Pine64 sells a handful of single-board computers and low-cost laptops designed to run Linux. Now it looks like the company wants to build a Linux smartphone.

According to a report from It’s FOSS, the upcoming PinePhone will feature a 5.45 inch, 1440 x 720 pixel display and it will be powered by the same PINE A64 board that the company uses for its Linux-powered Pinebook laptops.

But the phone will use the KDE Plasma user interface designed for Linux-powered phones.

Pine64 SOPINE A64 module

Before Pine64 can ship a phone, the company plans to offer a developer kit. It’s coming on November 1st and it’ll be made available to select developers.

The kit has a PINE A64 baseboard, a SOPine module, a 7 inch touchscreen display, a battery, WiFi and Bluetooth card, a case, a battery, and a 4G LTE USB dongle.

It’s obviously going to be a bit more unwieldy than a smartphone, but it should allow developers to start tinkering with the platform in order to get apps ready for the PinePhone if and when it ships.

This would hardly be the first attempt to build a Linux-powered phone. In fact, Android currently uses the Linux kernel, so there are billions of Linux phones in the wild at the moment. But phones that use the same sorts of technologies as desktop Linux are much more rare.

Canonical has scrapped its Ubuntu Phone initiative after phone makers released just a handful of devices powered by the operating system. Jolla’s Sailfish has been floundering. And it’ll be a while before Purism’s Librem 5 smartphone is ready to go.

So it’s nice to see another player planning to enter this space. It remains to be seen if Pine64 will have any more success than other companies that have come before.

via NotebookCheck

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8 replies on “Pine64 is developing a Linux smartphone”

  1. *GASP* Brad Linder sourced my article!
    Fangirling a little hard over here.

  2. If anyone is listening – run Linux and then run the Android apps in containers.

    1. +1 it should be easier now that phone malers will be able to licence parts of the Android ecosystem (ie some Google Apps, the playstore,…) without having the entire Android system come along (thx to EU anti-trust court actions towards Google)

      1. Guys don’t worry, the second thing to happen is that some person(s) will port AndroidOS natively to it.

    2. Sadly they haven’t managed to get that working well on desktop Linux.
      The last review I saw had the comment “The moment when you realize that running Windows apps on Linux is much easier than running a Linux based OS’s apps on Linux.”
      I’m not sure what is wrong with Android but it seems remarkably hard to get it to work.

      1. Its because Google are geniuses.
        They’ve designed the SDK and the OS, that each App has a container which hooks into a service package and that without it, it is practically corrupted. This is why Amazon had quite a difficult time when they were initially forking the AndroidOS, and porting Apps was a PitA. Though now the process is automated and much smoother, there’s still hiccups.

        Basically Google has engineered Android Apps to stay loyal to the Google Ecosystem.
        Yes, even on a Linux Distro its going to have difficulties.

    3. Disagree. I’d prefer that we focus the effort on developing good native Linux apps rather than supporting a buggy Android runtime.

  3. Make a linux phone that can also run Android apps well and price it decently and it should be a winner.

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