Pine64 has produced some of the most interesting hardware aimed at open source enthusiasts over the past few years. They’re not exactly high-performance machines, but what they are is cheap – among other things, Pine64 sells Linux smartphones for as little as $150 and Linux laptops for as little as $100.

Those low prices, combined with an active development community makes hardware like the Pinebook and PinePhone line of devices compelling for developers and other folks looking for an inexpensive way to experiment with free and open source software on purpose-built hardware.

But these are devices aimed at enthusiasts. Support is primarily offered via a wiki, forum, and various chat channels. Orders tend to come in batches, which means you may have to wait weeks or even months for your device to arrive, depending on when you place an order. And software is very much a work in progress.

So Pine64 has announced plans to launch a series of online retail stores in regions including Europe and North America. Customers who buy from one of these stores will pay a higher price, but their devices will ship in a matter of days, they’ll get better support for software troubleshooting, and more help with returns, replacement parts, or tracking missing shipments, among other things.

Pine64Pine64 says it will continue to offer Community pricing through its existing Pine Store. But when the new online retail experience rolls out next year, customers will have the option of paying more to get the kind of support they’ve come to expect from other computer vendors.

Here’s a roundup of recent tech news from around the web.

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One reply on “Lilbits: Getting what you pay for with enthusiast-grade hardware”

  1. from the “he who hesitates is lost” dept.

    those Pinebook Pros are tough to catch in-stock. In their blog this summer they kept talking about QC issues with the display so I was holding off on ordering one and now they are out of stock. I’ll need to keep an eye on the tweets (or Brad) to see when availability comes back

    thanks for everything Brad – I’ve been following you since the eee701

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