PinePhone “Community Edition: UBports” Linux Phone Launched with Ubuntu Touch

PinePhone Community Edition UBports

PinePhone “BraveHeat” Limited Edition Linux smartphone launched last November as promised for $149.99. As the codename implied, it was for the enthusiasts as the phones that were part of that product batch may have had some defects, and came without an operating system, meaning the users had to flash the firmware themselves. But there’s now a new edition, namely PinePhone “Community Edition: UBports” pre-loaded with UBports with Ubuntu Touch featuring Lomiri user interface. The specifications are exactly the same with an Allwinner A64 quad-core Cortex-A53 processor, 2GB RAM, 16GB eMMC flash, a 5.95″ display with 1440×720 resolution, and 4G LTE cellular connectivity. The only difference is that Ubuntu Touch is preloaded to the device, and the back of the phone should have a marking showing you purchased UBports Edition. What should be noted is that it’s still not considered as a consumer device, as UBports is still beta, and the phone is primarily aimed at UBports community members who can …

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Select a Geiger Counter for your Phone to Survive the next Nuclear Catastrophe

geiger counter smartphone

It’s time to prepare! No, not for that COVID-19 thingie, it’s too late, but since 2020 has not started the best way we should prepare for all eventualities. It all started badly as I fell off my bicycle on New Year’s eve, and it went south from there, from talks of world war three in January, to the thread of a virus pandemic that could kill millions worldwide, to the start of the first global great depression. 2020 will be the “year of doom“, and we should expect massive earthquakes,  once in a hundred-year megatsunami what will wipe entire cities, gigantic locust swarms in southern Europe, climate change induces, and leading famine, a couple of large asteroids hitting the hearth, and so on. But we should not forget the nuclear threat either via nuclear war or damaged nuclear reactors following natural disasters or terrorist attacks. One way to protect yourself and your family is to check the level of variation …

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HiSilicon Kirin 820 5G Platform Targets Mid-Range 5G Smartphones

Kirin 820 5G SoC

5G connectivity used to be only found in premium smartphones, but there’s now been several 5G SoC introduced for mid-range 5G smartphones including Qualcomm Snapdragon 765/765G and MediaTek Dimensity 800. Huawei now has its own as the company’s unveiled Hisilicon Kirin 820 5G platform found in its latest Honor 30S at a launch event in China. Hisilicon Kirin 820 5G  key features and specifications: CPU – 1x Cortex-A76 @ 2.36 GHz, 3x Cortex-A73 @ 2.22 GHz, 4x Cortex-A55 @ 1.84 GHz GPU- Arm Mali-G57 GPU (6 cores) with GPU Turbo and Kirin Gaming+ 2.0 NPU – 1-big Core ISP – Kirin ISP 5.0 with BM3D SLR image noise reduction, video dual-domain noise reduction, and support for 4K video capture at 60fps. Cellular Connectivity 2G/3G/4G/5G modem Dual-mode SA/NSA 5G Process – 7nm The new processor extracts 27% extra CPU performance compared to Kirin 810, a 38% graphics performance boost over Mali-G52 GPU, and a 73% AI performance improvement. That’s about all …

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Astro Slide 5G Transformer Smartphone Comes with a Slide-out Keyboard, MediaTek Dimensity 1000 SoC (Crowdfunding)

Astro Slide 5G Transformer

Planet Computers has introduced several smartphones with physical keyboards over the last few years including Gemini PDA and Cosmo Communicator with the later recently received its promised Debian Linux images besides just running Android 9.0. The company is now back with the new model. Powered by a MediaTek Dimensity 1000 processor, Astro Slide 5G Transformer supports 5G connectivity and comes with a slide-out keyboard following on the steps of the company’s previous smartphones. Astro Slide 5G Transformer preliminary hardware specifications: SoC- MediaTek Dimensity 1000 (MT6889)octa-core processor with 4x Arm Cortex-A77 cores @ 2.6 GHz, 4x Arm Cortex-A55 CPU efficient cores @ 2.0 GHz, Arm Mali-G77 GPU, 4.5 TOPS APU 3.0 AI accelerator / NPU System Memory – At least 6GB LPDD4x RAM Storage – 128 GB flash, MicroSD card slot Display – 6.53″ touchscreen display with 2340×1080 resolution, scratch-resistant glass Camera – 48MP rear camera with flash, 5.0MP front-facing camera Audio – Stereo speakers,  integrated ambient microphone, 3.5mm audio jack …

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Can You Clean Your Smartphone Off Bacteria and Viruses with a $23 UV Disinfection Box?

UV Light Disinfection Box

This morning, as I browsed the web looking for products or other news, I found out that Banggood was selling a $23 UV sterilizer disinfection box that can clean & disinfect your smartphone, and other small items like surgical masks, using 3-minute of exposure to ultraviolet light. I suppose it showed up in the new arrival feed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and a relevant entry on Wikipedia states that UV light can kill bacteria and viruses since it destroys DNA and RMA. It works on humans too, and when I say work, it means humans should not subject themselves to strong UV light since it will damage their DNA too. An article on Digital Trends mentions that while there aren’t many studies about the UV light effect on SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing COVID-19, it’s been shown to be effective against the similar SARS and MERS viruses, and hospitals are using robots zapping UV light to disinfect hospital rooms while …

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Android 10 on Xiaomi Mi A2 (Lite) or When Firmware Updates Go Wrong

Xiaomi Mi A2 Android 10

I’ve been using Xiaomi Mi A2 smartphone since December 2018. At the time, it shipped with Android 8.0, but I soon got an update to Android 8.1, and later to Android 9.0. I’m quite satisfied with the phone as it receives (almost) monthly security updates, works reasonably faster, features a decent camera, and overall does the job. The biggest complaint I have so far is about storage. It comes with 32GB eMMC flash and no MicroSD card slot, and it’s constantly full, so I have to clear the cache often, and sometimes I need to uninstall an app and reinstall it in order to install an update. Sometimes in January, I got a notification about Android 10 updates, but since I was out of space, I only installed it late February after some serious storage cleaning… The update went smoothly, and after some adjustment to the settings I was back to a usable phone, but I soon noticed a warming …

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What’s the Cheapest Android Phone with NFC Support?

Cheap Android Phone NFC

I have an Octopus payment card from Hong Kong using NFC technology, and I’d like to check its status, and if needed top it up to keep it valid. One way to do so is to install the Android app on an NFC enabled smartphone. However, none of my phones, including my current Xiaomi Mi A2 smartphone, support NFC. So I’d decided to look for the cheapest Android phone with NFC support that I could find since that’s the only feature I need, and the app is compatible with Android 4.0 or greater for now. Wileyfox Swift 2X – $75.90 I first went to GearBest to check out for NFC phones, as the cheapest one of the lot is Wileyfox Swift 2X going for $75.90 shipped. The phone runs Android 8.1 on a Snapdragon 430 processor coupled with 3GB RAM and 32GB storage. It is equipped with a 5.2″ Full HD display, supports 4G LTE Dual SIM, and comes with …

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Cosmo Communicator 2-in-1 Phone/Mini Laptop can now Dual Boot Debian Linux and Android

Linux on Cosmo Communicator

The Cosmo Communicator The Cosmo Communicator was released as a crowdfunded handheld device mixing smartphone and a small laptop features such as keyboard and display. It was launched in late 2019 and ran Google Android. Didn’t Ship with Linux Support The original units were shipped and fulfilled the requirements of the crowdfunding campaign, but still were missing something the company had wanted to provide: support for Linux. Debian Linux Support This is now fixed as Planet Computers, the company that makes Cosmo Communicator, just released a version of Debian Linux, that can be installed on the system, with the tools that the company has provided for free on its website. Other Linux Phones There has been some movement in the world of Linux Phones, with the advent of the Purism Librem 5 and the Pine64 PinePhone using the familiar touchscreen interface found in the vast majority of smartphones. Quick Basics The system is equipped with a MediaTek Helio P70, 6 …

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