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The PinePhone continues to evolve

December 25, 2020 — BarryK

I have been watching this project with interest, also Purism's Librem 5 phone, and have posted about them a few times, for example:

...that last link is a rather harsh evaluation by a hardware engineer, and it has proved to be true that the Librem 5 has struggled with battery life.

Manufacturers put a huge effort into extending battery life, and my Huawei phone is  a prime example. Even after all-day usage, it still has 70-80% charge left, and if just idle will last for -- well I don't know, probably weeks.

The PinePhone has enormous advantages for me, very cheap, and the modem has frequencies supported by the telcos in Australia.

A third advantage is the popularity of the PinePhone and the development going on in multiple fronts. See this blog post for recent development highlights:

...two items in that blog post stand out for me. Improvements to the modem power consumption, and the enthusiastic take-up of the i2c interface on the back of the phone.

Phones have the modem builtin to the SoC, and the Librem 5 and Pinephone separate modem, done for security reasons, has made reduction of power consumption a major challenge. So, the breakthrough with the PinePhone modem is very good news. Though, that new modem firmware might not be in shipped phones for awhile.

There is no other phone that I know of, that has an interface in the back, for adding custom devices. The i2c interface in the PinePhone has proved to be very popular and some great products are coming out.

Then there's the docking station. The phone is designed from scratch to work with the docking station, and this has always been one of the dreams of "convergence" -- have a docking station at home, with USB keyboard and mouse connected, and TV or monitor, plug in the phone, and you have a regular Linux-based PC.

So, you might have picked up from my positive statements that I like the PinePhone. Yeah, it is on the cards that I will buy one, but might wait until mid-2021 or thereabouts, to get the more refined iteration of the hardware design and more fully-functional software.  

Tags: tech