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.
What OS is Pine64 going to be using for the production model in 2020? I’m assuming the OS they’ll use as the default will have the most support from them.
That question is why they’re selling these phones now.
I figure that the most likely thing they’ll use will be whatever happens to be the most feature complete/least buggy GNU/linux for phones that’s available which uses plasma mobile at that time.
“Purism. Buy yesterday’s phone tomorrow.” Same thing for PinePhone.
Great quote from James.
But you don’t get this phone to keep up with the times.
You get it to run away from them.
Real Brave Hearted, I know.
At least the Pine Phone is cheap
“Cheap” is the right description for the PinePhone and Purism.
Too bad Jolla/SailOS hasn’t been getting as much traction as it needs. Neither does Bada/Tizen. There is FirefoxOS/KaiOS but that’s more like a lightweight frame just to run HTML WebApps and not much to do with the Open Linux Distro Ecosystem.
Tizen is a security nightmare. It’s open source but the devs have given little thought to security mechanisms. Lots of awful kludges.
Tizen is a horrible ball of spaghetti that needs to be redone from the ground up.
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