When the PinePhone began shipping earlier this year, it was only available in one configuration: with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage. But this summer Pine64 began selling a 3GB/32GB model as part of PinePhone Convergence Packs, which also come with a USB-C dock that lets you connect a keyboard, mouse, and monitor to use the company’s Linux smartphone like a tiny Linux desktop.
Now Pine64 says customers who already have a 2GB PinePhone and want to upgrade without buying a new device will be able to purchase a new mainboard starting in November.
Update: Upgrade boards are now available from the Pine Store.
That’s possible because not only does the PinePhone have a removable back cover, but the phone is held together by screws that can be easily removed using a standard Phillips-head screwdriver, making it relatively simple to replace components on your own.
The company already sells replacement PinePhone “Braveheart” Edition mainboards for $80, giving customers a way to repair a broken phone for just over half the price of buying a new model.
It’s unclear how much the new 3GB/32GB upgrade module will cost at this point, but it will allow customers to upgrade without paying for a new case, screen, battery, or cameras (all of which are also available from the Pine64 store).
The phone will still have the same Allwinner A64 quad-core ARM Cortex-A53 processor after the upgrade, which is sort of a mixed bag. On the bright side, that means the new model will be compatible with most applications already developed for the PinePhone. But it’s not exactly a speedy processor, so don’t expect a huge performance boost after the upgrade.
But there may be a processor upgrade coming soon: in the company’s October update blog post, Pine64’s Lukasz Erecinski teases that he’ll “talk about the next generation of SoCs and our plans for the future” in next month’s update.
Erecinski notes that Pine64 is making progress on a series of add-on modules that will allow you to add wireless charging, NFC, or even a physical keyboard to the PinePhone by swapping out back covers.