July Update: All about the Pinebook Pro

News Pinebook Pro

As I’ve mentioned in last month’s update post, the PinePhone prototypes are currently being manufactured (due in August) and the PineTab dev kits are rolling off the factory line to be shipped out to developers. With both the PinePhone and PineTab currently in-transition to their respective next development stages, I’ll devote this month’s update solely to the Pinebook Pro pre-order announcement, the last unannounced feature of the laptop as well as a hardware and software status update. 

There is plenty to get to so let’s run though the points.  

Bullet points: 

  • Pinebook Pro pre-orders start July 25
  • Pinebook Pro gets privacy switches 
  • Pinebook Pro OS builds 
  • Battery life & ‘magical’ kernel
  • PINE64 key cap

Pinebook Pro pre-orders start July 25

[edit] 26/07/2019

Those asking about the pre-order system, coupons and shipping timeline please read the following forum threads:

https://forum.pine64.org/showthread.php?tid=7725

https://forum.pine64.org/showthread.php?tid=7752

Thank you!

This is the announcement many of you have been waiting for. The Pinebook Pro production has been green-lit and pilot batches have been scheduled for production. With the remaining hardware issues identified and resolved (side-note, huge thanks to the the key devs – ayufan and MrFixit – as well as the community for all the help sorting things out!), we’re now feeling confident that we can to proceed full steam ahead. A countdown for Pinebook Pro is now live and ticking away, so no one PM or email me saying they didn’t know or hear about it – this is plenty of heads-up time. If you follow us on Twitter, Mastodon, are a member of the forum, check the web-page or read the Linux press regularly, then you’re unlikely to miss the moment the pre-order system become accessible.

As we’ve promised from the very start, community members who registered on the forum prior to July 1, 2019 are eligible for a 128GB eMMC upgrade as well as pre-order priority. The eMMC capacity upgrade is a limited-time offer, available only for the first batch of Pinebook Pro laptops. 

I’d also like to include a quick word of caution; pilot batches are aimed at enthusiasts. We do diligent testing of the hardware and create numerous prototype iterations to make sure that we deliver the best possible product on launch day. However, we cannot emulate thousands of people using the device, it is simply not possible, and as a result minor issues (usually fixable with some tinkering) may be present in the pilot batch. If you’re not the sort of person who likes to actively engage in development or issue-solving, or simply is not willing to take the risk, then it may be a good idea to wait for the second or third batch. I am not saying that issues are expected, but it’s the nature of pilot batches that they are effectively a chance for us to get feedback on the hardware from a large sample of users. I thought I’d get this out there are there is a lot of interest in this device.

Lastly, I realize that making a purchase decision is often dependent on what reviewers and notable individuals from the Linux world say about the product. Since reviewers will be getting their Pinebook Pros at the same time as end-users or even later, I figured I’ll reach out to the relevant people in my neck of the woods and give them hands-on time with the prototype. Now, I obviously cannot make anyone cover the Pinebook Pro, nor do I want to make it sound like it is an expectation on my end, so I am leaving the names of the people and their shows out of this post if they choose not to talk about it. But keep an eye out (and an ear out – is that even an expression?), since some of them may decide to discuss their experience with the prototype online.

Pinebook Pro Privacy Switches

Privacy switches on the Pinebook Pro are the last unannounced feature I was dying to talk about for some time now. I had to hold back my excitement and keep my mouth shut because we first had to make sure that our implementation of the switches would work reliably and as intended. The reason we kept this information back wasn’t to be secretive, but rather not to disappoint you if the implementation wouldn’t pan out and the Pinebook Pro would ship without this feature. With that out of the way; we’re very pleased that the implementation worked out because we’re very well aware that a part of the draw of the Pinebook Pro is its core FOSS nature, which means respect for both users’ choice as well as privacy.

Back to the subject at hand. There are three privacy switches mapped to the F1, F2 and F3 keys on the Pinebook Pro keyboard. They deactivate the following: 1) the BT/WiFi module; 2) the webcam; and 3) the microphones. I’ll give you a broad overview of how the switches work and answer the inevitable questions about their security. The keyboard has a special firmware that lives on, and operates separately of, the operating system. In a nutshell, it detects if F1, F2 and F3 keys are pressed for 10s. Once one of the keys get pressed for the set duration, the keyboard firmware cuts power to the chosen aforementioned peripheral. The implementation is no different to cutting a peripheral power mechanically via a physical switch, and the power state settings for each is stored across reboots.

This is privacy switch implementation is highly secure since the firmware that dictates if peripherals get powered is not a part of the Pinebook Pro’s operating system. The power state value for each peripheral also cannot be overridden from the operating system. In fact, the keyboard firmware itself cannot be accessed from the operating system. I have been told by a hardware engineer that, under particular circumstances, this particular privacy switch implementation may be safer than mechanical switches. If you’re really tech-savvy, and want to know how the firmware works, then I am afraid you’ll have to ask someone smarter than me (which means pretty much everyone in our IRC / Discord); I may get someone technical to write up a short piece about the privacy switch implementation if many of you request it specifically. 

So there you have it, the Pinebook Pro is a FOSS laptop with privacy switches built from premium components that now also features privacy switches for peripherals relevant to security and privacy. Freedom of choice and openness has always been a core tenet of our projects, and now with the Pinebook Pro and PinePhone we’re starting to tackle the other vital component that the community cares about – the privacy and security hardware features.   

Pinebook Pro OS choices on launch day

I expect that there will be three OS types available for device on day one: 1) different flavours / distros of Linux (discussed in past month’s update); 2) Chromium OS; and lastly 3) Android 9. Two quick notes before we proceed, firstly I’ll skip discussing Android in this update as I expect few people care about or/and want Android on a Laptop. I just wanted to let people know that there is a build for it and it works. Secondly, you probably already spotted the notable absence of *BSD on this list. This is largely our fault, stemming from the philosophy we adopted for building up early software support for the Pinebook Pro. That said, we cannot wait to see *BSDs on the Pro once it gets into developers hands. 

Linux

Let’s talk a bit about the state of Linux for the Pinebook Pro. As far as Linux on ARM development goes, I can say with confidence that we’re in what I like to call the luxury territory. What I mean by this is that everything works – some things better than others, but it’s all there – and there are no deal-breaking issues in any of the builds. Developers have effectively moved from ‘making things work’ to ‘making things work better’ in the past two months. Improvements are literally done daily, if not hourly, and everything from desktop acceleration to trackpad settings  and battery-life is being continually tweaked. Regarding the custom Debian build that will ship with the Pinebook Pro – at the time of writing we still have about two weeks to continue tweaking things so they work their best. You will, of course, likely want to hit the update icon when you get your laptop, which will update the kernel and numerous other things, as well as run your regular apt updates and upgrades.  

Let me reiterate very quickly on the state of the Debian build that will ship with the Pinebook Pro. It features an accelerated Mate desktop, allows for 3D applications and you can play back videos locally up-to 4K at 30fps. Youtube as well as Netflix and Amazon playback work well at 1080p resolutions in the Chromium browser. Video out via USB-C works flawlessly too, so you’ll be able to use the Pinebook Pro for presentations, media, etc., For the record, the very same functionality is available in ayufan’s Ubuntu with Mate image, which also runs on the RockPro64, and can be downloaded directly from his github. At the risk of repeating myself, by the time you receive your Pinebook Pro there may already be other alternatives from partner projects; if not at launch then soon thereafter you’ll surely see the Pinebook Pro supported by the usual suspects (and newcomers to PINE64 hardware realm we’ve been talking to as well!). The one piece of functionality that we’re still working on is charging via USB-C – it works, but requires a very specific mode of charging at this time. We hope to improve this by the time the first units ship to end-users. I’ll make sure to update everyone on the state of this matter in due time.

Let’s talk battery-life. Developers are currently working at getting the optimal values for the battery into the device tree. In result we will need to wait a little bit longer to have a full picture of how well the battery performs during daily usage. That said, cool things have been done to improve battery life on the kernel level. MrFixit2001 has managed to make the governor monitor activity, so that not only does it set the frequency of the cores but also automatically turns the cores on and off on a need-be basis. We expect that this will see a significant improvement to battery life as well as thermals whilst having a relatively small impact on performance. From my testing, relative to all cores being active and the default interactive governor settings being applied, running webGL demos and playing simple games the observable performance difference is really negligible (for reference, 5 FPS difference running Aquarium WebGL demo). This is a very cool trick and one will be further improved upon and find its way into the majority, if not all, OS’ for the Pinebook Pro. Lastly, I think its worth noting that you can also turn individual cores on and off manually from the userspace for cores cpu0-5 (exchange value for X), which comes in handy if all you’re doing is terminal work or taking notes in class: echo 0 > /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu0/online. This applies to all current Linux builds.

Chromium OS

Some of you will probably write Chromium OS off as a daily-driver option, whilst others will be excited about it. Regardless of your personal views on the subject matter, there is no denying that having the choice to run it on the Pinebook Pro is a great option to have. Speaking of running Chromium OS, I cannot stress enough that the OS runs absolutely great on the Pinebook Pro. Even this early release is exceptionally smooth. There is no denying that ayufan has done a heck of a job, in a short amount of time, getting this build shipshape. For those of you who have a RockPro64 – you can already download and try it out. For the most part everything in Chromium OS seems to ‘just work’ on the Pinebook Pro; movies (online and local) play perfectly smoothly, 3D applications are perfectly responsive and the few web-apps I tested ran as they are supposed to. The build also comes with at Linux VM, which can be enabled under the settings menu. This allows you to install and run regular Linux applications on Chromium OS pretty much as if they were native Linux applications. So if you don’t want to use Google Docs, you can always install LibreOffice as you’d do on any Linux laptop. Apart from occasional and very minor glitches the build is highly usable and exceptionally polished. 

If you have kids in school in Europe (or US/Australia), or other places were a lot of schools use Chromebooks as default teaching devices, then the Pinebook Pro may just be something to consider. For starters, it’s sturdy enough to be tossed carelessly into a school backpack and even slammed down on a desk now and then … not that I recommend it. Secondly, once your child outgrows Chromium OS and will want to explore a bit more, you can just load up a Linux distro for them. Not to mention that you’d be supporting a small FOSS company rather than one of the many large Chromebook manufacturers. I trust this comes across as a genuine idea to consider and not a sales pitch, for it is not. 

A quick note on *BSDs

So I said I won’t be talking about the BSDs, but I feel like I should at the very least give you a general overview of the RK3399 *BSD functionality. I’ll make it quick. I’ve spoken to *BSD devs whom worked on the RockPro64 and from what I’ve gathered (despite the different *BSDs having varying degree of support for the RK3399 SOC) many of the core features are already supported, which bodes well for *BSD on the Pro. That said, some of the things you’d require on a functional laptop – such as the LCD (using eDP) for instance – will not work on the Pinebook Pro using *BSD as of today. So clearly a degree of work is yet needed for a BSD to run on the device. However, keep in mind that *BSD developers will be receiving their units soon and by the time you receive yours some basic functionality may be available. 

PINE64 logo on Pinebook Pro key cap

It never ceases to amaze me how passionate people can be about the stuff were doing. Before I get to the meat of this (admittedly very minor) story, let me give you some background. There are two factors that underpin it and explain its origin; the first of which is that I genuinely do not like the hamburger (three horizontal lines) menu icon on the regular Pinebook. Sure, it’s better than having a Windows key cap, but it just seems very impersonal to me. The second factor stems from feedback in a recent OMG! Ubuntu! Article relating to our choice to not brand the Pinebook pro, that I’ll quote here:

Although this is a nice move [not to brand the Pinebook Pro] on Pine64’s part, it’s also a little sad. The company is busting their posteriors on all this tech, so it’d be nice to see their efforts rewarded with a bit of awareness.” 

Now to the meat of the story. With the two aforementioned factors in mind, I threw out a question in the chat the other day asking people if they think that a PINE64 pine-cone logo would be a good substitute for the current menu icon. My thought behind this was to see if we could have this tiny piece of branding on the device and at the same time potentially improve the functionality of the key. I tossed the question out and went to make myself a cup of coffee. When I returned to my computer screen I was greeted with backlog of dozens of replies. As it turns out, people really do care about how their keys look and what they do. 

The overwhelming majority of people welcomed the idea of the little PINE64 pine-cone logo on the key cap and, as is the case when you ask a thousand people about their opinions, offered up many different ideas as to what the key cap can do. As things stand, I am happy to say that the menu logo will be substituted by the PINE64 logo, but it will take us some time to figure out its final functionality. If you have ideas of your own, make sure to post them below or on the forum.

That wraps it up for this month’s update! 

[edit July 16, 2019] Finally had some time to sit down and give a short, unstructured, overview of the build that will ship with the Pinebook Pro. I know that many of you have asked for another video detailing how the Pinebook Pro performs in a real-life scenario, and I feel this is a pretty fair representation of what you can expect.

127 thoughts on “July Update: All about the Pinebook Pro

  1. Great to hear Luke… the Pinebook Pro is shaping up to be a significant upgrade to the Pinebook, which itself was already a decent machine if you treated it right, and understand it’s limitations. Being able to watch media, do some moderate web browsing, and well as starting to have the processing power for not sucky code compilation speeds will certainly mean more people will be after it for this price point.

    1. That’s a heck of an update, and excellent news all round.
      You’re doing a great job.
      Thank you so much.

      1. 1.3 kg or less sounds awesome, making it easy to carry. I think most laptops that have a metal body, 14“ display and this weight or less cost 4-5 times as much or more.

      2. So when pre-orders go live tomorrow, will I just be able to click on the store link above and try to order one as long as they aren’t sold out?

        1. Yes but if you want to get a coupon for the larger memory upgrade for members, you have to wait for them to send you an email with the code. I’ve been waiting 3 hours so far. I thought this would be an automatic process .

          1. Still waiting for my code. Has anybody gotten their code yet? I tried email sales support and am waiting to hear back.

  2. Hi Luke, сould you please clarify the dimensions of the laptop (W-L-H in cm)? I could not find this information on the forum/articles. Choosing a new suitable backpack for the future device 🙂

    1. I suppose it would be supported as it is charged via USB Type C, which is an industrial standard. Anything that outputs 5 Volts to a Type C connector with properly assigned pins SHOULD work. I cannot verify as I am not an employee at Pine64, but I do not see any reason it shouldn‘t.

  3. Looks like a sick chromebook alternative.. please make another video but doing some multitasking or something..

    do you know if u can charge it with powerbank?

    1. If I find the time I’ll make a video.
      Haven’t tried a powerback – it would have to output at least 15W to make sense.

  4. I somehow didn’t notice that you had to register before July 1st to get the 128 GB eMMC… Well, I wanted to upgrade with an NVMe M.2 SSD anyway. OpenBSD support would be interesting, as I haven’t tried out any *BSD yet and I don’t want to install it on my main PC at the moment for some reason (although I do have space left).
    Any plans on supporting Kali Linux? I mean, it is Debian based, and it works on far less open ARM devices, like the Gemini PDA, as well. Furthermore, some distros with LXQt would be nice because of battery and RAM. Will the Debian image it ships with be Stable or Testing (which is also supposed to be very stable)?
    Less than 1,3 kg on a 14“-model sounds great, as that puts in the category of devices that cost five times as much.
    A question not only about the Pinebook Pro, but also about the Pinephone: If the brightness of the panel is PWM controlled (which I suppose), at what frequency? Anything above 2000 or maybe even 1000 Hz would be okay, but below 500 on brightness settings above 20% or so would be a dealbreaker for me, sorry (I know you get at least one sale less if you tell me it is as I fear, but I suppose or at least hope Pine64 is not the kind if company that would lie to someone about something like this.) In case you do not know, could you please at least give me the model numbers of the two panels? That would make me able to look if I can find about something myself, as some laptop/phone review sites like Notebookcheck do test it. If they have tested a device with the same panel, that would tell me as well (if the brightness controller is inside the panel, which I‘m actually not sure about). At least both do not have an OLED screen (which would be too expensive anyway); those typically have PWM flickering at around 240 Hz at ALL brightness settings.
    As to the firmware of the keyboard: I suppose it is open source and only does what is necessary, not sending any user data to Pine64 or third parties? I would also be interested in how it works, so at least one user interested in this so far.
    How is cooling handled? On the PCB picture I‘ve seen so far, there was only a copper frame above… I hope there will be a proper heatsink or contact to the laptop chassis, as the RK3399 is one of the more powerful ARM CPUs. I hope fans are not needed with such an energy efficient CPU.
    No GPIOs? That‘s not a dealbreaker, and also not really something that bothers me on a laptop, bit it would have been cool to see.
    Which components will be user serviceable? The board and the battery of course, but what if the keyboard or screen dies?
    Are there any real numbers on battery life yet? So I know that is probably going to improve, but how much do you get out of it at normal screen brightness and usage such as a mix of web browsing and programming currently?
    Is there any information available to public on how and through what kind of interface the M.2 adapter will connect to the board and what bandwidth will be like? PCIe 3.0 x2 is preferred over PCIe 2.0 x4 if it reaches only 16 GB/s (although I think this will not be the case anyway), as the former one would bot bottleneck cheaper, power saving NVMe SSDs such as the WD Blue which only have two 3.0 lanes.

    I know that is a lot of questions at once, but I have registered late (just noticed that it seems you do not have to register to post comments below news), and first started following the development of the Pinebook Pro and Pinephone since the June update. I would be happy if you could at least answer the question about PWM flickering, but of course I wouldn’t bother if you answered the others as well ;). I just can’t wait anymore for getting a laptop and phone that do respect my privacy, so I am kind of hyped for both the PineBook Pro and the Pinephone.

    1. I’ve seen this so far regarding PCIe:

      2019-01-31
      https://forum.pine64.org/showthread.php?tid=7106&pid=43947#pid43947
      “There will be an optional adapter (but not expensive, I’m sure, so don’t worry), that you will need for the slot. BTW, its using PCIe 4x interface.”

      June 2019 News: PinePhone, Pinebook Pro and PineTab
      https://www.pine64.org/2019/06/06/june-2019-news-pinephone-pinebook-pro-and-pinetab/
      “The last major outstanding issue with the Linux test builds (PCIe locking up in desktop use) has been resolved as of May 27th and all other features required for laptop functionality now work.”

    2. Many questions here. Please, direct the technical questions to the chat – people there will be able to answer you better than I can. I can get you the part number of the LCD panel, sure, but will have to talk to TL about it – I don’t know such things by heart. Again, probably best to ping me in IRC Monday…
      And yes, we got the source for keyboard / trackapd fimware, don’t worry. All it does is pull those GPIO pins up or down on 10s presses to enable/ disable power for peripherial.
      As for serviceability; same as the regular Pinebook, all components with the exception of the battery users will be able to buy. Batteries are a real pain to ship – that’s why.
      We’re still toying with cooling for the PB Pro. I’ll let people know once I am certain we’ve settled for one of the two options we’re considering – 1) graphene plate making contact with bottom of body 2) thermal pads making contact with metal. Either way, thermals are already under control in the prototypes which have inferior cooling.
      The battery circuitry on the prototype is iffy – I answered Alan below what we’re aiming at.
      The NVMe uses PCIe 4x – same on RockPro64. Performance will surely be identical – check the forum, think Frank posted some numbers some time back.
      Hope I answered at least half of your questions, albeit in note-form since on train making sure my 2 y old doesn’t press the emergency stop…

  5. Thanks for the update – the openness on your part is much appreciated! A couple of questions…
    – Is the “first batch” (with the 128 GB eMMC update) a “pilot” batch (for enthusiasts only) or one that would be considered a “production” batch?
    – Will the “first batch” be available with an ANSI keyboard, or will we have to forgo that if we want the eMMC update?
    – Any idea of pricing and availability of the M.2 SSD adapter?
    – As others have said, we’d love to have even a rough estimate of battery life when you have it available.

    1. – The pilot batch is a production batch. To give you an idea of some the type of issues I was referring to: http://files.pine64.org/doc/rockpro64/ROCKPRo64%20Engineering%20Change%20Notice%2020180628RP01.pdf

      -The first batch(es) will be ISO only. I explain reasons for it in past months community update: https://www.pine64.org/2019/06/06/june-2019-news-pinephone-pinebook-pro-and-pinetab/

      – The adapter will *hopefully* be available at launch. I doubt it will be more than $5
      -We are aiming at 7hrs continues use with all cores active etc., under moderate load and 50% LCD brightness. Currently battery drain over night in suspend (approx 8hrs) is quite high – 8-9%, but this will obviously be improved. 10 hrs continues use and 3-6% battery drain over night in suspend are technically achievable, but softwareneed to be worked on more.

  6. “pilot batches are aimed at enthusiasts”
    The issues that can exist, will they be software fixable or are you talking about hardware issues that are unfixable?
    Do you have an idea of the shipping cost? Are all the payments in USD, or are they available in e.g. EUR as well (PayPall charges extra if they do the conversion).
    Some weeks ago you told us that other optiosn regarding reselling/payment are being evaluated, is there any news about that?

    1. Regarding your first question, see my response to Alan above. As for your second question, shipping is calculated in USD and we’re still evaluating our shipping options.

  7. Great news so far. Many thinks for the free upgrade. Stupid question, guess with grub could install dual boot Linux/Android option? Sometimes on travel need android and just want to haul one device.

    Super excited and best wishes!
    Gary

  8. How many units will be in the first batch of Pinebook Pro laptops?
    What if you have more orders, from registered Forum members, than product in the ‘first batch” (good problem to have)?

    Warmest regards…

  9. As a Linux user, since 1999,and, supposedly, a “techie”, I’d be interested in an approximation of the upcoming Pinebook Pro laptops price, please. Thank you.

  10. I can’t wait to check one of these out!!! Been following along for months now, and getting to see the community here and it is incredible!

  11. Pretty great news. Are there news for stickers or something for different keyboard layouts? Or how localization is taken into account?

  12. I would like to respectfully suggest that, in the interests of sounding much more professional, the term “production run” be used in place of the term “batch”. “Production run” seems more impressive; wile the term “batch” carries the connotation of the device’s being a prototype, and not quite ready for serious consideration or use.
    It’s strictly my opinion (I’ve been doing this for a long time): I think you’ll make a lot more headway–and get a lot more “points”–with both the new, individual, user AND the technical media/press/professional reviewer and technical article review author and his/her magazine or website. Only my opinion; nothing more.

    1. Thanks for the feedback. I’m not a native speaker and we’ve always called the production runs ‘batches’. Anyways, thanks for the advice.

  13. Awesome news!
    How modular is the pbpro? In 18 months time, say, will we be able to pull out the rockchip board to upgrade it, and thus preserve the investment in the laptop shell?
    Thanks

  14. Will there be a shipping option that includes paying the import duties in Europe in advance so that one doesn’t have to fight the customs and the Pinebook arrives to your house directly?

    1. Still looking into optimal shipping. We’re kind-of limited in what we can do by the fact that its a laptop and hence there are batteries in it. Batteries and things with batteries are a pain to ship. I’ll keep you posted.

  15. Lukasz,
    First I would like to congratulate you and the entire Pine64 team on the idea of, and the development of the Pinebook Pro. I believe it is a great step forward for open source and as a Linux user (since 1998, yeah that far back), having it ship from the factory with a well-developed open source distribution and loads of features and technology that support the changing tide of modern computing at a price of less than $200 is nothing less than a stroke of genius. I am anxiously awaiting my opportunity to participate in the pre-order, just as many others are. My only concern is the ISO keyboard being the only option for the first batch, which is apparently the only batch eligible for the free upgrade to 128 GB eMMC (a major purchase point for me). I have been a mostly silent forum member for some time now, closely but quietly following the development process. I was excited to hear that there would be an ANSI keyboard option, and understood when it was stated that the first run would most likely not have that option. I did not, however, notice that only the first batch would be available with the 128 GB upgrade, which is a downturn for me. Admittedly, 64 GB of eMMC storage is more than livable for me, as it is the capacity of my current ride (Asus C302 Flip running a personally-modified version of Stretch with working audio). My big question to you is the potential pre-order date for the first batch that will have the ANSI keyboard option. I am weighing my alternatives heavily based upon that date, because I am enthusiastically looking forward to having my own Pinebook Pro, and may have to sacrifice my preference for an ANSI keyboard and enjoy the additional onboard storage option of the first pre-order if the first ANSI batch is still yet some time to come. Otherwise, again I would like to congratulate you for making a visionary idea a reality and encourage you to keep up the great work!

    1. Hi Ed! You are absolutely correct, it would just be fair that when we roll out the ANSI version that community member also get a free eMMC upgrade. I completely get it. Sadly, I cannot guarantee that this will happen. I trust you’ll appreciate I am being straight up honest; as it stands the bill of materials is greater than the asking price of a 128GB version (PINE64 pays more to manufacture it than end-users pay to buy it … in other words the cost is absorbed). This project really isn’t about making money but rather hardware that people want to use … that said, people need to get paid for their work and it doesn’t help that component prices fluctuate upwards usually. But we’ll see what can be worked out – the ANSI version will take some time, because the current ANSI keyboard is not up to the standard we’d like it to be, so we need to find another one.

      1. Lukasz,
        Thanks for your reply, and I certainly understand that you cannot guarantee anything based upon variables that haven’t been set in stone. I can appreciate the fact that production costs may overrun initial projections and understand the 128 GB eMMC is more costly to integrate which in turn reduces your (imaginably) slim margin to near nil. That being said, let me assure you that I strongly support what you (and the entire Pine64 team) are doing. I hope I didn’t come over as a “whiner”, and apologize profusely to all if my query was taken that way. As excited as I am about the initial pre-order for the Pinebook Pro, I am having reservations about the ISO keyboard. I understand in the very basic sense of things, it’s a keyboard, and does what keyboards do. I live in the US, however, and have become accustomed to the ANSI layout. I still have not made up my mind on this, and will definitely get a Pinebook Pro, as the entire concept embodies what I have wholeheartedly believed for many years. I want the PB Pro to be a huge success (as I am sure you and the team do, Including many others). You can still count on my order, whether I opt for the 128 GB bonus option on the first pre-order and deal with relearning key placement (I use a great deal of keyboard shortcuts), or if I decide to hold off until the ANSI model becomes available and still be happy with 64 GB of eMMC. Either way I am still on board with this, and am looking forward to further developments and advancements. Again, keep up the great work, and thanks for being transparent on the situation.

        1. Not sure if it’s an answer that will help, but the eMMC is socketed meaning that you could in theory wait for the ANSI Keyboard, and enjoy (albeit with an additional charge) 128Gb of eMMC and the option to purchase an adapter to have a NVME M.2 SSD and/or a MicroSD

  16. Well, I’m pretty bummed out because I’m very interested in the PINEBOOK Pro and signed up on the forum because of a story which included the “double storage if you sign up now” message, which I thought would be good until the day that pre-orders would be accepted. Signed up on the 5th of July, only to read today within the PINEBOOK community that July 1st was the deadline for the double storage. That bites … 🙁

  17. Hey guys, thanks for all info on the pro model, are keyboard keys replaceable, and is it US format when shipping. I would like to have a UK keyboard format? Either way this machine sounds a great opportunity for some amazing dev OS work.

    Thanks for the hard work let’s hope I get a first edition.

      1. Lukasz, thanks for the reply just wanted to make sure, since the first announcement was never truly sure. Anyway thanks for all the effort on this and back from Foss when it first talked about. Do you happen to know how much the pro weights?

  18. Regarding “community members who registered on the forum prior to July 1, 2019 are eligible for a 128GB eMMC upgrade as well as pre-order priority.”

    I did not have a forum account, but I did sign up for notification via email about its availability. Wouldn’t this qualify meand others? I found no email regarding this potential benefit.

    Not right!

    I have a forum account now or when the verification email finally arrives.

    1. We kind-of said it from the start when we announced the Pinebook Pro at FOSDEM 2019 back in February. I understand that it may be frustrating, but if you read my post carefully you’ll appreciate that we wish to prioritize community members who’ve been with us through thick and thin.

  19. Seeing how I have been monitoring your community since late last year and been anxiously awaiting for the availability the older PineBook with the larger screen or the new PineBook Pro, I am part of your community.

    Essentially, I feel like I am being penalize for being patient and quiet instead of creating a forum account to bug you guys for updates or pressing for more information.

    It’s not right.

    I, guess, now I have to make a choice. Continue being a part of your community or find a different project to invest my money and time.

  20. Lukasz, thanks for the reply just wanted to make sure, since the first announcement was never truly sure. Anyway thanks for all the effort on this and back from Foss when it first talked about. Good work.

  21. RK3399 is somehow comparable to N3060.. i cant afford this change

    is there any possibility you release just a board update to this model once the RK3588 comes out and all the software for it (perhaps 2 years from now)? i dont think what else you could add that changes this model its already very good compared to original one

  22. SPECIFICALLY directed to Lukasz Erecinski:

    1. Your VERY hard work on, and dedication to, this project (answering questions while caring for your child, on a train, for example) is more than admirable; it’s almost unheard of today.
    2. This venue has, up until now, been one of the most civil of most technical forums/venues on the internet.
    3. It is extremely unfortunate that there are some people who–although CLAIMING to have followed the progress of the Pinebook Pro for a very long time, *somehow* missed your announcement regarding needing to be a registered forum member; even–obviously–thinking it might be possible to wait until the day orders are accepted.
    4. What is even more unfortunate is the degradation in quality of this venue, caused by these disgruntled individuals, who not only are being very vocal about having been “abused”, but who are even resorting to veiled threats–“…”I, guess, now I have to make a choice. Continue being a part of your community or find a different project to invest my money and time.”

    This is coming from an absolute, confirmed PROCRASTINATOR, I can tell you that as soon as I saw your offer of 128 MB of eMMC, I registered as a Forum Member–**ON 3 MARCH, 2019**. In case you ‘whiners’ don’t get the point here: **YOU HAVE BEEN GIVEN PLENTY OF TIME**! Grow up, and take responsibility for your inaction.

    Mr. Erecinski:, please keep up your very hard work and dedication; it is ABSOLUTELY appreciated…by most people.

    Warmest regards…

    1. “In case you ‘whiners’ don’t get the point here: **YOU HAVE BEEN GIVEN PLENTY OF TIME**! Grow up, and take responsibility for your inaction.”

      Wow, nice attitude. Tnx for the warning. I will stay the F away from this “community”.

  23. +1 to James Michael’s comment. How can someone claim to be an active member of the community yet not have been registered on the forum for a long time (making them unable to comment or take part in discussions?)

  24. I was polite and honest. I did not attack anyone much less the OP. I don’t currently own a PineBook so didn’t feel I had anything to contribute, thus no forum account.

    The personal attacks are unwarranted. Is this what I and others have to look forward to as members of this community?

  25. Thank you James Michael! not going to lie, its nice to get positive feedback now and then 😉 perhaps I’m just vain.

    Techore, you were polite and so is the community, no worries. Again I understand the frustration, but it is true that I underlined on numerous occasions that only forum members who have been with us for a long time will get the eMMC upgrade. I’ve said it on the forum (probably more than once), in interviews online, on twitter, in the blog… probably elsewhere. The point of the upgrade is to show appreciation to those who have been with us for a long time. You can always use a SD card or NVMe if you need more storage…

  26. @Techore, no personal attacks are acceptable in the pine64 (or any other, for that matter) community, so no, it’s not something that you would have to ‘look forward to’ if you were to become an active member of the community, that than just a spectator. I can appreciate how you might feel penalised, but this is the only fair way to do this… and this is the way it was going to be done has been mentioned more than enough times. I’ve been a pine64 supporter since their original Kickstarter, and have been mostly absent this last 6-8 months… but even I knew back in Jan -Feb that it was going to be offered to forum members… so everyone has basically had five months to at least create an account. On a personal note, I don’t think not having a Pinebook is a good enough reason to not have had an account… this means you didn’t have any questions about it you wanted to ask on the forum, or about any of the other products pine64 have? However, can we put this to rest – (directed at everyone) – there are other options ranging from upgrade the eMMC afterwards, adding SD/NVMe storage, so it’s not the end of the world.

    1. @Peter Feerick … As unbelievable as it may sound to you, but my wife and I who’ve been working with computers professionally for the past almost 30 years, residing in Germany, never even heard of Pine64 or Pinebook until last week. So when I signed up to the forum, since we’re interested in two of these Pinebook Pros, we got there from another blog which suggested the July 25th pre-order deadline … without any mention that the last day to sign up for the extra storage would be July 1st. It would have made perfect sense to coincide the pre-order date with the sign-up date for the extra storage. At least to this old brain that would have seemed more logical …

      1. No, not particularly unbelievable. If you’re not active/monitoring the SBC space, it’s unlikely you would have heard of them. However, since you may still have missed the point of the ‘upgrade for forum members’ and are focusing on it soley as being ‘getting something for nothing’… the intended purpose of the upgrade (and it’s an upgrade, not a launch bonus or whatever else you want to label it) is to reward the people who have been supporters of pine64 all this time… so I fail to understand how linking the pre-order deadline with the existence of a forum account really has anything to do with it. If I’d been aware at the time it was only going to be date limited, I would have suggested it should also exclude people with say less than 5 posts… i.e. eliminate people who haven’t interacted with the community much.

        1. Hey Pete 🙂 we initially considered making the initial announcement (back in Feb) the cut-of point, but then people would say it was misleading etc., In any case, I still think that July 1st is both lenient and very reasonable.

          1. Hey Luke 😉 You must be succeeding at keeping the little one away from that threatening big red button xD Yeah, I forgot to add before “You can’t please everyone… whatever date is set, someone will complain about. If you’re not happy with it, either make a polite suggestion, or go create your own SBC and community, and set different rules! :-P” Making it back in Feb could have actually been truer to the intent… it stops the people who suddenly create accounts to get the freebie. Anyway, it’s done. the dates past, and anyone who whinges now needs to be pointedly reminded of the intent/reason for the upgrade 😉

  27. Fantastic work Luk, can’t wait to get my hands on the PB pro. Also hope to see some reviews soon, but if you get the chance, another video on the system would be great.
    Many thanks.

  28. Thanks for all the Hard work from everyone involved.

    I’m assume that at some point in the future, ‘spares’ for the pinebook pro will be available, just like they currently are on the store for the pinebook. When the ANSI keyboard model of the pinebook pro is available, I would have thought that a replacement ANSI keyboard would be able to be purchased from the store.

    Thanks Again

  29. Hello Lukasz, or anyone(Devs) else who may know
    How bright is the IPS screen nits etc and if any sRGB % or any other calibration standard? If nothing it’s still amazing to have an IPS on this device, now just waiting for the touch version! (joking!!!).

    As usual thanks for the the hard work and forum input. All the best.

    1. I am really happy to say that the screen on the PB Pro is really good and this statement isn’t an exaggeration. I don’t know how bright it is, but its plenty bright, I honestly cannot imagine anyone complaining. The colors seem pretty well balanced – when compared to my Macbook (which apparently has very good color settings), I can tell that blue is slightly less saturated and orange and red slightly more saturated on the PB Pro. Also the display is lovely matte.

      I’ll try to get you the numbers for you – we definitely have the spec sheet for the display.

      1. Lukasz
        Really do appreciate your hard work, just as most of the forum community members do. There will always be a few who don’t get what they want, but hey that’s life, who hasn’t bricked something. Spec sheet on the screen would be great, geek fodder! ‘I’m assuming the WiFi AC is single stream, can remember the specs for Rk3399 boards or PCBs off hand.
        Thanks again for the quick reply.

  30. I’m considering waiting on the second batch, or second ‘production run’, hoping that *BSD will be ready then.
    Will I have the opportunity, at the time of order, to upgrade to the 128 GB eMMC?
    Is it possible to ‘dual-boot’ operating systems with the Pinebook Pro?

    Warmest regards…

      1. I think that it may take *BSD some time to become functional. As for the upgrade you’re asking about – it may not be possible, since the units are assembled at the production line and the OS is flashed there too. You may be able to buy the 128GB eMMC separately … but then you’re obviously left with at 64GB module. Personally, I think that you’d be better served with a NVMe or (less secure) large capacity SD card.
        I am not writing anything of the above with complete certainty or confidence, we’ll see what is doable in coming months.

  31. Thank you very much guys! I feel like this laptop is going to be a dream come true : )

    The hardware is up to date and it even got those nice privacy enforcing switches and an IPS panel yeY! ! I think its important to be able to trust your hardware. A backlight keyboard would be the only feature I’m missing, but no big deal. I just had to mention it because I work in the dark a lot (I know, I know, quite unhealthy, right xD ). I’m probably still going to fall in love with this laptop.
    I only recently stumbled upon you guys and the hardware you make is awesome! so much fun! : )
    Still I hope to see a Pinebook 14″ with a clear case (it’s the reason I joined the forum in the first place). Clear cases look really cool haha! xD

    I can’t wait to get an OS up and running and customize it. I’m hoping to be able to use a bleeding edge distro like Arch or Void but Debian testing should be fine . I got enough crazy ideas to keep me busy for a long long time. The only thing thats missing is the hardware : )

    OpenBSD or FreeBSD would also be really interesting since I’m wanting to try them for a long time now. But I’m skeptical about the hardware support. I’d like to be proven wrong though!

    Chromium could be a huge help. It might be perfect for my little niece to use for school! Just need to replace the google stuff.

    I wonder how long it will take until we see the first distributions using the new open source Mali driver “Panfrost” which is included in the new kernel 5.2. Does anyone know if Panfrost is already able to smoothly accelerate/render a GUI? I assume most if not all upcoming distributions will use the binary driver or the CPU to render?

  32. Really looking forward to this. I don’t think I have been as enthusiastic about a piece of hardware since the release of the original Jolla phone. 🙂 Thanks for your dedication!

    1. > I don’t think I have been as enthusiastic about a piece of hardware since the release of the original Jolla phone

      I’m pretty stoked too.
      I’ve been waiting for a practical non-Intel/non-x86 laptop running Linux since, well, forever 😉
      … having had various Sharp Zauruses, and more recently bluetooth keyboards connected to an android phone running Termux or, rooted with a chroot environment and a standard debian install… or a Planet Gemini… the PBPro is my next big thing!

  33. How do community members get pre-order priority?

    How do I make sure I get the upgrade since I have a forum account?

    1. You’ll be asked to identify yourself in a secure way (using your forum creds) – when you do, you’ll get the upgrade.

    1. I think no one would take a review from me seriously 😉 There are professional reviewers for that. But I’ll record one more Pinebook Pro video when I’ve got the final build for it — then it will be representative of what you’ll get on day one.

      1. “I think no one would take a review from me seriously…”
        Given your track record of being absolutely honest and above-board regarding all Pine’s offerings, I think your misgivings are unfounded.
        To paraphrase Winston Churchill–
        “The inherent vice of this website is Lukasz Erecinski’s absolute commitment to ethics, honesty, and “fair play”. The inherent virtue of reading most everyone else’s press releases and breathless product announcements is the entertainment provided.”

        When, do you suppose, was the last time that Microsoft, the Raspberry Pi group, or Canonical had any such reservations?

  34. Lukasz, What are the odds of Pine64 developing a PineTab Pro next year? I’m hoping that it can essentially have the innards of the PineTab Pro in a 10″ tablet with detachable keyboard. That would be hot.

    1. It takes us a good while to plan for a device such as the Pinebook Pro – at least a year – and there is no plan for a PineTab Pro at this point in time. So, in other words, chances are pretty much 0 for a PineTab Pro in 2020.

      1. Lukasz the pinebook pro specs looks very very well (1080P/trackpad/usb ports/… ) could that hardware work as a baseline for future interchangeable boards and the same time reducing the design time/cost of a new laptop just by using this one? what would it take to make that happen once the new socs/sbc come out? it could be a unique business model for people who want upgreability and cant afford to buy a new notebook every year (third world)

        For instance , could be possible to update the original pinebook with an RK3399 board? or changes need to be made?

        1. indeed! In fact, those who have the regular/ original Pinebook will be able to upgrade to a pro-like version in the future. We wanted to have this option at launch but due to technical challanges – more specifically heat dissipation in a plastic enclosure of the original Pinebook – and keyboard firmware compatibility, we had to shelf it for now.

          So yes, in the future you’ll also be able to update the Pinebook Pro with newe main-boards.

  35. Hi Lukasz,

    what you (and the Pine64 team) are doing is really awesome! I’m still amazed at the price point considering how great this computer is.
    I do have a few questions :
    First of all, when do you think the second batch will come out? I’m not in a hurry to get a laptop right now and would prefer to wait for the 2nd version, as I’m not really sure I would be able to fix the hardware problems myself (depending on how complicated it might be). If it’s removing a resistance, then I should be good. Otherwise not so much. It’s mostly me being scared that I would mess something up.

    Will I be able to upgrade to 128 GB on the 2nd batch, considering that I wasn’t a member of this community before the 1st of july? Of course, this would come at additional cost.

    Lastly, will the components (Keyboard, battery, screen, daughtercard, and others) be avalaible to purchase later on? From what I’ve seen with the first pinebook which I didn’t own, you could buy a screen or the bottom part to replace it. It really is great to be able to replace the part that’s broken without having to replace the entire laptop for many reasons.

    Really excited to watch the upcoming reviews of this laptop, because it looks really promising! The addition of kill switch is something valuable probably to many users as well.

    Cheers!

  36. Hey Mattias. Just to be clear we do not expect any issues with the first run of Pinebook Pros 🙂 I just wanted to warn people that issues are more likely in the first batch.
    We haven’t yet decided on how long the 128GB upgrade for forum members be available yet. This may or may not apply for the second production run. And sadly no, only people who registered on the forum prior to the 1st are eligible. There is actually a bit of a discussion about it a few posts above.
    Regarding the components; you will eventually be able to buy spare parts for the Pinebook Pro – pretty much everything you’d want except the battery. It may take some time – every LCD, body, keyboard, etc., is one fully assembled Pinebook Pro less … and the demand is expected to be high. So may be a few months before spares become available, but they will be there for purchase eventually.

    1. Hi Lukasz,

      Thank you for the clarifications. I guess I’m ordering a Pinebook Pro on the first batch then !
      Will I still be able to pre-order a Pinebook Pro 64GB since I wasn’t a member before the 1st of July? Rereading the post, I’m not really sure if I’ll be able to…

      1. I think you will be able to do that. From what I‘ve read, the forum members who registered prior to the first of July will be treated with priority, afaik meaning they might get their Pinebook Pros before others (like me or you) do.

  37. On the day the preorder goes live, will we have to pay for it then? Just to know whether I should take payment stuff with me on holiday 🙂

    1. There will be some amount that you will be asked to pay for the pre-order. A fair and balanced system is still being worked out.

  38. I hope I’m not being repetitive, but I haven’t notined this question before.

    What are your plans for taking orders for batch 1? Do you plan to produce X machines and will wait to receive orders for X machines before starting production? Or, will you accept orders for Y days and then start production of however many machines were ordered in the time period?

    I’m really wondering how much time we will have to decide to buy in batch 1.

    1. For this first production run pre-orders and the production will be concurrent. We have little doubt that this first batch will sell out instantly pretty much regardless. In the future, there will be a target of units to produce, and once its reached production will start.
      TL said publicly that we aim to have the Pinebook Pros delivered within a month of you placing a pre-order. We reserve a week or two more for this first batch since, well, unforeseen things can happen running production for the first time.

      1. How many units are there in a batch? How much time do you expect we have to order (I’m on holiday, so I won’t be able to order it the minute it becomes available)

  39. Potrzebuję lepszej klawiatury, klawisze PgUP, Down do zmiany terminala, home, end są ważne,
    Co wam szkodzi dodac po prostu jeszcze jedną linię klawiszy. By każdy sobie dodał takie jakie chce, zobaczcie jaki jest wielki rynek klawiatur programowanych arduino. Ja chce miec dużą klawiaturę programowaną dowolnie. Ze wszystkimi potrzebnymi mi klawiszami.
    Do tego ze dwa kółka do ustawiania głośności i jasności ekranu i też programowalne (użył bym w Blenderze 3d) nienawidzę klawiszy Fn, W moim języku musiałbym naciskać czasem 3 klawisze by uzyskac jedną literę! Nie potrzebuje klawiatury numerycznej, ale programistyczne potrzebuje wszystkie i wiele więcej.

  40. This sounds so much more interesting than the Intel laptops with the new and improved upgrades for Meltdown, Foreshadow, TLBleed, Intel ME and the ever popular Spectre.

    I look forward to using something that does not fight back when using an open source OS, like Linux.

    Kudos for the privary switches. There are times to disable un-needed features, (either to save power, or when used in higher security locations).

    On the feature side, I hope that the firmware, (aka BIOS), includes some of the security features like password protection to prevent changes to the firmware settings.

    1. Sadly no, there is no way because of the nature of the system that has been implemented for the first batch aimed at the community members. Besides, this isn’t as much about ‘who bought stuff in the past’ but rather who has been active in the project.

      1. How much will it cost to upgrade from 64 GB to 128 GB? It can’t be much. A 128GB eMMC Module is only $20 more than a 64GB eMMC Module in the Pine store.

  41. i think ill pass on this one.. i already had an SBC with RK3399 and it was just slow for other than browsing or viewing text files or just watching a video.. BUT i do think that the future is in RISC processors , so if they can get better single core performance then i might buy the third iteration of this laptop family (at a competitive price tho , ryzen 3200U laptops are selling @300usd)

    1. Not sure which SBC you had, but have you seen the video at the end of this post? Whatever issues you had with RK3399 was down to software not being optimized….

  42. I am thinking of using Pinebook Pro as a good business notebook. Therefore I would like to have few questions answered first if possible.
    Which technology do you use to output video via usb-c ? Is that DP alternate mode ? Can I attach usb-c docking station with 2 displays via that port ? If so do you have a model name of such dock ?
    Have you managed using any smart card reader successfully ? If yes please name a model.

  43. I see a pre-order now button on the front page. When I click it I get to the coupon redemption page where prior-to-1-July-forum-members can redeem their free 128GB upgrade code. I am not eligible to this free upgrade, but I would like to place a pre-order. But I see no option to do so. Will the pre-order be available to the general public at a later time? When?

      1. Has anyone received their coupon yet after being told a sales person would be in contact shortly ? .. I am three days out ..no email or contact ??

        1. Several in the telegram group have including myself.
          They said it could be a few weeks before you get your coupon. The forums have some info about the telegram group as well as coupons.

  44. Nianawidzę używania klawiszy niebieskich, funkcyjne są funkcyjne, uzywam mc i wkurza mnie jak musze przełączac je by użyc. Klawiatura jak na linuxowy laptop nie ma bloku ins,del,home, pgupdown.
    ciezko w tym pisać.

    Zatem lepiej było by po prostu zostawic normalna klawiaturę bez bloku numerycznego, dodac na górze lub obok, te 5-6 klawiszy multimedialnych/ekranowych.

    Nigdzie nie piszecie o możliwości zwiększenia akumulatora. Wielu adminów wolało by ethernet + np. 24h pracy na akumulatorze.

  45. got my voucher and ordered as soon as I could. Lukasz is now going to have to deal with us all impatiently waiting for their pinebookpro’s like children waiting for xmas. When my son was about 4, he caught wind of what he was getting for xmas, and literally asked us every 10 minutes “where’s my X” for a whole week, refusing to accept our explanation that it was still 25 sleeps till christmas!!

    Well, looks like it’s 68 sleeps or so till I get my pinebookpro 😉

    sorry to woffle on.

    1. Ha ha! Lets hope all the shipping goes smoothly now so you can have it well before xmas – thats the goal 🙂

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