Qualcomm introduced the Snapdragon 888 processor earlier this month, promising big boost in CPU and graphics performance and energy efficiency. Last week the company shared some initial benchmarks that help make the case, (but which also show that Qualcomm’s next-gen chip is only somewhat competitive with Apple’s previous-gen processor).

But when will you actually be able to buy a phone with a Snapdragon 888 chip? Pretty soon. Maybe.

Chinese phone maker Xiaomi is holding a launch event for the Mi 11 smartphone on December 28th. It’s expected to be one of the first phones with Qualcomm’s latest processor. It’s not clear if you’ll actually be able to buy one before the end of the month, but it seems likely that other phone makers will follow Xiaomi pretty quickly, and by early 2021 you may see at least a handful of Snapdragon 888-powered phones.

 

In other recent tech news from around the web, someone developed a modern media editor for an open source BeOS clone. It can handle 4K video, but it’s small enough to fit on a 1.44MB floppy disk. And Linux phones may still be devices that only enthusiasts and early adopters can love at the moment, but software development continues at a rapid pace… and some users are finding that the PCs in their pockets are capable of doing many of the things you’d normally turn to a laptop or desktop for.

  • Xiaomi’s Mi 11 launches December 28th [xda-developers]
    That could make it the first phone to be available with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor, although like most Xiaomi phones, it will probably only be available in China at launch before expanding to select other markets (not likely to include the United States)
  • Medo: A Haiku Media Editor [Haiku OS forum]
    Medo is a media editor that can handle 4K video, color grading effects and color correction, and more. It’s small enough to fit on a 1.44MB floppy disk, and designed exclusively for Haiku OS, an open source operating system inspired by the defunct BeOS.
  • PinePhone can flash itself. It can be your only computer. [@linmobblog & @enthusiasticGeek]
    So the funny thing about using a GNU/Linux distribution as your smartphone operating system… it really makes that whole computer-in-your pocket thing pretty literal. One user was looking for a way to flash an operating system to a microSD card, and having nothing else handy, they used the phone itself to write the disc image to the card. Afterward, you can reboot the phone to load the alternate OS from the microSD card.
  • Manjaro ARM Plasma Mobile Beta 1 is now available for the PinePhone [Linux Smartphones]
    Manjaro ARM is one of the most polished of the GNU/Linux distributions capable of running on the PinePhone so far, but up until now all of the beta-quality releases have featured the Phosh user interface which has a rather utilitarian look and feel. Now you can try the first beta of Manjaro ARM with the KDE Plasma Mobile user interface. This is the same combination of OS & UI that will be pre-installed on the PinePhone KDE Community Edition when it ships in January, 2021.

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  1. Flashing an OS on the pinephone is pretty simple. You just download the .img.tar.gz for the OS you want, and extract it somewhere. Then you run
    lsblk
    then determine which /dev/mmcblk is your sd card (it’ll be the one with one partition usually), then run
    sudo dd if=/path/to/img/whateveros_pinephone.img of=dev/mmcblk#
    Then, if you want to, you can do the same thing to the onboard emmc after booting into the new OS, which will probably also have dd.

    1. It’s stunning that “revamp the phone OS” is easy to describe in an article comment. The power of general purpose computers is amazing. Of course DD is a powerful tool for building, or for shooting your toes off. All depends on how it is used.