The GPD Pocket 3 mini laptop gets a third-party 4G LTE module (Making the most of modularity:)

The GPD Pocket 3 is a mini laptop with a QWERTY keyboard barely big enough for touch input, an 8-inch touchscreen, and a pivoting hinge that lets you use the tiny computer as a laptop or tablet.

It’s also a modular computer: in addition to full-size USB, HDMI, and Ethernet ports, the tiny computer has a modular port area that you can use to replace a USB-A port with something else. GPD offers a few official modules, and more are in development. But third-party modules are also a thing, and one of the latest is a GPD Pocket 3 4G LTE module that brings cellular connectivity to GPD’s handheld.

The 4G module includes a Quectel EC20-CN 4G chip (which, by the way, is similar to the one used in Pine64’s PinePhone) and a nano SIM card reader. It is a 4G LTE Cat 4 module supporting download speeds up to 150 Mbps and upload speeds up to 50 Mbps.

Like other modules for the Pocket 3, connecting the 4G LTE module is as simple as unscrewing the already connected model, taking it out and replacing it with the new module. It communicates with the computer via a USB 2.0 connection, but since it is designed as a module that fits into the computer case, it will not come out like a USB wireless dongle.

You can’t buy a Pocket 3 4G LTE module yet, as the developer notes that it’s still a work in progress, but if you want to try building your own or modifying the design, you can find everything what you need in a GitHub repository, including design files for the circuit board, 3D printed enclosure, and Windows drivers for the EC20-CN modem. Everything is shared under a Creative Commons license.

The new 4G module comes from the same person(s) who designed the P3 Clicker module we reviewed in March. This module is an open source set of programmable buttons that can be added to the back of the case, giving you three buttons that can be used for power, volume, or other functions while using the Pocket 3 in tablet mode .

As for proprietary modules, GPD currently ships the Pocket 3 with a USB Type-A module and offers optional RS-232 and KVM input modules. The KVM module is one of the most unusual, as it has an HDMI input and a USB port, allowing you to plug the Pocket 3 into a server or other computer and use the handheld as a dumb terminal for controlling external hardware using the Pocket 3. display, keyboard, touchpad and touchscreen.

GPD also plans to offer a microSD card module soon.

thank you bz9t!

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