Using a Phone Like a Pi

This is much cheaper than buying a pi along with a display, touch screen,
battery, power supply, etc. MUCH cheaper. Can it be unlocked to install
whatever OS you want? While I'm sure it could run various versions of
Linux, it likely won't run Raspbian I assume.
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Any thoughts?
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Rick C 

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rickman
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It's very unlikely to have any modern OS ported to it, so you won't be able to secure it. That's fine if you're in a very local network with no possibility of external access by bad actors (humans or robots).
R
Reply to
Roger Bell_West
Perhaps you can explain what you mean by "modern" OS. Android isn't a "modern" OS?
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Rick C 

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rickman
That page mentions Android KitKat, which is from 2013. Can you put a modern Android on it, with security fixes since then? If so, for how much longer can you keep it current?
A major reason I stick with my Pis is that I can keep them all patched up to date, even the oldest.
Reply to
Roger Bell_West
The main reason for the existence of the PI series was to encourage students to learn programming and physical computing - not to make a cheap desktop.
Reply to
ray carter
Don't phones get regular security updates? I read that as of Nov 2017, KitKat is used on 14% of devices. If it had security issues and didn't get updates, I would expect that to have been noted. No?
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Rick C 

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rickman
Not sure what your point is. You think the self contained package of touch screen and processor makes the phone a "desktop" while the rPi connected to a keyboard and a monitor is something else?
I'm looking to use this for embedded control where the device will need a GUI as well as controlling dedicated hardware. Besides, what relevance is it what the original designers intended for the rPi? Do you really think most of the Linux based rPis *aren't* being used as cheap desktops???
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Rick C 

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rickman
No. Phones, especially cheap ones, get abandoned after about 1 or 2 years. (Apple is a little better.) No upgrades, no security updates, nothing. ?Buy our new model, chump!?
Reply to
A. Dumas
The same applies to many of the RPi's competitor cheap single-board machines: they may come with Linux, but software upgrades tend to be hard to come by because proprietary toolchains were used to put the custom kernel together.
Reply to
Roger Bell_West
It indeed is something else; and no, I don't consider a phone to be a desktop.
You did not make your intended uses clear. Yes, I really think most Linux based PIs are not being used as cheap desktops. They are rather limited to fulfill that function - and none of my four (soon to be six) are used that way. Basically, I use them for an electronics tinkering base and IOT development platform.
Reply to
ray carter
I shall have to admit, I did buy mine thinking I might be able to make a desktop out of it... not so much a "cheap" one as much as a more power-efficient and smaller one.
I have not played with it in a while, though... it was not very responsive, especially when attempting to surf the web or load any GUI program.
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Mike Powell
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Rick C 

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rickman
Exactly. And 14 % is a lot of devices. If there really were security risks like the "newer is always better" faction continues to claim, wouldn't we have heard about serious exploits by now?
And most if not nearly all Raspberry applications I have seen are either strictly local or at least behind a router.
And if new really was better, why is it always and nearly exclusively only the early adopters of updates that really get hit by exploits?
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Reply to
Axel Berger
Isn't that the main point here? The Pi has a documented interface for external hardware, the self contained machines have one USB port at best and that as often as not in passive mode only.
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Reply to
Axel Berger
I don't know. What exactly *is* your point?
As is common on usenet, a post is made asking for info and many posts are made assuming facts not in evidence.
I guess in all fairness I did ask for people's "thoughts". lol :)
I would not use an rPi for low level stuff. For that I would use an embedded MCU such as a MSP430 or ARM CMx. I would only use the rPi when I have need of the features of an OS. That is pretty much the same set of problems I could use a phone to solve.
I was asking about the hassles of trying to use a phone without the tyranny of the phone company, whether it was hard to pick the OS I use and write control code. I found some info on using the phone either with a bluetooth serial port connection or using the USB port for a serial connection and there even seems to be some info on using the USB port directly as an async serial port.
I recall seeing USB interface chips that allowed three modes of use, USB (of course), headphones and data. Now I know what the data mode is for.
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Rick C 

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rickman
Since we're assuming, I'm going to assume you're asking about this wearing your comp.arch.embedded hat, or equivalent application thereto.
Generally the way this goes is that you have to treat the phone or tablet as an appliance. You get whatever you're given, you don't change the OS (either you can't or it's too much work). You install an app on it that uses the standard Android/iOS APIs for talking to hardware - Bluetooth, wifi, USB.
A year or two down the track you replace the device with a newer model. You might have to tweak the app for the newer OS (new graphics, recompile or whatever). Since you're using a standard hardware interface that bit doesn't change (modulo micro USB to USB-C or whatever).
The solution to 'make it secure' is to buy a newer device every two years, and hope it hasn't been infected in the meantime. Android security is a car-crash, and to a first approximation doesn't exist. For iOS you might get 4 years.
A Raspberry Pi is the antithesis of this kind of appliance-like model.
If you really want to treat the phone/tablet like a Pi, find a device that supports Lineage OS, which is a build-from-source version of Android. They will hopefully keep it updated, though it's all dependent on volunteer labour keeping particular models of devices supported. It's more likely to get security updates but quite possibly won't get newer OS updates when either the volunteer devs aren't interested or something in the newer OS is incompatible with your phone (eg the binary blobs provided by the vendor).
Theo
Reply to
Theo
A pretty device does not a reference platform make. The ?problem? with packaged mobile devices is that they are a fast moving market intended for average users, and a low-end tablet you can buy for $50 today is not really something you can build a project around for the next 2-5 years because, as others have already pointed out, the support isn?t there for tinkering.
Absolutely, use one to provide an *interface* (be it web- or app-based) to an RPi or any other project board you?re working with. But it?s a fool?s errand to try to do pretty much *anything* with mobile devices that involves hardware modification or any kind of external interface other than common standards (USB, BT, etc.).
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Reply to
Doc O'Leary
That would be me. Originally thought that a 3 watt computer with no moving parts would be ideal to keep running all the time hosting our own little Cloud service on the LAN. While we think of something to serve it's doing Usenet, web browsing, email. Over the holidays, might find a 64GB chip that works with it, and learn the workings of nginx.
Reply to
Mel Wilson
Good assumption.
Ok, thanks for the info.
I would be writing my own programs using Gforth. It would be talking to external devices and, as I've said, using the phone for the UI. The phone will do data collection, status display and perform whatever calculations are needed to support that. It might also do data logging. Nothing complex so not demanding of the software on the phone. I'm thinking for $50 it is cheaper than a tablet or a pi with attached display and keypad and a *lot* more flexible.
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Rick C 

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rickman
Doc O'Leary wrote on 12/19/2017 10:34 AM:
Who said I planned to do hardware modification??? I don't see the rPi as a low level hardware oriented device. The OS just gets in the way for doing anything real time. I'd much rather program hardware on bare metal.
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Rick C 

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rickman

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