Among other things, the latest release brings support for 60 fps graphics on the phone, and HDMI output for when you want to use an external display. The Torch feature also now works, allowing you to trigger the LED camera flash light on the back of the phone from the quick access menu.
Behind the scenes, Manjaro ARM Beta2 Phosh for the PinePhone is powered by Linux kernel 5.91 and features a bunch of updated packages including:
The network manager and modem manager have also been updated, and the Manjaro ARM team says phone call audio should work better in the latest build – although that’s something I haven’t tested yet, since I’m not currently using a SIM card with my PinePhone.
But one thing I was able to confirm is that not only is HDMI output working, but when I use the PinePhone Convergence Dock I can charge the phone while it’s connected to an external display. It’s also easier to move apps back and forth between the phone screen and an external display when using the dock by dragging and dropping from one screen to the other.
Keep in mind that this is still beta software. There are some known issues, including a limited selection of mobile-friendly apps, a user interface that can become unresponsive over time, and the PinePhone may take a long time to wake up from deep sleep when a call is incoming.
But over the past few months the Manjaro team has made a lot of progress, and the latest build is pretty usable. Automatic screen rotation isn’t supported, but you can manually rotate the display by tapping an icon in the quick access panel. Some apps like Firefox take a long time to load, but they function properly once they’re up and running.
When testing this build, I was also able to stream video from YouTube at 480 and 720p resolution without many dropped frames, and when I fired up the Sound Recorder app, I was able to record and play back a short voice memo.
One thing to keep in mind if you plan to try out Manjaro ARM on a PinePhone is that the default username is manjaro, and the default password is 123456, but you’ll probably want to change it after you login if you plan to keep using the operating system. You can do that by opening the Settings app, navigating to the Users area, and changing both items.