One thing you can definitely say about Eric Migicovsky: he seems to be having a lot of fun. The Pebble founder left a three-year stint as a partner at Y Combinator to co-found the chat aggregation app Beeper. During that time, he’s been dipping back into his hardware roots.
Back in 2017, he launched a Kickstarter for Podcase, a iPhone charging case with built-in AirPods slots. A year ago yesterday, he announced plans to “bring back” the small phone. It was a small, yet devoted movement.
Such words can, perhaps, be applied to a new project, Beepberry, which is designed specifically with Beeper users in mind. As for the second part of the name, that comes courtesy of its use of an actual BlackBerry Classic physical keyboard. That and the 400 x 240 Sharp memory e-paper-esque LCD are powered by a Raspberry Pi Zero, making it a kind of blackberry pi, if you will.
The idea is — in part — to return to the relatively distraction-free nature of Beeper’s namesake. It’s a bit like a scrappier version of the Light Phone, with fewer features.
There’s a 2000mAh battery inside, which presumably can run for a while, given the low-power nature of the whole deal. Just in case you were worried that it was trapped in the late 90s/early-aughts, there’s also USB-C charging on board.
This is all as hacked together as it sounds. The company is selling the kits at $79 a pop — or $99 if you want the Raspberry Pi, depending on how much you want to d it your y. There are only 50 available at launch (presumably fewer as I write this, because he announced it on Twitter yesterday), which will likely sell out.
Beyond that, who can say. It’s a bit of a niche inside of a niche, but it’s a fun return to the era when gadget blogging felt a whole lot…hackier. Designer SQFMI expects the kits without the board to ship in August, while the others will arrive the following month.