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January 17, 2020.


PinePhone. © Pine64.

Have you had it with the Android/iOS duopoly? Here is the PinePhone, a device on which you can install your own Linux OS. The handset comes with no pre-installed system so users can flash their own OS. There are several available, from Ubuntu Touch to Sailfish OS, but they are all currently in an unfinished alpha state. Pine64 says that only enthusiasts with “extensive Linux experience” are the intended customers here – it’s not a mainstream product. Users looking for a stable, mainstream product will have to wait until the release of the final version, a few months from now. The PinePhone is powered by an Allwinner A64 SoC, which features four Cortex A53 CPUs at 1.2GHz. The device has 2GB of RAM, a Mali-400 GPU, 16GB of storage, and a removable 2750mAh battery. The display is a 1440×720 IPS LCD, the rear camera is 5MP and the front camera is 2MP. There’s a headphone jack, a USB-C port, and support for a MicroSD slot, which you can actually boot operating systems off of. The cellular modem is a large separate chip that is soldered onto the motherboard: a Quectel EG25-G. Available as of January 17 for USD150.

Ars Technica, Ron Amadeo, “The PinePhone starts shipping—a Linux-powered smartphone for $150.”