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Are there any cell phones that are both usable as day-to-day personal cell phones, and that also expose hardware and software interfaces that would let me wire up custom hardware? For example, I'd like to experiment with attaching a LORA radio. This would involve wiring up a little PCB such as this. That in turn would require me to be able to get physical access to some GPIO pins on the cell phone, and also to program the cell phone at a very low level. I know it's a lot to ask for in modern cell phone world but is there anything like this out there?

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  • Unfortunately, I think no? The closest I can think of would be the Fairphone, but that's not exactly hackable. While it's pretty open and well-documented, it doesn't really have any of the specialized I/O or tooling that you'd want if you're doing development—not that Android provides much in that regard anyways. I'd probably focus on either making a separate box that can attach to any phone over USB, or on using separate non-phone hardware?
    – JMY1000
    Commented May 4 at 4:25
  • Best I've found in my research so far is PinePhone: pine64.org/devices/pinephone
    – Alex Flint
    Commented May 5 at 13:07
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    Oh yeah forgot about them. That'll get you I2C, which would probably be nice for LoRa since it uses SPI/I2C normally. I'd go with that.
    – JMY1000
    Commented May 6 at 5:26

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After researching this question I've come to the conclusion that the Pine Phone is my best option.

As @JMY1000 noted in the comments, it supports I2C connections with external devices, which should work great for a LoRA module or board.

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