I recently discovered a unique handheld device designed solely for browsing Twitter. It is called the
TW Boy, created by hardware and software engineer Kosuke Saito, also known as NEKOPLA. The purpose of this custom console was to take advantage of the free Twitter API before it transitioned into a paid service in 2023.
NEKOPLA’s goal was to create a nostalgic handheld device before it became obsolete. While the TW Boy may not feature in our list of the best retro handhelds, it is still worth exploring.
TW Boy – A Twitter Handheld
The TW Boy is a fully functional handheld console dedicated solely to browsing Twitter. Despite any personal reservations about the platform, one can still appreciate the custom hardware and software work that brought this device to life.
The central processing of the handheld is done using a Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W. Additionally, NEKOPLA incorporated a Game Boy-style monochrome liquid crystal display to evoke nostalgia and capture the magic of the iconic handheld device.
Connecting the liquid crystal screen to the Raspberry Pi, as well as incorporating a custom retro-style button board, required extensive custom soldering and programming. This allowed the TW Boy to display real tweets from the Twitter API and provide functionality for real reactions such as likes and retweets.
The TW Boy is encased in a custom 3D printed shell, resulting in a sleek and minimalist design when fully assembled.
Image Source: Kosuke Saito aka NEKOPLA Conclusions
When considering NEKOPLA’s explanation of his creation, it becomes quite endearing. He bids farewell to the TW Boy and expresses gratitude towards the Twitter API for allowing him to enjoy its functionalities, albeit for a short period.
While the idea may seem whimsical and perhaps unnecessary, it demonstrates the ingenuity and creativity of someone who put their hardware and software skills to the test to develop a functional Twitter handheld. NEKOPLA’s imagination of an alternate reality where we use retro-style devices like Game Boys to browse social media is inspiring.