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Old 07-27-2021, 05:24 AM   #16
ondoho
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Quote:
Originally Posted by obobskivich View Post
Can you 'fill me in' on the Librem 5? I remember hearing about those years ago but thought they died in development hell years ago too...
I wrote about it several times, I think the first time was here:
https://talk.maemo.org/showpost.php?...&postcount=695
Subsequently:
https://talk.maemo.org/showpost.php?...&postcount=718
https://talk.maemo.org/showpost.php?...&postcount=783

You really need to read this trilogy.

There was also an extremely cringeworthy YT video where Todd Weaver visits his biggest fanboy with a prototype that looks like he assembled it at home (not joking - and that's after years of development) and then took it back away with him when he left. It reports so many flaws, soft- and hardware, but this fanboy gobbles it all up and is so"excited" and happy!
At this point the PinePhone had already overtaken the Librem5.
Some time later the fanboy did another video comparing PinePhone to Librem5, and he was much more realistic about it, even acknowledging that Librem5 may have failed and that the PinePhone might actually be the better device. Not to the point of dissing Daddy Weaver's project, but still. Sorry, I can't find irt right now... I'm sure I put the link up somewhere here on LQ.

edit: no, it's not dead but PinePhone made it the laughing stock of FLOSS phone development...

Quote:
Originally Posted by jmgibson1981 View Post
I think it's a great idea. I also think that it won't last, or at the very least won't be any kind of big thing.
"Big thing" is relative, of course, but pine64 have been doing what they're doing for a long while now, apparently they have a viable business model, there's never been any kind of rip-off afaik, and they're also doing something right as far as the community is concerned - more and more devs are turning to the PinePhone (and have been for years! I've been following). Plus, the beauty of F(L)OSS - they can build and mix with other projects, like Purism's efforts for a mobile OS.
No, I'm sure the PinePhone is right, working already, getting better.
But yeah, obviously this sort of project will never replace buy-and-ready-to-use smartphones.

Last edited by ondoho; 07-27-2021 at 05:25 AM.
 
Old 10-15-2021, 06:21 PM   #17
Mill J
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Looks like Pine64 is planning to really make serious competition for the Librem 5 with the upcoming ~$400usd PinePhone Pro. A hexacore soc with 128gb internal storage and 4gb lpddr4 ram. Would be cool if you could just drop the updated mainboard in in the regular PinePhone but I'm guessing that's asking too much for all the changes that were made. They say they will still make the regular PinePhone for quite some time and all the cool upcoming backcovers work on both. https://www.pine64.org/2021/10/15/oc...pinephone-pro/
 
Old 10-15-2021, 07:11 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mill J View Post
Would be cool if you could just drop the updated mainboard in in the regular PinePhone but I'm guessing that's asking too much for all the changes that were made.
This is in their FAQ for the Pro on its developer page, and their official answer is "probably not" - the mainboards are mechanically compatible, but the Pro's screen, cameras, etc are said to be different, not physically fit in the original body, and the original's screen/cameras/etc are not supported by the Pro currently (and likely ever). Then again - it is a FOSS project, so maybe someone will take it upon themselves to try, but my guess is not, since some of the biggest shortcomings of the original were the cameras, so just upgrading all of that is probably more appealing. What I'm more curious about is what this means for software support - are they just blazing ahead with more hardware, or is there increasing buy-in from developers or publishers to justify this?
 
Old 10-15-2021, 07:25 PM   #19
Mill J
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Quote:
Originally Posted by obobskivich View Post
Then again - it is a FOSS project, so maybe someone will take it upon themselves to try, but my guess is not, since some of the biggest shortcomings of the original were the cameras, so just upgrading all of that is probably more appealing. What I'm more curious about is what this means for software support - are they just blazing ahead with more hardware, or is there increasing buy-in from developers or publishers to justify this?
The 5mp camera of the regular PinePhone was also the limit for that particular soc. With the upgraded soc, a 13mp becomes possible. Probably the biggest gripe I heard with the PinePhone low specs. Too many people just can't stand getting a low powered device. Many were waiting for the upgrade. There will definitely be a market for the Pro. Not only does it pass the Librem5 in specs it's less than half the price. At the same time the regular PinePhone still has the same price and specs for tinkerers like me who don't care about getting the latest, latest max, ultra...
 
Old 10-16-2021, 01:28 AM   #20
ondoho
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I need to ask - I recently heard in a podcast that the PinePhone still isn't able to (reliably) make/take phonecalls/SMS - the podcaster tried with 2 diff. OS iirc, something that ends in -bian, and Manjaro. Any experience (I know, I have asked this question a dozen times already)? Differences between EU/UK/USA (I think the podcaster is in the UK)?

Quote:
Originally Posted by obobskivich View Post
What I'm more curious about is what this means for software support - are they just blazing ahead with more hardware, or is there increasing buy-in from developers or publishers to justify this?
Traditionally, Pine64 are doing just that: release the hardware (and I guess all required data along with development boards) first and hope the community comes along with the OS. It has worked fairly well so far.
They never make empty promises about the OS, and they only start building the next batch once they have enough pre-orders.
As a business model, it seems to work, and I find it refreshingly transparent & honest.
 
Old 10-16-2021, 09:16 AM   #21
Mill J
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ondoho View Post
I need to ask - I recently heard in a podcast that the PinePhone still isn't able to (reliably) make/take phonecalls/SMS - the podcaster tried with 2 diff. OS iirc, something that ends in -bian, and Manjaro. Any experience (I know, I have asked this question a dozen times already)? Differences between EU/UK/USA (I think the podcaster is in the UK)?
The development of linux mobile is like a roller coaster ride. The modem reliability has improved tremendously, it's not uncommon to hear guys on the chat say they daily drive it, but any update has the potential to break calls, sms, etc. Cell service is really, really crappy where I live, even for an android phone, so I can't really give an honest reliability rating. I simply don't know what's the phone or the lack of service.

I noticed the Pro version had the same modem. Some people say flashing the open-source firmware helps and there has been a lot of work done on the OS side as well. I'm guessing the modem being on a usb connection vs integrated into the soc is what makes it more difficult to iron out every scenario since the modem has no clue what the main CPU/OS are up too.
 
Old 10-16-2021, 08:54 PM   #22
obobskivich
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ondoho View Post
I need to ask - I recently heard in a podcast that the PinePhone still isn't able to (reliably) make/take phonecalls/SMS - the podcaster tried with 2 diff. OS iirc, something that ends in -bian, and Manjaro. Any experience (I know, I have asked this question a dozen times already)? Differences between EU/UK/USA (I think the podcaster is in the UK)?
SMS is very limited - in my experience (all in Manjaro) messages may be delayed for significant periods of time (can be up to dates), the 'notifications' pop-up will not clear unless you explicitly open that 'app' separate from opening the messages, ditto for phone calls. It will also randomly CTR when trying to interact with SMS (sending, receiving, etc). Receiving and making phone calls is very sensitive to signal strength, and calls frequently fail to complete when dialed. As I've said in the past: it's a nice touchscreen PC with marginal 'phone like' capabilities, not a full-fledged iPhone replacement. The updates since getting the device (I got one of the 'Manjaro edition' ones relatively early on) to now-ish did improve this somewhat, but it's still very limited compared to a modern Android/iPhone or even my recollection of the experience on BlackBerry or older Android devices. As far as I know, MMS is still fully unsupported, and accessing various messaging services or similar things (even those which support browser-based usage, or officially support linux, etc - like Matrix) is often usually touchy, and may lead to crashes or the performance is just unusable.

Also note that some carriers (at least in the US) are dumping 'legacy' 3G/4G devices, which will impact Pinephone network compatibility (I don't know if this will be the case with the Pro or not).

Quote:
Traditionally, Pine64 are doing just that: release the hardware (and I guess all required data along with development boards) first and hope the community comes along with the OS. It has worked fairly well so far.
They never make empty promises about the OS, and they only start building the next batch once they have enough pre-orders.
As a business model, it seems to work, and I find it refreshingly transparent & honest.
Honestly I don't think PinePhone as a device has 'come along' as rapidly or as completely as they hoped - as an SBC or a laptop/tablet device I completely get it, and I imagine the PineBook runs just fine, but the support for modem/'mobile device' functionailty on PinePhone still feels like a bad hack compared to where other mobile phones are today, and that has not really improved in the last year. Throwing more CPU power, a better camera, etc at it doesn't really solve that issue.

Also remember that this very much is just "throw ARM linux on a mobile form factor device" - there's a lot of quality of life things that would never pass QC from Google or Apple. My 'favorite' such bug is: if you change the login password to an alpha-numeric string (as opposed to just numbers) you will be locked out of the device until you connect a USB keyboard, because the on-screen 'keyboard' at login is numbers-only (and any mechanism to change that requires being logged in...). Really simple things like that ruin the device (in my view) for real mobile use: you aren't always sitting at a desk, with your laptop there to google problems, and a spare keyboard, cradle, power cable, etc. It also takes updates just like a desktop rolling distro linux machine, so expect significant data usage and constant (as in at least weekly) updating.

Overall it isn't a 'bad' concept, but as an ecosystem, or as a user experience, it's still probably a decade from where commercial competition is at right now - if this was still 2009 or 2010 it'd feel slick for sure.
 
Old 10-16-2021, 09:25 PM   #23
enorbet
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Here's a review that explores the considerable impact various distros have on performance... some are quite good.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fCKMxzz9cjs
 
Old 10-17-2021, 04:09 AM   #24
ondoho
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^ I think I've already seen this video a long time ago.

Thanks Mill J & obobskivich for a detailed report.

Developing an OS is just so much more work than writing code.

I guess it comes down to these 2 things:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mill J View Post
any update has the potential to break calls, sms, etc.
Quote:
Originally Posted by obobskivich View Post
there's a lot of quality of life things that would never pass QC from Google or Apple.
  • a release model would be required for maximum stability - currently, all OS updates seem to be "testing"
  • obviously there's not much QC at all atm - that would need to kick in, some sort of oversight over the actual coding

I wonder how the Librem 5 and its PureOS fare in that respect?
 
Old 10-17-2021, 05:38 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ondoho View Post
^ I think I've already seen this video a long time ago.
Since that video was released in March 2021 and as active as I've seen you be on this subject, that's probably likely. One of the reasons I posted it is it may be worthy of note that Anthony found Ubuntu Touch quite satisifying and snappy and that he did that with a mutiboot configuration. That may even carry a little more weight with the release of the Pro version Pinnephone, though they are careful to point out the hardware is less an issue than the software.

I am very seriously considering buying the Pro version as it does beef up the hardware considerably. It is my understanding that Call and SMS issues are related to signal strength and I have an amplified antenna on the roof of my home and spend the majority of my time there. I really don't care about apps and the camera is actually an upgrade from my 9 year old Kodak.
 
Old 10-17-2021, 08:07 AM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by obobskivich View Post
It will also randomly CTR when trying to interact with SMS
Never heard "CTR" before, and searching doesn't reveal anything that makes sense.

Is it intended to be CTD (i.e. crash to desktop), or something else?

 
Old 10-17-2021, 05:00 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ondoho View Post
^ I think I've already seen this video a long time ago.

Thanks Mill J & obobskivich for a detailed report.

Developing an OS is just so much more work than writing code.

I guess it comes down to these 2 things:

  • a release model would be required for maximum stability - currently, all OS updates seem to be "testing"
  • obviously there's not much QC at all atm - that would need to kick in, some sort of oversight over the actual coding

I wonder how the Librem 5 and its PureOS fare in that respect?
From what I learned earlier in this thread (from your post and then following the rabbit hole), Librem is basically vaporware (the hardware at least) - I think you can run their OS on other devices (its Debian-based if I remember right). I think the problem is two-fold: Pine is not big enough to get Qualcomm/whoever to support them directly (as Google or Samsung or Apple or whoever can), and this is 'reinventing the wheel' to try and take Linux somewhere it hasn't gone before. I'm sure given enough time it will be fantastic, but I don't think we're there yet.

Quote:
Originally Posted by boughtonp View Post
Never heard "CTR" before, and searching doesn't reveal anything that makes sense.

Is it intended to be CTD (i.e. crash to desktop), or something else?

Sorry - yes like 'CTD' - except "Crash to Reset" or "Crash to Reboot." Even with good signal strength this can happen, even with more recent updates - it isn't as bad as when the device was fresh out of the box last winter (when CTRs were just 'part of it' for any normal usage) but like I said, they're easily a decade away from what Apple will sell you right now (and performance too). I'd be very curious how their tablet handles - my suspicion all along has been the modem is the real problem here, not the rest of the hardware (if you switch to airplane mode and use it just like a tablet its actually pretty solid within its hardware limits), so they could have a 'winner' of a linux tablet on their hands, but I realize that alone won't make a 'killer app' because folks want the cellular integration. If things like Matrix or Signal worked you could almost get away with no modem too, and just handle voice/messaging over IP, but alas none of those work properly (so the lack of app support also boxes it in).


To be clear, it isn't like it crashes every 5 minutes, and it isn't an unresponsive device (even sitting next to a modern iPhone or Android - it really doesn't feel that underpowered unless you want to throw video at it, and you see just how beneficial all that missing proprietary IP is for video decoding and playback acceleration). I have no idea about 'mobile gaming' - I have never really tried that on the iPhone/Android platforms either. More performance would probably not be a bad upgrade in that respect, but getting to a stable 'base' platform is probably the more important consideration for daily use. Again, I imagine a larger form factor 'tablet' version of this would make a very compelling case for dumping an iPad or Fire tablet, but I'm not sure if such exists in an actually purchasable format.
 
Old 10-17-2021, 09:46 PM   #28
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Megi posted a log recently on the PinePhone Pro. It's an interesting read fpr both pros and cons: https://xnux.eu/log/#047

I second the thought that the modem might be the biggest problem so far. With that said, that modem seems to be fairly popular and is used elsewhere as a usb dongle and it's actually a tablet modem. Support has come a long way and it does work. Obviously Pine64 isn't too worried about it not working out eventually since they also used it in the Pro.

Honestly, as bad as the software ecosystem seems on the PinePhone, it's no better on the Librem 5 and likely never will be unless Purism goes back on their "open source" commitment. I'd like to see the actual stats of how many consumers got their Librem5 yet. I don't think I've seen anybody here on LQ mention having one.
 
Old 10-18-2021, 11:16 AM   #29
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Bryan Lunduke, tech blogger and podcaster, posted a story yesterday hyping the PinePhone Pro based only on his reading of the specs. He compared it very favorably to the specs - and price - of the Librum phone despite the fact that he used to be marketing director for Purism.

https://lunduke.substack.com/p/the-p...ogs-the-librem

My Pinephone would work as a daily driver for voice and messaging if I were not needing MMS messaging, however, I get a lot of texts with pictures and they simply don't come through at all. SMS all text messages work fine. I hope the Pinephone Pro irons out that feature.
 
Old 10-18-2021, 12:45 PM   #30
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Well shoot! It looks like it might be wise for me to hold off on Pinephone Pro until I have more experience with phones in general and to buy some time for what appears to be a decent development plan Pinephone is pursuing to get a little further along.

I don't want to hijack this thread so I'll ask some questions in the specific sub section but I'm thinking it might be worthwhile for me to buy a used, unlocked Nexus 5 and multiboot for awhile, trying various distros.
 
  


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