June 28, 2022

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As a “just because I can” project, engineer builds the first Android phone with a Lightning port

As a “just because I can” project, engineer builds the first Android phone with a Lightning port. Since the iPhone 5, the Lightning interface has been a proprietary data transfer and charging connector exclusive to Apple devices. That didn’t stop a robotics engineer from hacking an Android phone with a Lightning connector.

Ken Pillonel (Kenny Pi), a robotics expert, demonstrated the first iPhone with a working USB-C connector late last year. He decided to flip the idea this year and hacked an Android phone with a Lightning connection to build the first Android phone with a Lightning port.

Pillonel has provided a brief preview of the interface in action on the hacked phone (Samsung Galaxy A51), but a complete video explanation will be forthcoming soon. Nonetheless, the teaser shows the phone charging with a Lightning connector and identifying it for data transfer.

“It was a complicated change that necessitated some creative thinking. Add a dash of do-it-yourself to the mix, and you’ve got a winner, “in the video description, the engineer wrote.

Modded Samsung Galaxy A51 with a Lightning interface

Pillonel claimed the most challenging part of the job was putting it all together when asked how he achieved it. Lightning cables, he claims, are not “stupid.” They only charge Apple gadgets, so the developer had to figure out how to make the line believe it was connected to one. This had to be done inside the phone’s case, which added to the difficulty.

Pillonel found a way to achieve just that, as you can see in the video. Overall, he thought this assignment would be easier to complete than the last one because he now had more expertise and understanding in this industry. Pillonel also stated that hacking an Android handset with a Lightning connector is unnecessary, but he wanted to see whether he could accomplish it.

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