It’s been a busy week for PinePhone hardware and software developers. If you’ve been following LinuxSmartphone on Twitter you may have noticed that developers have made progress in making several different Linux distributions more usable, while other developers have been working to bring open source firmware to the PinePhone’s modem.
The PinePhone KDE Community Edition has also begun shipping recently, the Mobian Community Edition model is up for pre-order. And the official keyboard add-on is coming along nicely, as is the semi-official fingerprint reader accessory.
Here’s a roundup of recent developments in the PinePhone world:
- PinePhone fingerprint reader 2nd-gen prototype [u/zschroeder6212]
First revealed as a DIY project a few months ago, this fingerprint add-on for the PinePhone has turned into a partnership between the developer and Pine64. The latest version is a slimmer, cheaper, and more secure fingerprint reader. Eventually you may be able to buy a new back cover for the PinePhone from the Pine64 Store that has a fingerprint reader built in, and it looks like it may not be much thicker than the standard back cover, if it’s thicker at all.
- $8 PinePhone mciroSD card extension cable now available [Pine64 Store]
Shortly after announcing that you could now buy a pogo pin extender for the PinePhone for $1 that would let you access the pins with the phone’s back cover in place, Pine64 announced that there’s also an $8 microSD card extender that works similarly, allowing you to insert and remove microSD cards without removing the phone’s cover.
- PinePhone keyboard accessory layout revealed [@thepin64]
Speaking of PinePhone hardware add-ons, work continues on an official keyboard accessory. This drawing shows what the keyboard layout looks like after 6 different revisions and a lot of community feedback.
- One step closer to opening the PinePhone modem [@thepine64 / @biktorgj]
The PinePhone may be designed to run open source, GNU/Linux-based operating systems. But some firmware is still closed source. Developers have been making strides in cracking open the modem firmware though, which could allow users to run open source modem firmware eventually.
- Manjaro ARM Plasma Mobile beta 2 for the PinePhone [Manjaro]
Manjaro developers are cranking out new releases of their PinePhone-ready operating system so quickly I’m almost having a hard time keeping track. The latest beta of Manjaro with the Plasma Mobile user interface includes Linux kernel 5.10.7 with megi’s PinePhone optimizations and updated versions of KDE Frameworks, Plasma, Plasma Mobile, and the Megapixels app. There’s also a new release with the Phosh user interface, and a new version with the new version with the Lomiri UI as well.
- Getting Started with the KDE Community Edition PinePhone [LinMob]
The PinePhone KDE Community Edition with Manjaro and the Plasma Mobile user interface is now shipping to customers. LinMob’s article and video gives you an idea of what to expect when it arrives.
- A new OpenSUSE image for the pinePhone [OpenSUSE]
Manjaro isn’t the only PinePhone OS that’s seen updates in the past week. This new build of openSUSE brings a number of bug fixes as well as support for Anbox, which allows you to run some Android apps on devices running non-Android operating systems.
- OpenMandriva too [@ScardracS]
This is one of the newest Linux distributions to support the PinePhone. the link above is for a compressed version of the latest image, but you can also find downloads and more details at the projects SourceForge page.
We worked with the community on the #PinePhone‘s keyboard layout over the weekend. After some push and pull, and a total of 6 complete layout revisions, we arrived at a compromise that most ought to be happy with.
Thank you to all those who participated. pic.twitter.com/SkTRZ8YBdM
— PINE64 (@thepine64) January 18, 2021