In October 2018, when Lukasz Erecinski of Pine64 joined our Telegram group and announced that they would produce a phone and tablet, we would never have imagined how much we could rock the open source mobile operating system space in just 18 months. Since then, we've made friends with new projects and watched older ones become revitalized, used countless hours of debugging in human- and CPU-time, and gone through no less than six hardware revisions.
Today we're pleased to announce the first PinePhone 'Community Edition', which will ship with Ubuntu Touch pre-installed.
PinePhone UBports Community Edition
The PinePhone UBports 'Community Edition' is the culmination of all our work over the past 18 months, from the first laggy Unity8 [now Lomiri] demos on the 'Anakin' development unit, to fighting with the modem on the "Don't be Evil" prototype (turns out the SIM slot wasn't wired correctly), through to our work to make the 'Braveheart' units suitable for use by early adopters and enthusiasts.
The result is a phone open to modding by hackers, tinkerers, repairers, and yes, even people who just want to use a phone!
The device is available for pre-order from this page on the Pine64 Store for $150 plus shipping and handling (plus import charges if they are imposed in your jurisdiction). It is expected to ship in late May. In the event of changes to the shipping date, details will be posted on the Pine64 blog.
In comparison with the PinePhone 'Braveheart' devices which launched in 2019, the PinePhone UBports 'Community Edition' devices are distiguished by a new motherboard revision and a custom backplate bearing the UBports name and logo.
The Pine Store will donate $10 to the UBports Foundation for each PinePhone UBports 'Community Edition' device sold.
The Ubuntu Touch image that will ship on the PinePhone will be highly functional, but not necessarily 'daily driver'ready - depending of course on your requirements. It will support all core phone functionality, such as outgoing and incoming voice calls, SMS texts and LTE. In addition, it will have GPS location and GPU hardware acceleration for the system and its apps. That said, some features - notably camera support, battery life conservation and USB Host [that means plug and play for perhipherals such as mice] will still be under active development at the time of shipping.
Our Ubuntu Touch image for the PinePhone is improving on a weekly basis. To learn more about the current state of Ubuntu Touch for the PinePhone, see "What works, what doesn't" in our PinePhone project on GitLab.
Of course, if you'd like to try other compatible operating systems on your PinePhone 'Community Edition', it will boot from a MicroSD card flashed with that alternative system software.
The PinePhone sports a 5.95" 1440x720 display, a 5 megapixel rear camera, and a 2 megapixel selfie camera. It includes a 3.5mm headset jack (aka the 'Courage Port') and one USB Type-C port which is ready for power, data, and video out. It is powered by a quad-core Allwinner A64 System-On-Chip with a Mali 400-MP2 GPU, 2GB of RAM, and 16GB of storage. For network communication, it uses a 2.4Ghz Wi-Fi b/g/n adapter, has Bluetooth 4.0, and features a Quectel EG-25G LTE radio, which is compatible with many carriers worldwide. Full specifications can be found on the Pine64 PinePhone page.