About a year after launching a crowdfunding campaign for a smartphone that would ship with a choice of a de-Googled version of Android or Ubuntu Touch software, the makers of the Volla Phone say production is underway, and the phone is on track to ship to backers in November.
The phone is still up for pre-order through Indiegogo for €359 (~$420) and you can choose whether it will ship with Ubuntu Touch or the Android-based Volla OS.
There’s also a community port of Sailfish OS for the phone, as well as a community-made multiboot tool called Android Boot Manager that allows you to boot an alternate operating system from an SD card.
In the latest update posted to the Volla Phone crowdfunding page, the developers say that the release candidate builds of Volla OS and Ubuntu Touch for the smartphone should be available next week.
In addition to shipping without proprietary Google apps and services, Volla OS has its own custom lock screen, launcher, fonts, sounds, and color scheme.
As for Ubuntu Touch, there’s now better support for the Volla Phone’s hardware, support for transferring files between a Volla Phone and a connected PC or Mac, and support for over-the-air updates (delivered via the Ubuntu Touch dev channel for now, but stable OTA updates should be available soon).
There are still some kinks to be worked out for the Ubuntu Touch builds for the Volla Phone:
- Switching from photo to video mode in the camera app causes it to freeze.
- Zooming in the camera app isn’t supported yet.
- You can’t make calls with a Bluetooth headset yet.
Here’s an overview of the Volla Phone’s specs:
|Display||6.3 inch with V-notch|
|Processor||MediaTek Helio P23|
8 x ARM Cortex-A53 CPU cores @ 2.3 GHz
Mali-G71 MP2 GPU @ 770 MHz
microSD (up to 256GB)
4G LTE Cat 6
Dual nano SIM
|Cameras||16MP + 2MP rear w/PDAF|
16MP MP front
9V/2A fast charging (wired)
|Hardware kill switches||No|
And you can see how the Volla Phone stacks up against other smartphones designed to run GNU/Linux distributions in our Linux Smartphone spec comparison page.