Software Development on Librem 5 and PinePhone Linux Phones is Progressing Nicely

Several Linux phones are expected this year including Purism Librem 5 and Pine64 PinePhone. Both companies have sent phone development kits out to developers a few months ago, and we are starting to see some nice progress for both phones.

What made me write this post is an update from Purism comparing the boot time on Librem 5 running PureOS Linux distribution without specific optimizations yet, and HTC One Android smartphone.

Librem 5 smartphone devkit takes 13 seconds to get to the lockscreen, while the Android phone takes over 40 seconds. Fair enough, most people won’t boot their phone often, but it still nice to know it won’t take long to turn on the phone from power off state.  They also posted a progress report at the end of May saying calls are now working with better audio quality, fixed various issue with messaging in Chatty, work on Linux mainline is going well with Linux 5.2 expected to work on the devkit, more documentation has been written, and more.

The Librem 5 smartphone is slated to start shipping in Q3 2019, and can be pre-ordered for $649 until the end of July after which prices will go up.

Linux Phones: PinePhone with LuneOS
LuneOS on PinePhone Development Kit – Click to Enlarge

If $650 is over your budget, PinePhone should be a good alternative going for less than $200 once it comes to market later this year. Developers working one the devkit are posting their progress on Twitter, YouTube, and other platforms.

Martijn Braam posted a photo of LuneOS on PinePhone devkit (above), while Christophe Chapuis uploaded a video showing the same OS with patched Mesa/Lima (open source graphics driver) for QtWebEngine.

Others are working on a port of SailfishOS for the PinePhone.

Сергей Чуплыгин recently uploaded a short video of Glacier UX, the user interface of Nemo project, running on PinePhone.

Other projects such as UBPorts are also being ported to the Linux phone. PinePhone’s target price is $150, and the first production batch is expected for Q4 2019. Pre-orders are not open yet.

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