This weeks the developers behind the KDE plasma desktop environment for Linux-based operating systems released Plasma 6, the biggest update in 10 years.

While the free and open source user interface is most commonly used on desktop operating systems, there’s also a Plasma Mobile version for use on supported smartphones and tablets, and the Plasma Mobile team has just posted an overview of new features and changes in Plasma 6 Mobile.

Plasma 6 Mobile (From left: Homescreen, First Time Setup, Calculator app running in Docked Mode)

A lot of the changes are under the hood, but there are a number of updates that users will notice. The first is that there’s a new First time setup screen that walks you through some of the basic configuration options the first time you boot an operating system using Plasma Mobile 6. Among other things, you’ll be asked whether you’d prefer to use a light or dark theme, what display scaling settings to use, and to adjust time, location, and networking settings.

The next thing you’ll see is the new (old) Homescreen, which is a new version of the Folio home screen app that earlier versions of Plasma Mobile had used, but which was dropped a while back. Now Folio is back, with support for arranging apps and widgets on multiple pages, allowing you to flip through different views. There’s also an Android-like app drawer, and support for folders. At the moment there’s only support for a limited number of widgets, but developers are working to add support for more.

Another nice tweak is a new Quick Setting option for Docked Mode. This basically lets you toggle whether app windows should open in full-screen the way they typically do on smartphones or tablets, or in resizable windows with minimize, maximize, and close buttons like they would on a desktop. This lets you plug a phone into an external display and run Linux apps on a big screen, using your phone like a desktop computer. But it could also come in handy if you want to run apps in windowed mode on a phone or tablet screen.

There’s also a new option in the Shell settings that lets you always show keyboard toggle in the Navigation panel. This can be useful if you sometimes encounter applications or websites with a text input box where the keyboard doesn’t automatically pop up when you tap on that box. It can also let you use keyboard shortcuts even when you’re not interacting with a text input field.

Plasma Mobile 6 also includes updated versions of some core apps including the Clock, Calculator, and Photos applications. For example, the Clock app will now pause media playback when an alarm or timer goes off, and resume playback when you dismiss the alarm.

A few other noteworthy changes include support for using the flashlight function on all phones (previously this only worked with the PinePhone) and improved vibration effects for phones (previously the featured was only really configured to work well with the PinePhone).

You can find more details, as well as lot of pictures of Plasma 6 Mobile in the release announcement.

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  1. It has an app drawer and its main home screen also features nothing other than ”apps” just like android.

  2. It may be a masterful execution of Linux FOSS programming… However, the UI is too “app”-centric, just like Android and IOS… No vision.

    1. I disagree.
      If we had this build back in 2009, then maybe, Nokia, Palm, and a handful of other phone manufacturers. Well maybe they wouldn’t have imploded as a company. Maybe things would be better today, and have a healthy market with consumer friendly and strong competition.

      Instead today we have a monopoly of Apple and iPhone in the Luxury Market, and they account for around 80% of all the profits in the industry by only occupying the top 20% of the marketshare. The majority rest of the marketshare, which is huge, is taken up by the monopoly of Google with their “not-so-open” Android Ecosystem. And the small amount of profits is shared by the rest of the industry. It is far from a healthy and competitive market. It stopped being that way after 2014.