Thanks to Arsenijs Pičugins, a 22-year-old student, we have access to an open-source project called ZeroPhone. ZeroPhone uses a Raspberry Pi Zero, a $5 computer created by the nonprofit Raspberry Pi. Raspberry Pi's are a great tool for both Students and Hobbyists to toy around with and learn new computer skills whether it be hardware or software related.
The idea behind ZeroPhone is to have a cheap smartphone available to the community, being built using a $5 Raspberry Pi helps keep that cost down. It's not an easy build though. Pičugins says it is a bit difficult to assemble and it also helps to have a little bit of knowledge of soldering. But, if that's not going to be a stopping factor, then you'll be happy to know that it is extremely customizable. The ZeroPhone is able to support add-ons thanks to the Raspberry Pi Zero's GPIO expansion headers.
Although the price of ZeroPhone is so low, you still get pretty impressive specs. The phone runs on Raspbian Lite, shipping with an open-source UI development kit. The phone has a 1.3 inch, 128x64 monochrome OLED screen powered by a Broadcom BCM2835 processor clocked at 1GHz and 512MB of RAM. Thanks to the Raspberry Pi Zero it is able to use WiFi and supports 2G mobile data, although Pičugins says a 3G modem is in the works and will hopefully be available soon. The ZeroPhone uses micro USB for charging, but can also use that port to output video via HDMI and audio using the 3.5mm headphone jack.
The ZeroPhone will be entering into crowdfunding this week and you can check it out here. Are you going to take the time out to make your own smartphone?