Pine64 has announced that it is lastly shipping the PinePhone, a smartphone that takes the uncommon step outside the Android/iOS duopoly and is designed to run mainline Linux distributions. The PinePhone starts shipping January 17 in the “Braveheart” developer edition.
This initial “Braveheart” batch of devices is suggested for “designer and early adopter” users, according to the Pine64 Shop. The phone doesn’t included an end-user OS pre-installed and rather only features a factory test image that permits simple verification that the hardware works. Users are anticipated to flash their own OS to the device. There are several readily available, from Ubuntu Touch to Sailfish OS, however they are all presently in an unfinished alpha state. Pine64 states that just enthusiasts with “extensive Linux experience” are the intended consumers here– this isn’t (yet?) a mainstream product.
It’s difficult to point out PinePhone without mentioning that other Linux mobile phone, the Purism Librem 5. They could both end up running the exact same software application one day, but the two companies are taking totally different techniques to hardware. Purism has a hardline requirement for the hardware: it requires to be as open and freedom-focused as possible, which implies the business couldn’t use the normal supply chain that exists for Android phones. Purism has just a restricted amount of open source-compatible vendors to select from, and it uses M. 2 socketed chips for the closed-source Wi-Fi/Bluetooth and Cell modem. The outcome is a gadget that is extremely thick (16 mm), hot, and pricey, at $750 The PinePhone is less averse to binary blobs and is a lot closer to a typical mobile phone. It’s a more affordable density (9mm) and a more reasonable cost: $150
The PinePhone is powered by an Allwinner A64 SoC, which includes 4 Cortex A53 CPUs at 1.2 GHz, developed on a quite ancient 40 nm process. This is the very same chip the business utilizes on the PINE A64 single board computer system, a Raspberry Pi competitor. The gadget has 2GB of RAM, a Mali-400 GPU, 16 GB of storage, and a 2750 mAh battery. The rear cam is 5MP, the front electronic camera is 2MP, the screen is a 1440 ×720 IPS LCD, and the battery is removable. There’s an earphone jack, a USB-C port, and support for a MicroSD slot, which you can in fact boot os off of. The cellular modem is a large different chip that is soldered onto the motherboard: a Quectel EG25- G.
When the back of the phone is peeled off, the innards really have some unique parts. The business states it is “making a keyboard heavily influenced by Psion Series 5 keyboards from the 1990 s.
The Psion 5 was a clamshell PDA that ran the EPOC os (which was later on relabelled “Symbian OS”) and was powered by 2 AA batteries. Smartphone keyboards from the Moto Android age would use a single sheet of rubbery secrets that squished down onto a contact, however the Psion 5 keyboard was different. The Psion 5 has a scaled-down version of an inexpensive desktop keyboard, with individual tough, plastic secrets that each sat on top of a membrane switch.
Also under the detachable back is a set of 6 dip switches that act as personal privacy kill switches. With this wild-looking male-3.5 mm-to-male-USB-A wire, you can get a serial connection out of the PinePhone and do some debugging.
With the phone shipping, Pine64 isn’t resting on its laurels.
Listing image by Pine64