Engineer Creates World’s First Android Phone with a Lightning Port

BY Chandraveer Mathur

Published 1 Apr 2022

Lightning Port Android Phone Ken Pillonel

The robotics engineer who shot to fame last year for transplanting a USB-C connector into an iPhone is in the news again. Ken Pillonel has now taken Apple’s proprietary Lightning connector and installed it in an Android smartphone after requisite modifications. In case you’re wondering, the revelation intentionally coincides with April Fools Day, but this is not a joke.

Late in 2021, Pillonel successfully replaced the Lightning connector in an iPhone X with a USB-C port, winning him praise from the Apple community. His project showed that if Apple wanted to, it could adopt USB-C. The phone was capable of charging, and data transfer using the USB-C port. It also went to auction.

The engineer says his latest creation is an attempt to “balance the chaos” in the wake of his last project. Understandably, an Android phone with a Lightning connector doesn’t have nearly as much allure as a USB-C iPhone. However, Pillonel says this was a fun yet complicated project.

The robotics engineer took a Samsung Galaxy A51 and used some “out-of-the-box thinking” to retrofit it with a Lightning connector. In an interaction with Engadget, he says the biggest challenge was to get everything to work together.

“The Lightning cables sold by Apple are not ‘dumb.’ They will only charge Apple devices. So I had to find a way to trick the cable into thinking it was plugged into an Apple device. And the whole thing needs to fit inside the phone, which is another challenge in itself.

“I would say it was easier to do than the first USB-C iPhone for two reasons. The first is that I’m getting better at it because I’m learning new things every day, so hopefully, I can finish these mods faster and faster. The second reason is that the quality of the finished product is nowhere near what it was for the iPhone.”

Pillonel says he would rather keep the device this time around. When the USB-C iPhone went up for auction on eBay, it attracted fake bids in excess of $100,000. Lastly, he adds that the projects are a testament to “what can be done even without the help of the companies that originally made them (the phones).”

If you want to check out what the latest creation looks like, here’s a short clip:

[Via Engadget]