FOSDEM 19 Announcements Discussion
(02-25-2019, 11:36 AM)vg8020 Wrote: I hadn't given much thought to the mobile phone, sorry. But reading the lastest posts, I wonder, what "Play store" would apps come from? My assumption is that relying on Linux/Ubuntu, apps should be expected to care more about privacy issues. I assume I may be wrong, though.

Ubuntu touch uses https://open-store.io/
At first, I was really only interested in the Pinebook Pro, but that phone makes me want one to tinker with!

I'm hoping to figure out a way to get Antergos running on the Pinebook Pro. Maybe even see how RetroArch runs on it. My current laptop is an original Samsung Series 9 ultrabook from 2011 with Antergos loaded. It does OK, but the battery has seen better days. I am looking forward to trying out an ARM-based system!
Will the Pinebook Pro have a matte or a glossy display?
For me there are just a few things that really matter in a notebook:
  • 14" size
  • matte display
  • good keyboard
This is why all my notebook, so far, have been T series ThinkPads.

Searching for a notebook that is less powerful and cheaper the Pinebook Pro looks really appealing. But I am wondering if the specs of the keyboard are already known?! I mean I do not care much about LEDs under it and clearly there is no use for a num pad, particularly on a 14" notebook. I am talking simply about deep key travel, high actuation force and good feedback.
I see that others are concerned as well. (link link2)
And in particular, it seems there were bad experiences with the non-Pro predecessor notebook. (link)

Can anyone clarify?

Also what is the status of the Pinebook Pro development? What work needs still to be done before it is going to production? Is there a roadmap?
(02-26-2019, 06:52 PM)Firestorm Wrote: For me there are just a few things that really matter in a notebook:
  • 14" size
  • matte display
  • good keyboard
This is why all my notebook, so far, have been T series ThinkPads.

Searching for a notebook that is less powerful and cheaper the Pinebook Pro looks really appealing. But I am wondering if the specs of the keyboard are already known?! I mean I do not care much about LEDs under it and clearly there is no use for a num pad, particularly on a 14" notebook. I am talking simply about deep key travel, high actuation force and good feedback.
I see that others are concerned as well. (link link2)
And in particular, it seems there were bad experiences with the non-Pro predecessor notebook. (link)

Can anyone clarify?

Also what is the status of the Pinebook Pro development? What work needs still to be done before it is going to production? Is there a roadmap?

Pretty sure that the display will be matte. The keyboard problems have been resolved.
Development for the Pinebook Pro is really down to dts at this point and porting of OS' - key devs getting their samples very soon.
You can find me on IRC, Discord and Twitter


That is great news Luke. Looking. Forward to the rollout.
The prospect of an affordable, non-android-and-vendor-crapware-laden phone is exciting (the only thing I'd miss would be google maps/waze). 

Is there any idea at this time about what US carriers the Pine Phone is likely to be compatible with and accepted by?  Other than some very old knowledge about GSM vs CDMA networks, I'm pretty much clueless (the most "advanced" thing I've done involving cell phones in the last decade was swapping out SIMs to switch from Verizon to StraightTalk...).

Here are some of the questions/suggestions that have come to mind since I first read the FOSDEM post.  Presented for your amusement:

- How easy will it be to replace major components (at least the screen and main logic board)?  Are there plans to offer repair components?

- Is tethering a part of the design (or is this really just a software issue?).  I would love to have a tethering phone with one of the pure pay-for-the-data-you-use  virtual carriers like Ting.  Will the USB port act as a host port as well as a device port?

- Are there plans for "hackability" or user modifications? Since there is mention of the back panel being removable to access the battery/sim/microsd/switches, I'm thinking along the lines of other expansion options  that might be exposed (at the cost of the modder having to make a new back panel to bring these things out):

-- An external antenna port?

-- Bring I/O lines that aren't required for the phone out to some kind of expansion header (or just pads that could be used with pogo-pins).  Perhaps there is a USB port, some GPIO/I2C/SPI or serial port available?  

-- A secondary power connector? Would that even be useful? 

-- If there were the possibility of user modifications, is there space anywhere to allow screws to secure these hypothetical modified back panels. You know, because there so much unused board space in a cell phone...

...Or would it make more sense to forget the phone as a target of hacking and say those kinds of things would be better suited to something like a Sopine module hooked up to the cellular board like with the the dev board configuration?  Which begs the next question, will cellular boards be offered?

Thoughts?  Ridicule?  Taunts?
(03-02-2019, 01:35 AM)wood Wrote: Is there any idea at this time about what US carriers the Pine Phone is likely to be compatible with and accepted by?  Other than some very old knowledge about GSM vs CDMA networks, I'm pretty much clueless (the most "advanced" thing I've done involving cell phones in the last decade was swapping out SIMs to switch from Verizon to StraightTalk...).

4G bands are a mess, EC-25 chip bands can be seen here and EG25-G here

The only variant that covers all US bands is the EC25-AF, the EG25-G covers some of the US bands and most of the bands used in most of the world.

Quote:- How easy will it be to replace major components (at least the screen and main logic board)?  Are there plans to offer repair components?

tllim said on IRC that the pinephone is designed to be easy to repair.

Quote:- Is tethering a part of the design (or is this really just a software issue?).  I would love to have a tethering phone with one of the pure pay-for-the-data-you-use  virtual carriers like Ting.  Will the USB port act as a host port as well as a device port?

That's an OS/software thing.
I think I'm starting to see some of the errors in my reasoning: A phone serves a "mission critical" function (communications), trying to add other features would result in a less reliable platform.  In retrospect, adding GPIO outputs (for example) exposes the device to potentially damaging conditions.  If needed at all, that kind of stuff is better served by using  a USB device to allow better isolation of the signals from the phone hardware. 

A modular phone is an alluring idea, but carries too many expenses/risks.  The original Phoneblocks concept had promise, until Google Ara demonstrated how it shouldn't be done...  The balance between modularity, cost, performance, reliability and supportability is crazy hard.

I do, however, still think a dedicated USB host port and support for an external antenna would useful.  Whether it would be useful enough for enough users to warrant the effort and cost is another question.
(03-02-2019, 02:58 PM)wood Wrote: I think I'm starting to see some of the errors in my reasoning: A phone serves a "mission critical" function (communications), trying to add other features would result in a less reliable platform.  In retrospect, adding GPIO outputs (for example) exposes the device to potentially damaging conditions.  If needed at all, that kind of stuff is better served by using  a USB device to allow better isolation of the signals from the phone hardware. 

A modular phone is an alluring idea, but carries too many expenses/risks.  The original Phoneblocks concept had promise, until Google Ara demonstrated how it shouldn't be done...  The balance between modularity, cost, performance, reliability and supportability is crazy hard.

I do, however, still think a dedicated USB host port and support for an external antenna would useful.  Whether it would be useful enough for enough users to warrant the effort and cost is another question.

Bottom line is that phones are not easy. The more complex a phone the more things you need to accommodate and plan for. For a first, security oriented, Linux (and *BSD!) phone from PINE64 its quite important to keep it a relatively simple device, which delivers in the few key aspects you'd want/ expect it to.
You can find me on IRC, Discord and Twitter




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