Last year, engineer Ken Pillonel shocked the mobile world when he added a USB-C port to an iPhone. Now, he reciprocated and created something we thought we’d never see. He added a Lightning Port to an Android device; now, we’ve officially seen everything.
We’re all used to the age-old joke, “Hey, my phone died, do you have an iPhone charger?”. This is something that people bring up when they want to make fun of Apple’s proprietary Lightning port. It’s resistant to moving over to USB-C, which frustrates a lot of people. This is why it’s so impactful when someone switches up ports.
Someone added a Lightning port to an Android phone
Ken Pillonel is an engineer pursuing a masters in robotics at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. Engadget was able to speak to him about this project, and he explained some of the trials he faced.
The biggest issue with getting a lightning port to work on an Android phone didn’t have as much to do with raw hardware, but with software. “The Lightning cables sold by Apple are not ‘dumb’… they will only charge Apple devices.” Apple, unsurprisingly, locked its in-house cables to only work on iOS devices. Thus, he had to do some software trickery to make the cable “think” it was in an iPhone.
After jumping that hurdle, he was able to get a final product. What’s impressive is that the cable didn’t only charge the device, but it could also transfer files. That’s a major feat, as there are some major software differences between the Android and iOS platforms. The Android phone (The Galaxy A51) needs to also believe that it’s using a compatible charger connected.
While this is a major feat, there isn’t much use for an Android phone with a lightning port. The best thing that comes to mind is going around and freaking out iPhone users. Other than that, the main point in doing this, Pillonel states is because “It was for fun, I just wanted to see if I could do it.”