The PinePhone is an inexpensive smartphone capable of running a variety of different Linux-based operating systems. But the folks at Pine64 have been partnering with developers to ship a series of Community Edition phones with a specific OS pre-installed, and a custom logo on the back of the phone.

Pine64 had previously offered PinePhone UBports (Ubuntu Touch) and postmarketOS Community Edition phones, and the company is currently shipping PinePhone Manjaro Community Edition phones to customers.

Up next? The PinePhone KDE Community Edition.

While the hardware is largely the same as the least few versions of the phone, the newest Community Edition will ship with the KDE Neon operating system featuring the Plasma Mobile user interface pre-installed, along with a small set of mobile apps including a file manager, web browser, weather, clock, calendar, SMS, and phone dialer apps, and of course a terminal emulator.

Pine64 will also donate a portion of revenue from sales of the phone to the KDE Plasma Mobile team.

I took a recent build of KDE Neon with Plasma Mobile for a spin on my PinePhone last week, and while performance is a little buggy at the moment, the UI is attractive and we’ll thought out. 

One thing I should point out is that the PinePhone is still very much a smartphone for tinkerers and Linux enthusiasts. Battery life isn’t great and some operating systems struggle with phone calls, text messages, and other basic functions. But software developers have been making rapid progress since Pine64 began shipping phones earlier this year, bringing improvements to power management, graphics, camera functionality, and more.

The KDE Plasma Mobile team has also been hard at work, and it’s possible that the PinePhone KDE Community Edition will ship with a version of Neon/Plasma Mobile that’s a little more polished than the recent nightly build I tested in the video above. And I’d expect things to get better over time through future software updates.

KWeather, AngelFish (web browser), Index (file manager)

As with any version of the PinePhone, if you’re not happy with the operating system that comes with the phone, you can always change it. There are already almost twenty different operating systems that will at least boot on the PinePhone. You can try them out by flashing them to a microSD card or use JumpDrive to flash them to internal storage to replace the OS that ships with your phone. 

The PinePhone KDE Community Edition goes up for pre-order December 1, and like the last few versions of the PinePhone, it will be available in two versions:

  • 2GB RAM/16GB storage for $149
  • 3GB RAM/32GB storage + convergence dock for $199

The convergence dock is a USB-C hub that allows you to connect a display, ethernet cable, and USB accessories to the PinePhone and use it like a desktop computer.

Since Plasma Mobile uses the Kirigami UI framework and Maui set of applications, it’s also designed for convergence – many applications are designed to scale according to screen size. That means you get a phone-sized, touch-friendly user interface when using an app on your phone, but connect an external display and apps will take advantage of the extra screen space to provide more information at a glance. 

VVAVE (music player)

You can find out more about the latest Community Edition PinePhone in a blog post from the KDE team, and in the Pine64 November update article.

Here are the key specs for the PinePhone: 

 PinePhonePinePhone Convergence Package
Display5.95 inch
1440 x 720 pixel
IPS LCD
5.95 inch
1440 x 720 pixel
IPS LCD
ProcessorAllwinner A64
4 x ARM Cortex-A53 Cores @ 1.2 GHz
Mali-400 MP2 graphics
Allwinner A64
4 x ARM Cortex-A53
Mali-400 MP2 graphics
RAM2GB LPDDR33GB LPDDR3
Storage16GB eMMC
microSD (up to 2TB)
32GB eMMC
microSD (up to 2TB)
WirelessWiFi 4
Bluetooth 4.0
GPS
4G LTE (Quectel E-25G)
WiFi 4
Bluetooth 4.0
GPS
4G LTE (Quectel E-25G)
PortsUSB-C
3.5mm audio
USB-C
3.5mm audio
Cameras5MP rear
2MP front
5MP rear
2MP front
Battery3,000 mAh (removable)3,000 mAh (removable)
Charging5V/3A5V/3A
Sensors Accelerator
Gyroscope
Proximity
Compass
Ambient Light
Barometer
Accelerator
Gyroscope
Proximity
Compass
Ambient Light
Barometer
ButtonsPower
Volume
Power
Volume
Hardware kill switchesModem
WiFi/Bluetooth
Microphone
Rear camera
Front camera
Headphone
Modem
WiFi/Bluetooth
Microphone
Rear camera
Front camera
Headphone
Dimensions160.5 x 76.6 x 9.2mm160.5 x 76.6 x 9.2mm
Weight180 – 200 grams180 – 200 grams
Included accessoriesN/AUSB-C dock
Price$149$199

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