There are a lot of things that make the PinePhone different than most smartphones. It’s designed to run GNU/Linux-based operating systems. It has physical switches that can disable the camera, mic, and wireless features. And it has a set of pogo pins that make it possible to connect add-ons like a keyboard, fingerprint reader, or thermal camera to extend the functionality of the phone
The only problem is that you have to pop off the back cover to access those pogo pins, so many of the official and unofficial PinePhone mods that take advantage of the pins are designed to either replace the cover with a new one or cut a hole in the existing cover.
Now there’s a simpler way to access the pogo pins while the cover is on: Pine64 has begun selling a PinePhone Flex Break-Out board for just $1.
The board acts as a pogo pin extender. It connects to the i2c, power, and interrupt pins and provides a thin ribbon that can extend beyond the edge of the phone’s case when the back cover is snapped in place, resulting in six pins that are accessible on the outside of the phone.
If the breakout board looks familiar, that’s because it’s not entirely new – developer navarro7 posted the open source design for the breakout board on GitHub a few months ago, and used it to build the PineEye thermal imaging camera for the PinePhone.
Now PinePhone maker Pine64 is manufacturing breakout boards based on that design and selling them as a kit that also comes with the two small screws you’ll need to hold the board in place.
Update: Shortly after announcing the availability of the pogo pin extender, Pine64 also introduced a microSD card extender that allows you to insert and remove a microSD card without removing the phone’s back cover. It’s available from the Pine64 Store for $8.
The #PinePhone micro SD extension cable is now available. Can be used with back case on. We strongly suggest using it with TPU case.
— PINE64 (@thepine64) January 24, 2021