion boards. The Goliath-vx board provides GPRS/EDGE function while the Goliath-GPS-vx board combines GPRS/EDGE and GPS. Each Goliath board attaches to a gumstixTM motherboard (verdex only) using a 60-pin connector and includes audio, LCD, touch screen, USB host, 3D-accelerometer, and battery management. General availability is planned for late July and the company will begin taking pre-orders at starting on 16 July.

The Goliath boards are by far the largest gumstix products at 105.5mm x 67.3mm, the same dimensions as the Samsung 4.3” LCD touch screens that Gumstix will also sell. Goliath gives verdex motherboards full-speed USB access to the Siemens MC75 GPRS/EDGE module, the u-blox NEO-4S GPS module, and one external USB device.”

For those of you who don’t know, Gumstix has been manufacturing a couple of different embedded platforms around the XScale processor family. Their boards runs an opensource embedded Linux exclusively. Recently they have branched out into building lots of expansion boards. These expansion boards when combined with their motherboards can truly allow you to create just about anything. Sounds like you’ve got everything you need to build the “real” Iphone :-)