Well, looks like my next phone doesn’t have to be on a Raspberry Pi.
Pine64 is making a Linux Phone kit:
Pine64, maker of cheap Linux laptops, may be making a cheap Linux phone
Which then points on to:
Pine64, the team behind the US$99 Pinebook, has announced it will begin working on a cheap Linux-based smartphone. Dubbed the PinePhone, the handset will be built around Pine’s low-spec, low-cost Pine A64 single-board computer. Designs haven’t been finalized, but dev kits are set to be released on November 1 with a projected device release date of mid-2019. The PinePhone is estimated to sell for US$100.
by Sam Medley, 2018/10/24
You might remember Pine64 as the manufacturer and retailer behind the Pinebook, a US$99 Linux-based laptop. The company is planning to continue its journey into the world of budget-tier Linux mobile devices by working on a smartphone, dubbed the PinePhone.
Like the cheap laptops Pine sells, the PinePhone isn’t likely to be a specs monster. According to the Pine team, they are planning on basing the PinePhone around their Pine A64 single-board computer. That means the PinePhone is likely to have a mere 2 GB of RAM and a quad-core ARM Cortex A53 SoC. The phone will also likely only have 16 GB of onboard storage.
Most of the details are still up in the air, especially concerning the final design. However, Pine64 is planning on releasing a dev kit for the phone on November 1. This will include the Pine A64 baseboard, an SOPine module, a 7-inch touchscreen, a camera, a WiFi/Bluetooth card, a battery case, and an LTE Cat4 USB dongle. The final device may use a 5.45-inch 1440×720 display, but since the design isn’t planned on being final until mid-2019, this could change. Considering Pine64 has close ties with KDE (the team behind the KDE Plasma desktop environment), it’s likely the PinePhone will run a version of KDE Plasma.
Pine64: added basic Devuan support
So can run Devuan… Nice.
I think I need to dip a toe in the Pine64 world and see where there be dragons…
There’s a Pi Zero based phone project, but it isn’t ready for prime time yet
This is a mobile phone that:
– First and foremost, will be a well-working reliable phone
– Is as open-source as possible *while also being cheap*
– Can be assembled and repaired independently
– Is easy to get parts for
– Doesn’t have apps with privacy concerns
– Allows to write your own apps in Python
It costs about 50$ in parts, and all the parts are available on eBay/TaoBao/etc, most of the phone can be assembled with just a soldering iron. User interface is written using Python
and is being morphed into a lightweight phone-tailored UI framework.
A crowdfunded manufacturing run is expected in a month – kits will be available, as well as a small batch of fully-assembled phones. Subscribe to newsletter below!
Then there’s the older R.Pi Phone:
Dave Hunt‘s been at it again. Here’s his latest: a home-made smartphone based around a Raspberry Pi. It’s smaller than many of the phones I’ve owned, and it’s cheaper than the phone that’s currently in my pocket, with a parts list coming in at only $158. The PiPhone is built entirely from off-the-shelf kit, so there’s no soldering required, and no fiddly electronics work. I’ll let Dave introduce it to you.
The PiPhone is a remarkably simple build, with a Sim900 GSM/GPRS module (which you can slip a SIM card into – you’ll still have to pay for your calls) talking to the network and doing the heavy communications lifting (making calls, and hanging up; sending texts and dealing with data); an on/off switch, a converter to make the LiPoly battery output 5 volts, and one of Adafruit’s tiny TFT monitors. You’ll find a typically thorough writeup on Dave’s website, with a parts list (he sourced everything from Adafruit and eBay), although he hasn’t uploaded the code, which he currently considers a bit hacky, to GitHub yet; please do, Dave, because we’d like to have a play! Dave’s now made the code available. Go and have a poke.
Decisions decisions… What with Christmas on the horizon I need to start thinking about what hints to drop on the family ;-)
It is also the case that my quasi Antique LG Flip Phone is starting to have issues with “coverage”. Some parts of the home have dropouts and some areas in Cupertino too. I suspect the telco is removing some of the older lower band antennas as they add newer higher band to their towers. The battery now also has trouble making it to the next day even just on standby. What are the odds I can buy a replacement battery (with form fitting shape that is the back of the phone…) for a 15? year old phone?
So a bit early to be making a decision at the moment. But soon.
I might just see if I can get one of the Pine64 Dev Kits. At $100 it isn’t too bad, I’d be happy to have bits on the desktop for a while or a “brick” sized finished product to play with, and the Pine64 as a compute board is something I’ve wondered about. Though I’m still a little “over committed” on tasks… but maybe by December I could be caught up ;-)
So, OK, that’s going to take a while…
I would suggest trying a Note 4 to start. You have used the other tablet iteration, so an easy migration.
Cell stuff is moving. We lost 2 and 3G service pretty much a year plus ago. So, ain’t no hiding from it any longer. Change is upon ya..
BTW, I still use a note 4.
Swappable batteries that are OEM cheap. 1 day, 1 battery or better with external charger. 30 second full charge with reboot/swap.
Memory, A large micro SD card slot for all camera, and offloaded apps if ya want.
IR blaster. Oh yeah, fun at sports bars and neighbors houses ;-)
It is not new, but has good processing power, comparably, for a phone.
The ultimate challenge with mobile stuff is when do you find digital demise?
The last breath is the last update……..
I just looked into the Phone Info for this LG Clout flip phone I have, and it says the Warranty Date Code is 11/14/2010, so this may have been activated November of 2009….
My brother went at me Hot & Heavy for quite a while, insisting that I simply *had* to move to a Smart Phone; I finally shut him down by threatening to get a separate account on Verizon…!
I suppose that they will eventually start shutting down the signals that this thing uses (which might be one cause for your limited battery life: “Searching For Service”).
Then I will be into one of their stores, in search of a newer, compatible flip-phone….
I refuse to “join the March of the Zombies,” as I see altogether too many otherwise-sensible people shambling along, obsessively thumbing their Devices!
Though, in passing, it is commendible that Pine plans to run their project on Devuan…
I have a dumb phone and it is usually turned off. I also refuse to join the “March of the Zombies.”
The one I have flips open sideways and has a miniature “real” keyboard inside. I’m fond of that… but getting to special characters is a bit odd as they are scattered on the other keys (not the usual number row) in odd places and hard to read very small orange type.
I’m pretty sure the battery life is mostly just age AND the fact that I sometimes forget to turn off bluetooth when I’m not on the headset. (bluetooth consumes a lot of power – perhaps more when constantly listening for a headset that’s been turned off…) It’s a LiPo battery and “good enough” for most of the time (a whole day if I’m not talking too much) but slow to charge which I’ve frequently forgotten to do…
There’s formal evidence that interacting with “smart phones” causes a mental dysfunctional state. I was astounded to hear a statistic that something like 70% of smartphone users check it before getting out of bed. That’s just crazy town.
I’ve got a Galaxy J3 Luna Pro from a burner phone supplier and I’m going to play with it a while to see what I really want. (I wanted to just get a sim card for my “lozenge phone” but to get one you must send them your ID information which kind of defeats the point of a “burner phone”, and they were sold out of the $19 flip phone, so for something like $59 I got the “smart phone” – and need to activate it some time…) So it will let me know what I think of the “flat thing stuck to my head” and typing on a plate of glass…
I’m very uncomfortable with Android. It’s likely quite secure, but from what I’ve seen on my old tablet, it tries to get all the information about you it can, and send it off to Google and Apps providers, at every turn. I deliberately got a tablet without a “radio” in it (no phone module) just to limit that – I can turn off WiFi easily and it doesn’t have any “identity” on the device unless I give it one with an email account ( I had one for watching DirecTV on it, added about 3 years ago, but the DirecTV account is now defunct – I probably ought to purge it now… but I’m likely to deprecate the tablet soon. Ever more apps “don’t work on this device, please upgrade”… Even the browser choices are reaching EOL.
So one “possible” is a smart phone to replace both phone and tablet. But at the loss of yet more privacy.
I’d really really really rather not “go there”. I’d rather have a Linux base where I can go in and lock down / shut off things and actively prevent snooping. The commercial offerings are not there yet, and the DIY is a bit kludgey, but someone has to take the first steps…
I’m pretty sure 2G is gone (analog left a while ago – it was useful out in the boonies 40 miles from anywhere… Oh Well…). This phone is, I think, 3G and the drops are likely from withdrawal of 3G antennas – I still get “digital text” service, so 4G text is, I think, inside it’s abilities?
I’m not sure Pine is going to run the phone on Devuan, just that Devuan has been ported to Pine64. It might be a DIY conversion to move the phone to Devuan… Needs some digging to find out.
I’ll resort to a new flip-phone if I can’t fid a way to make / buy a secure & privacy friendly “smart phone”.
As the Mac has the key caps wearing through ( A S D K L E I O C N are already just white blobs and the fingernails are starting to catch in grooves in a couple of them… good thing I touch type ;-) but the speed and volume seems to have tickled a weakness in the Mac Keyboard…) and it’s running off a min-SD card (since the SSD died – which is why it was given to me…) and that’s slow at times: I’m also in the market for a replacement light weight laptop. Trying to decide if it will be a ChromeBook converted to Linux (there’s an ASUS model, IIRC, that has a Devuan port) or maybe one of those Pine64 “PineBook” machines.
The MacOS is nice and all, and things do “just work”, but it is a bit like life inside a very comfortable straight jacket… The OS for this one is a few years backdated and it can’t be updated – and it “only” has 2 GB of memory (GAK! That ought to run ANYTHING you need…); so it’s at EOL on all of: Hardware, memory, OS, keyboard, applications…. and the power brick has had the rubber sheath fray near the attachment to the computer, so those wire bits likely to “go” at some point.
Part of the question then becomes: How many of the 3 functions I’m using on 3 devices get collapsed onto one device “going forward”? Can I assure enough isolation between those functions to assure no information bleed?
Tablet: Browsing on the road. Light weight and very portable mostly output device, very limited typing with no connection to the outside world other than WiFi and no private information (PII – phone number, address, name, email, etc.)
Laptop: Mostly used for blog posting and R&D for stories (browsing, saving text and images). No PII. Sporadic use of a particular browser for online financials when “on the road”.
Phone: Phone, text messages. Nothing else.
As all three present devices are EOL by the makers the timers are running. With a Linux I’m pretty sure I can replace the Tablet & Laptop with one device. (PineBook or ChromeBook/Linux) but the phone integration would make me nervous… I’d look for hard physical switches on camera, microphone, WiFi, telephone-radio…
Yeah, I regularly collect “complaints” from family and friends about how often mine is turned off / not on my person / not answered instantly…
To some extent the battery is a convenient excuse. “Oh, down to one Pip, need to go and find my charger”… I now, very conveniently, tends to go to 1 or 2 pips after just 5 minutes or so of active talking. Hang up, it recovers a couple ;-)
IF I get a real “smart phone” then folks are going to “expect at me” about it… Sigh.
Well, it looks like the personal tech issue is going to hit convergence for me about December. We’ll see where it ends up. Things are getting cheap enough now that I might just get both a PineBook and a ChromeBook and do an evaluation of them. IF the PineBook was usable enough, then the PinePhone ought to be fine too.
I could also see just going ahead and making the (very cheap!) Raspberry Pi phone for giggles and putting it in a “lunch box” using the BlueTooth headset as the thing I’d actually talk on. I want to have a “lunch box” portal that I use between my “portable compute devices” and the free WiFi internet anyway… (MY DNS filtering, encrypting VPN out the public WiFi, my private WiFi to my private device – well protected, proxy server, IDS / IPS, etc.) It would be reasonable to put an IP phone on it as well, and at that point why not include the real telco radio phone? It would be a very locked down bit of kit… Just the workload to make it that’s an issue…
Not enough play time in the week to do all of it, so I need to ration time to only what is highly likely to be a good path.
So not quite prime time yet (old kernel w/ issues & difficult build) but maybe soon for 4.19 build.
So close, then they screw the pooch with over the top zealotry about open software. I’d buy one and do the install NOW if it was possible to choose to use the built in hardware. Sticking two dongles into it just to use it is a kill deal for me.
looks like video acceleration is turned off as well:
Not clear if there’s a more ‘generic’ Devuan that isn’t so zeal ridden… There is an OS that is aimed directly at the Chromebook, but likely has SystemD (being based on Xubuntu)
OK… so “more digging needed”. There’s a way to leave the ChromeOS installed and run a guest Linux (Crouton) which might be “good enough”. It depends on Google not being evil with Crouton (facts not in evidence, but not dis-proven either…). It is a chroot on top of ChromeOS, so all the data leakage about “that you are up, running, and who you are” are likely still there in ChromeOS. I suppose if you configure the Chrome side to be bogus ID it’s not too bad…
So still a ways to go for that Devuan Laptop on the cheap.
As is often the case, there’s more behind the scenes:
So lots of other releases available, including Armbian, that I’m already running as a “Devuan uplift” modification. Then they have the video driver available so you can get past that zealotry issue.
Though some releases only boot from the micro-SD card… but I’m OK with that as it is to some extent a ‘feature’ that you can “yank and go” the whole OS and all your files if there’s a sudden crash at the front door…. or “men in suites” enter the cafe and look at you…
So, with Arbrian / Devuan (ARMDuan) available, I’m leaning much more toward a Pinebook ‘now’ and then keeping an eye on the PinePhone as I explore things.
It would quite definitely be a suitable replacement for both the Mac (running from a micro-SD anyway) and the Tablet (an ARM based device anyway…). Plus I can be sure it isn’t “Chrome compromised” and no money goes to Google…
Looks like a (cheap) plan ;-)
OMG, their store is full of interesting and strange things, including an aluminum waterproof enclosure. Wonder what that’s for ;-)
https://www.pine64.org/?product=pinebook $99 but with caveats:
OK… so not something I’m going to just “click and buy” today… A bunch of email this, get that, then do??? Sigh. Guess for $99 and no profit to them, they can afford to be “customer hostile”…
For $80 more (and no shipping) I can pick up an ASUS Chromebook at Walmart today…
I think I’ll jest stay on the Mac and LG Flip for a few more months…