I would like to build my own cellphone (phone calls and texts at least).

Having experience with Arduino, I found several cellular shields and libraries that could allow me to do so with Arduino.

However, this would make my phone pretty big (for a phone) as it would be the size of the arduino plus the shield.

Is there any smaller alternative for this?

I know a lot of development boards exist, and some of them are smaller (even Arduino mini for example), the only problem is I can't find one that has (or can have via a module) cellular capabilities in small size.

(and unfortunately I need to find something not too expensive of course)


Firstly, you have to accept that your device will be bigger and more expensive than a comparable cellphone.

If you want to assemble something out of modules, you're already at the smallest point. To get smaller, you'll have to do your own PCB and attach a suitable GSM module and microcontroller. (You can get programmable modules which may suffice: Sierra Wireless "Open AT" for example)

  • \$\begingroup\$ I understand there isn't much that can be done, but using for example a "raw" module (sparkfun.com/products/10138)? I can't understand if these are also programmable or if I need a board with it (arduino mini)? \$\endgroup\$ – Matthieu Napoli Dec 4 '12 at 10:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Matthieu I'm sure you can interface to it with an Arduino mini or any micro. It sounds like any micro with a serial port will sufice. \$\endgroup\$ – kenny Dec 4 '12 at 10:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ Yes, you'll need a microcontroller to do the "user interface". Then it just sends a set of AT commands to say "make call", "answer call", "send text message" etc. \$\endgroup\$ – pjc50 Dec 4 '12 at 11:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ Other important thing to watch for: power supply requirements. It may work directly from a Lithium battery, but the internal resistance of the battery may be too high. \$\endgroup\$ – pjc50 Dec 4 '12 at 11:13

Take a look at this board: GBoard.

For $55 you get an Arduino with build-in SIM900 and more, in a (relatively) small form-factor.

Never used it myself, but I bought a GSM shield from these guys, and I'm happy with its production quality.

The biggest drawback I see for this board (and the reason I didn't use it myself) is the lack of a USB port.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Wow amazing, this is really interesting thank you! As for the lack of USB it shouldn't be a problem for me. \$\endgroup\$ – Matthieu Napoli Dec 5 '12 at 9:25

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