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.

Volla Phone
Left to right: Volla OS, Sailfish OS, Ubuntu Touch

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.

You can see the development team’s to do list at the Volla Ubuntu Touch issue tracker, or just check out the Hello Volla GitHub page for more details about all of the team’s software developments.

Here’s an overview of the Volla Phone’s specs:

Volla Phone
Display6.3  inch with V-notch
ProcessorMediaTek Helio P23
8 x ARM Cortex-A53 CPU cores @ 2.3 GHz
Mali-G71 MP2 GPU @ 770 MHz
RAM4GB
Storage64GB
microSD (up to 256GB)
WirelessDual-band WiFi
Bluetooth 4.2
GPS
4G LTE Cat 6
PortsUSB-C
3.5mm audio
Dual nano SIM
Cameras16MP + 2MP rear w/PDAF
16MP MP front
Battery5,000 mAh
9V/2A fast charging (wired)
Wireless charging
Sensors Fingerprint (rear)
Gravity
Proximity
Light
Geomagnetic
ButtonsPower
Volume
Hardware kill switchesNo
Dimensions???
Price€359 (~$420)

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.

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3 Comments

  1. Does the Volla phone work in the US on GSM networks (e.g., T-Mobile)? Do its Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GNSS also work in the US?

    1. Looks like it supports at least some T-Mobile and AT&T bands, and GPS should work in the US as well, although I don’t know if it’ll be fully supported by Ubuntu Touch at launch, or if you’ll need to use Android for the best support for all of the phone’s hardware. Here are the network bands supported : GSM / 2G: 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 MHz, UMTS / 3G: 900 / 2100 MHz, FDD / LTE / 4G: 800 / 850 / 900 / 1800 / 2100 / 2600 MHz

    2. P.S. And also, do its USB charging and wireless charging work in the US? Obviously the EU power supply will not work. Did I neglect any other functions?

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