Pine64 sells a handful of single-board computers and low-cost laptops designed to run Linux. Now it looks like the company wants to build a Linux smartphone.
According to a report from It’s FOSS, the upcoming PinePhone will feature a 5.45 inch, 1440 x 720 pixel display and it will be powered by the same PINE A64 board that the company uses for its Linux-powered Pinebook laptops.
But the phone will use the KDE Plasma user interface designed for Linux-powered phones.
Before Pine64 can ship a phone, the company plans to offer a developer kit. It’s coming on November 1st and it’ll be made available to select developers.
The kit has a PINE A64 baseboard, a SOPine module, a 7 inch touchscreen display, a battery, WiFi and Bluetooth card, a case, a battery, and a 4G LTE USB dongle.
It’s obviously going to be a bit more unwieldy than a smartphone, but it should allow developers to start tinkering with the platform in order to get apps ready for the PinePhone if and when it ships.
This would hardly be the first attempt to build a Linux-powered phone. In fact, Android currently uses the Linux kernel, so there are billions of Linux phones in the wild at the moment. But phones that use the same sorts of technologies as desktop Linux are much more rare.
Canonical has scrapped its Ubuntu Phone initiative after phone makers released just a handful of devices powered by the operating system. Jolla’s Sailfish has been floundering. And it’ll be a while before Purism’s Librem 5 smartphone is ready to go.
So it’s nice to see another player planning to enter this space. It remains to be seen if Pine64 will have any more success than other companies that have come before.