Reviewer Calls Linux-based PinePhone ‘the Most Interesting Smartphone I’ve Tried in Years …


    A review at the Android Police site calls Pine64’s new Linux-based PinePhone “the most interesting smartphone I’ve tried in years,” with 17 different operating systems available (including Fedora, Ubuntu Touch, SailfishOS, openSUSE, and Arch Linux ARM): There’s a replaceable battery, which is compatible with batteries designed for older Samsung Galaxy J7 phones. It’s good to know that even if PinePhone vanished overnight, you could still purchase new batteries for around $10-15… There’s a microSD card slot above the SIM tray, which supports cards up to 2TB in size. While it can be used as extra storage, just like the SD slots in Android phones and tablets, it can also function as a bootable drive. If you write an operating system image to the SD card and put it in the PinePhone, the phone will boot from the SD card. This means you can move between operating systems on the PinePhone by simply swapping microSD cards, which is amazing for trying out new Linux distributions without wiping data. How great would it be if Android phones could do that? Finally, the inside of the PinePhone has six hardware killswitches that can be manipulated with a screwdriver. You can use them to turn off the modem, Wi-Fi/Bluetooth, microphone, rear camera, front camera, and headphone jack. No need to put a sticker over the selfie camera if you’re worried about malicious software — just flip the switch and never worry about it again…. For a $150 phone produced in limited batches by a company with no previous experience in the smartphone industry, I’m impressed it’s built as well as it is… I look forward to seeing what the community around the PinePhone can accomplish. A Pine64 blog post this weekend touts “a boat-load of cool and innovative things” being attempted by the PinePhone community, including users working on things like a fingerprint scanner or a thermal camera, plus a community that’s 3D-printing their own custom PinePhone cases. And Pine64 has now identified three candidates for a future keyboard option (each of which can be configured as either a slide-out or clamshell keyboard): I feel like we have finally gotten into a good production rhythm; it was only last month we announced the postmarketOS Community Edition of the PinePhone, and this month I am here to tell you that the factory will deliver the phones to us at the end of this month… I don’t know about you, but I think that this is a rather good production pace. At the time of writing, and based on current sale rates, the postmarketOS production-run will sell out in a matter of days… While I have no further announcements at this time, what I will say is that we have no intention of slowing down the pace now until February 2021 (when Chinese New Year begins)… Read more of this story at Slashdot.


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