On the matter of the proposed Pine64 mobile device (a potentially unpopular opinion)
Thank you for writing up for such a comprehensive critique. I feel like there are a few points which should be addressed at this stage; the first of which is the relationship to, and comparison with, the RPI Foundation. PINE64 is a company and community in its own right, with its own ideas and goals, most of which are different to those of RPI. We co-exist in the same marketspace, sure, but I wouldn’t necessarily say that we’re in a direct competition. If anything, I feel that PINE64 caters to a different audience in the same space. To this end, we are focusing on building our own niche in the market rather than trying to conquer theirs head-on; let users tied to other projects come and join us when they feel that they are ready for something different (I am also fully aware that most will never make the jump).   

I’ll try, to the best of my ability, address some of your key points pertaining to the PinePhone in detail:

  1. Of course the PinePhone will not be able to compete with your Pixel 2 in any respect. It won’t be as powerful, it won’t be as all-around capable and won’t take pictures that will awe you friends. I am also sure that it will not be as well built. But at no point did we intend to advertise the PinePhone as a substitute for those high-end devices either. It will, however, be a tinkerer’s and Linux enthusiast’s dream - or so we hope; it will be modular, hackable, upgradable and open.
  2. I am not the right person to address the financial side of things, but I wouldn’t worry about how this will device will influence our SBC’s. Just as an example, the Rock64 is getting a Rev 3 update soon (ayufan just got a sample), there is a new-and-improved Pine H64 (model B) on the way and TL will be looking into potential future SOCs for future boards. Do you feel that the Pinebook detracted - quality-wise - from the hardware development of the RockPro64 ? I don’t. I don’t think that the inclusion of the PinePhone will change anything SBC-wise.  
  3. Resources - as in man / dev hours - are a bit of a different story to money. As everyone knows we depend on the community and third-party projects / devs to deliver most of the software for PINE64 hardware. Going back to the example of the Pinebook - it brought in KDE devs who are now here to stay and are now porting Neon to the Rock/Pro64 from what I understand. In the same way, the PinePhone will bring in new devs who are interested in this niche linux filed… I wouldn’t worry about ayufan abandoning his minimal images for the sake of working on the phone. We’re currently talking to UBPorts and KDE guys and they seem happy to support it. Software-wise, I foresee that this will only diversify our dev pool.  
  4. We all want to see PINE64 succeed. It's worth remembering that there are both different paths to and measures of success. You may very well be correct that the PinePhone will not succeed, but it has already allowed us to establish contact with a dedicated team of devs and a brand new community. So, in a sense, it's already successful. I always think that building the projects capacity is its measure of success - more so than financial income or devices themselves.
I fully understand your scepticism, and hope that this and other projects will show that diversifying the PINE64 catalogue is only a good thing. Perhaps this is also the right time to mention that we have other side-projects that are not directly tied to SBCs - which have been worked on and developed for a long time. None of which have detracted from our SBCs or other platforms.

Great critique - thanks once again.
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Messages In This Thread
RE: On the matter of the proposed Pine64 mobile device (a potentially unpopular opinion) - by Luke - 10-24-2018, 08:26 AM

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