Several companies are planning to ship Linux smartphones in the coming months. The PinePhone is by far the cheapest — and it could be one of the first to ship… if you’re OK spending money on a developer/early adopter edition phone.
The PinePhone “BraveHeart” Limited Edition smartphone is now available for purchase for $150.
It’s set to ship in late December or early January.
There are a few things that make this a BraveHeart model:
- Phones purchased now will be from the first mass production run.
- Hardware should be fully functional, but some design elements (including the 2G antenna placement) may change in future production runs.
- Software is very much a work in progress — the BraveHeart phone doesn’t come with an operating system pre-installed, so you’ll have to install your own build.
- Some firmware features may be buggy/unsupported for a while.
But those warnings are a lot easier to accept for a $150 smartphone than they would be with a higher-priced model.
Want a more stable experience? Just wait a little longer. Pine64 plans to begin selling finalized hardware with more robust software in March, 2020. Those phones will still cost just $150.
As you probably guessed from the price tag, the PinePhone isn’t exactly a speed demon.
It’s powered by a 1.2 GHz Allwinner A64 ARM Cortex-A53 quad-core processor with Mali-400 graphics and features 2GB of LPDDR3 memory, 16GB of eMMC storage, and a 5.95 inch, 1440 x 720 pixel IPS touchscreen display.
The phone has a plastic case and wireless capabilities top out at 802.11n WiFi and Bluetooth 5.0.
The PinePhone does support global cellular bands though, including:
- LTE-FDD: B1/ B2/ B3/ B4/ B5/ B7/ B8/ B12/ B13/ B18/ B19/ B20/ B25/ B26/ B28
- LTE-TDD: B38/ B39/ B40/ B41
- WCDMA: B1/ B2/ B4/ B5/ B6/ B8/ B19
- GSM: 850/900/1800/1900MHz
And the phone has a few features that you won’t find on many modern flagship smartphones, including:
- Removable battery
- microSDXC card reader
- 3.5mm headphone jack
- Kill switches to shut off WiFi, Bluetooth, cellular, GPS, mic, and camera hardware
And most importantly, it’s a phone designed to run free and open source software. Sure, you can try to unlock the bootloader and install a phone-friendly Linux operating on an existing phone — but that’s not quite as simple as buying a phone designed to run the software.
Other PinePhone features include a USB Type-C port, and a 15 watt charger, a 5MP rear camera, 2MP front camera, and a mono speaker.
The Pinephone measures 160.5mm x 76.6mm x 9.2mm and weighs 185 grams.
You can find more details and/or place an order at the Pine64 Store.