The PinePhone is a smartphone developed by Hong Kong-based computer manufacturer Pine64, intended to allow the user to have full control over the device. Measures to ensure this are: running mainline Linux-based mobile operating systems, assembling the phone with screws, simplifying the disassembly for repairs and upgrades, and providing six kill switches/security switches for components of its hardware. The PinePhone ships with the Manjaro Linux-based operating system using the Plasma Mobile graphic interface, although other distributions can be installed by users.

PinePhone Software

The PinePhone aims to be fully open source in its drivers and bootloader. Despite this, due to the scarcity of open source components for cellular and wireless connectivity, the firmware for the Realtek RTL8723CS WiFi/Bluetooth, as well as the optional auto-focus firmware for the OmniVision OV5640 back camera, remain proprietary software. In order to mitigate potential threats to privacy, these components communicate with the rest of the system only over serial protocols, such as USB 2.0, I2S and SDIO, which do not allow direct memory access (DMA). Use of these protocols also permits them to be physically disconnected via kill switches.[36]

In late 2020, Pine64 started an incentive called Nutcracker Challenge in order to encourage the development of open-source wireless networking on the BL602 WiFi and Bluetooth board.

Operating systems

The PinePhone relies completely on open-source operating systems developed by external communities, with only the flashing onto the phone done by Pine64 directly.[38] Because these community OS projects were involved in the development of the PinePhone, it has been ported to 19 Linux distros and 7 graphical user interfaces, as of August 2021,[39] such as Ubuntu Touch by UBports, postmarketOS, Mobian, LuneOS, Nemo Mobile and Maemo Leste, etc.

An unofficial porting project, GloDroid, has ported Android 11 to the PinePhone.

PinePhone Harware

PinePhone Hardware
  • CPU: Rockchip RK3399S 64bit SoC–2x A72 and 4x A53 CPU cores clocked at 1.5GHz
  • GPU: ARM quad-core Mali T860 running at 500MHz
  • Storage: 128GB eMMC flash and an optional micro SD card SDXC up to 2TB
  • Cameras: 13MP Sony IMX258 main camera with Gorilla Glass 4, 5MP OmniVision OV5640 front-facing camera
  • LCD: 6″ 1440 x 720 IPS display with Gorilla Glass 4
  • WiFi and Bluetooth: AMPAK AP6255 WiFi ac and Bluetooth 4.1
  • I/0: Mirco SD slot, Pogo-pins, USB type C, Audio jack (UART)
  • Sensors: Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Proximity, Compass, Ambient Light
  • Battery: 3000mAh (removable)

PINE64 has collaborated with Rockchip to provide the RK3399S, a tweaked version of the RK3399. Although this is the same SoC used in the PineBook Pro, the manufacturer had to limit its CPU performance to be roughly 20% slower for reasonable battery consumption and thermal limits.

The GPU is tuned to 500MHz by default to maintain a temperature of 140 degrees Fahrenheit (60 degrees Celsius) under non-artificial load. However, PINE64 has kept it unlocked to allow the community to experiment with the GPU.

One of the main features of the PinePhone Pro is its six privacy dip switches located at the back of the phone. The switches physically link to six modules (modem, WiFi/Bluetooth, microphone, rear camera, front camera, and headphones), which you can enable or disable to further increase your privacy with the already secure Linux phone.

The six pogo pins will also be available and compatible with the add-ons from the original PinePhone, such as the keyboard, Pinedio LoRa (a long range, low power wireless platform), fingerprint reader, and wireless charger.

Since the pogo pins support I2C serial communication, this allows users to attach and experiment with a wide range of I2C sensors and modules.


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