Revisiting the PinePhone

I’m cleaning up my office. Like properly. Going to the city dump multiple times. That sort of cleaning. In the process I encountered my old PinePhone that somehow got lost in the lack of free time back when I bought it (KDE still got some money out of it, so the purchase still made sense).

I was happy to see that after a short charge, it actually booted. The installation was ancient, so I tried for an update of the system which failed miserably. Something in the session management failed – I’ve seen this error before on desktop machines when doing funky stuff to the GUI stack.

This resulted in me booting it from an SD card with the latest Plasma / Manjaro image. This process worked really well – but the phone runs really slow from my cheap SD card. A short download, unzip (took ages again, extracting 1.1GB to 6+GB on an already slow SD card takes patience) and some dd action, and the phone boots a fresh install from the internal eMMC again. Much snappier.

After this I did a quick system update and this time it worked like a charm – nice!

Recalling why I wanted a Linux phone (and not an Android) – I got nostalgic about the convergence story. Tangent – I’ve run the N900, N9 and the first Sailfish phone – all as daily drivers.

Let me put it like this: the whole convergence story sort of works, but doesn’t work. I’m not sure if the screen is too big, the phone is too old, or something else, but the whole thing just turns unstable. It does find its feet again when I unplug the USB-C connector, though.

So where does this leave me? I still have a great looking Plasma based phone. I’ll try to tinker with it and follow the development cycle along, but I’m unfortunately too dependent on a working phone experience to use it as my daily driver today.

2 thoughts on “Revisiting the PinePhone”

  1. The phone experience is not that broken on the PinePhone nowadays. The main issue I have is actually a regression from the Plasma change to allow answering calls from the lock screen instead of requiring an unlock: Unfortunately, this feature tends to crash the phone and require a reboot, sometimes before I can even answer the call, sometimes after I (or the other side) hang(s) up. Then there are small issues, such as the volume settings sometimes being messed up after a phone call. But overall it is usable.

Comments are closed.