PINE64 Launches the Linux-based PinePhone UBports Group Version

PINE64 has released the PinePhone UBports Community Edition. Ubuntu Touch, a mobile-friendly version of the Ubuntu operating system, runs on the smartphone.

For the most part, if you are looking for a smartphone, you have two options. Android or iOS. The iPhone is a single device that is tightly controlled by Apple. Google's Android platform offers more choices and a wider price range.


However, PINE64, a manufacturer of Linux-based hardware, makes the PinePhone. The device is already available in a number of Linux mobile editions. Now there is a new addition to the lineup; the PinePhone UBports Community Edition.

PINE64 PinePhone UBports Community Edition smartphone

The physical device is similar to a mid-range Android device. The casing of the phone is made of black plastic, on the back there is only the UBports logo. You can also find the 5MP main camera here. There is also a 2MP front lens.

A small bezel surrounds the 5.95-inch HD display and the phone weighs 185 g. The phone is powered by the ARM Cortex A-53 CPU and supported with 2 GB SDRAM.

Although there is only 16 GB of onboard storage, it can be expanded to a staggering 2 TB via microSD. The 3,000 mAh battery is also replaceable.

The PinePhone UBports Community Edition is charged via USB-C, contains a GPS sensor and is equipped with Bluetooth 4.0 support.

While the hardware is an entry-level model, the exciting thing about this phone – aside from the $ 150 price tag – is the software.

What is UBports?

In the years since the introduction of the original iPhone, there have been many attempts to develop an alternative smartphone operating system. So far, Google's Android has been the only viable option.

However, neither platform is entirely geared towards the passionate contingent of Linux supporters. Apple's closed source environment is in direct contrast to the foundations of Linux. Android's dependence on Google services is also controversial.

UBports is a community of developers who contribute to Ubuntu Touch software, a mobile-friendly port from Ubuntu. The platform inevitably suffers from the same dangers as other alternatives, such as the lack of a fully featured app store. However, integration with the main Linux distribution is a key feature.

For example, UBports is working on convergence – the ability to plug your phone into any monitor and expand it into desktop mode. To please the Linux believers, the phone comes with a full Ubuntu terminal, as well as a host of other pre-installed open source apps.

Of course, one of the main attractions here is that the UBports Ubuntu Touch is truly open-source, rather than the restrictive, semi-open-source nature of Android. There is also OpenStore, an app store for third-party developers.

The PinePhone UBports Community Edition can be pre-ordered from the Pine64 Store (Broken URL Removed) for $ 150 and is expected to ship in late May 2020.

If you want to experiment with a Linux-based smartphone but don't want to buy a new device, there are options. When you're ready to switch from Android, take some inspiration from these Linux smartphone operating systems.

Linux mobile OS

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About the author

James Frew
(242 articles published)

James is MakeUseOfs Buyer's Guides Editor and a freelance writer who makes technology accessible and safe for everyone. Strong interest in sustainability, travel, music and mental health. BEng in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Surrey. Also to be found at PoTS Jots who write about chronic diseases.

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