October Update: PineTime, Delays and Shipping News

Pinebook Pro PinePhone PineTime

This month’s update will be slightly shorter than usual – I have been dealing with some health issues recently, which significantly reduced my time to actively engage with the community. Hopefully I’ll make it up to you in November. 

September has been a bitter-sweet month for us. On the one hand, we’ve seen a lot of great developments: the first Pinebook Pros have reached their owners, and the reception has so far been great; core developers have started receiving their PinePhone prototype handsets and dev pre-order coupons have started going out; and we’ve announced the PineTime smartwatch – a companion for the PinePhone and other Linux phones. 

On the other hand, (and I have no intention of sugar-coating the situation) things haven’t gone exactly according to plan regarding shipments of developers’ PinePhones and Pinebook Pros for end-users. A series of miscommunications, factory errors as well as just good ‘ol bad luck resulted in dates slipping by a few weeks. To those of you who had to wait for your units and to those whom are still waiting – we apologize for the delay, we’re very sorry. Read on to find out what happened. 

[EDIT 18/10/2019] Since writing this blog entry I provided an update on the situation (Pinebook Pro, PinePhone and PineTime dev kits shipping) on the forum. Click here.

Bullet Points:

  • Pinebook Pro first batch shipping delay causes explained ; we’re sorry
  • Future shipments 2 weeks delay ; we won’t put shipping staff at risk
  • Pinebook Pro early adopter feedback very positive ; issues noted and worked on
  • PinePhone Dev edition delay explained ; prototypes run great
  • The PineTime ; a side-project with a lot of potential ; community driven
  • Closing thoughts – are we being stretched thin? 
Pinebook Pro shipping delay detailed explanation

Let me give you a run-down of the events that caused the delay in the shipment of Pinebook Pros to customers. The delay was caused by a series of intertwined events, so it’s just appropriate that I list them in chronological order. The first issue we encountered during production was that the Pinebook Pro doesn’t power on with the battery disconnected. This isn’t an issue that will affect the majority of users, but it had to be addressed nonetheless. Finding and implementing a solution (a bypass cable – please see the engineering notice) set us back a few days.  

However, the majority of time was lost on the second issue. To understand the problem you first need a little technical background; the RK3399, which is the SOC used in the Pinebook Pro, has a hardwired boot sequence that prioritizes eMMC over SD. This means that, unless the bootloader on the eMMC is altered to seek out bootable SD or USB 2.0/3.0 flash (such as uboot on the Debian + MATE build), the OS residing on eMMC will always boot prior to bootable micro SD or USB 2.0/3.0 flash.

Now here is the problem – the factory we work with is accustomed to carrying out hardware and QC test using a custom Android build. They always flash this build to eMMC modules before completely assembling the devices. This Android build doesn’t have the necessary uboot alterations to prioritize SD or USB bootable storage; as a result, we found ourselves in a position where all the fully assembled Pinebook Pros were running factory Android and there was literally no way to reflash them with Linux without disassembling all the laptops and reflashing them manually. Moreover, the factory uses a proprietary Rockchip utility to install the Android image and is completely unaccustomed to flashing ‘normal’ DD images. Needless to say, solving all problems related to this situation took a very, very long time – over a week in total. 

For those interested, I am including our solution to the problem that will be used in future batches. Our offices in China will deliver pre-flashed Debian MATE eMMC modules (since the build features uboot that prioritises SD and USB storage over eMMC) to the factory, and the factory will carry out its tests on the custom Android running from SD. This effectively means that we’ve taken on a part of the production process, which is a burden to our staff but the simplest way to resolve this issue. 

The third, and last, technical issue was first found after all units were assembled and moved out of the factory. Someone from the shipping team realised that the laptop emits an annoyingly high pitched noise when charging. This did not affect the operation of the Pinebook Pro, but we were certain that users would be displeased with this imperfection. So, the laptops were brought back to the factory over the weekend and the tiny component making the noise was removed and replaced. The reason for this issue being caught this late is quite simple – the high pitched noise isn’t loud enough to be heard on a factory floor with all sorts of machinery operating. It’s only noticeable at ambient noise levels; e.g. at home with the TV off.  

At this point in time we missed our shipping date by weeks, but it was now September 27 and geopolitical events – which I will not discuss or debate here – caused further setbacks. The Pinebook Pros are produced in Shenzhen, mainland China, but ship out from Hong Kong via DHL. This means that our shipping staff needs to make the trip to the Hong Kong storage bay where the Pinebook Pros get picked up for delivery. If you follow global news, then in all likelihood you’re aware that the situation in the region is volatile at the moment. As a result of the situation in China and Hong Kong, only half of the original first production run shipped out. The remaining portion of the first batch will be shipped in the next couple of days, after the week-long national holiday comes to an end, and (hopefully) things calm down slightly. 

Before I wrap this section up let me assure you that we will not expose our shipping staff to situations where their life or wellbeing could be jeopardised. I hope this decision is self-evident, and that we can all agree this it is the only sensible course of action. This also means that if the situation in the region will remain unstable, then future shipping dates may slip too. 

Future Pinebook Pro shipments, early reception and feedback

The current delay in delivering early Pinebook Pros has pushed our dispatch dates for the second (community) and third (public) batch slightly forward. Granted that production and shipping processes are not impacted by the unrest in the region, we will be shipping these two batches collectively at the end of October or in early November. With most issues ironed out during the production of the first batch, I trust it should be relatively smooth sailing from this point on. Famous last words, I know. Based on feedback from early adapters, it seems that there are no glaring or core experience hampering issues we need to address at this point in time, and the minor things users have found should all be fixed swiftly. As always, I’ll keep you posted on how things progress on the forums and chats, as well as on Twitter and Mastodon. 

Right now we are aiming to open up the next round of pre-orders on the day that the second and third batch ship out to end-users. I can currently only offer a guess as to when this will be – likely sometime between October 25 and November 4. 

Before wrapping this section up, let me discuss end-user reception and feedback. I am happy to say that Pinebook Pro reception has been overwhelmingly positive. There is an entire thread dedicated to people’s early impressions of the Pinebook Pro, which I encourage all of you to read – especially if you’re on the fence if you want one for yourself. Let me add that I am impressed with the quality of the feedback thus far – it has been on-point and constructive. I am actively monitoring the information flooding in on the forums and chats, and from what I’ve gathered the grand majority of users are impressed with the hardware and happy with the default software. This is obviously a huge relief to us. A number of people have already posted pictures and youtube videos of their Pinebook Pro running and showcasing its various features, so I am posting them below for all of you to check out. 

User submitted pictures (by Mrfixit2001 & kunger)

Quick unboxing video

That said, there appear to be some minor problems with additional hardware and the keyboard firmware. Let’s start with hardware: reports indicated that the optional PCIe-NVMe adapter can push the trackpad up-and-out of the chassis if a NVMe SSD is too thick or the adapter is installed incorrectly. It will take us some time to replicate this and figure out what can be done; I don’t have a solution for this from the top of my head. My guess is that it is caused by the thickness of particular NVMe drives, in which case we’ll have to compile a list of drives that fit inside the Pinebook Pro chassis. We’ll try things out on our end and let you know. Onto trackpad/keyboard firmware: we’re aware that under particular circumstances the trackpad/keyboard firmware can misbehave causing delayed input. From my testing, it seems to be a relatively rare occurrence, but when it happens it is indeed quite annoying. Thankfully, we have the source code for the utility used to alter and patch the keyboard firmware – it was open sourced to us by the keyboard vendor. We’re in the process of building and testing this utility on ARM. Rest assured that this is an issue that we’ll solve in the future, and it should be a relatively painless process for end-users to get the firmware patched. The utility has a simple GUI, all you need to do is press ‘START’ and wait for the software to run its course installing the keyboard/ trackpad firmware binary.

PinePhone prototypes and developer pre-orders

Last month we opened PinePhone pre-orders for developers intention to have them shipped by now. However, right before assembling complete prototypes we received word from partner-project developers who already had core PinePhone components, that the digitizer has issues with registering swipe-motions. Based on this information we were forced to hold off on starting production and turned to another vendor for a suitable digitizer replacement for the PinePhone. Sadly, the time it took to deliver and test the new part was long enough that we were unable to complete prototype production before the current Chinese National week-long holiday, which is ending on Monday October 8th. This is another case of bad luck we ran into last month. Despite the unfortunate delay in assembling the phones, we are happy that this flaw was found prior to the devices being shipped out.

But it is hardly all doom and gloom. We’ve tested the hardware last week and are now positive that the new digitizers work well. This means that the PinePhones for developers can be built once the aforementioned holiday finishes next week. The pre-order coupons for approved developers have now started going out and will keep on being dispatched until the end of next week, and possibly even further into the future. I’ve seen numerous reports that people have gotten their coupons already. Some of you who follow us on social media may have also already seen that a handful of key developers, whom we’ve been working with since the very start of the project, have gotten their prototypes ahead of the holidays. In fact, Martijn from PostmarketOS even built his unit on camera for all of you to enjoy. Check out the video below.

Building a PinePhone Prototype and running PostmarketOS

The initial feedback from those who got their hands on the PinePhone prototypes has been great. Marius from UBPorts shared a video showing that the prototype with the new digitizer not only looks great but also runs Ubuntu Touch very well. It’s noteworthy that both PostmarketOS shown in Martijn’s video, and Ubuntu Touch in Marius’ video run the open-source Lima driver. This means that UI performance will only improve with time as the Lima driver gets polished and improved upon. From the videos circulating online you can also see that most of the core features now work flawlessly on many available OSs. Even browsing the web and watching youtube already works very well on most systems; I recently tested a recent build of LuneOS, and I was completely blown away by how much of the core functionality is already in a mature state. The prototype isn’t completely problem-free however, and the remaining bits and bobs will need to be addressed before production of the Brave Heart editions starts in late October. I’ll keep you posted.  

Ubuntu Touch running smooth on the PinePhone

Ubuntu Touch on the PinePhone

The PineTime 

Finally some truly good news – the PineTime. I’ll immodestly take the credit for the start of this project, since I pushed for us to explore the potential for creating a FOSS smartwatch for some time now. After initial talks, we quickly agreed that the PineTime should be a side-project (like the CUBE FOSS camera), completely community driven and positioned as a complementary device to the PinePhone. Therefore, rather than looking into creating a complex device (which would be cool too! – it’s something we may look into in the future), we opted to make a simple and inexpensive smartwatch based on a FOSS friendly SOC. To this end, we quickly determined that the core functionality of the watch should be similar to that of the Pebble, but with some modern functionality, such as a colour LCD touch screen and a heart rate monitor. 

Early on in the planning process we also decided on using a square watch chassis for the PineTime. We had a choice of a few form factors, including a round-one, but decided to proceed with an unassuming and simple design. The main reason for the choice of square chassis, however, is not the looks but rather ease of development. Simply put, it’s easier to develop an OS using a square display. It was a safer choice from a development standpoint, especially when taking into account that entire OSs need to be built, or ported to, the PineTime watch. Apart from the display and SOC choices, we also had a few other criteria in mind: the watch had to have multi-day battery (a week at minimum), feature a touch panel, be waterproof and lightweight. We have started writing up the Wiki for the PineTime, so if you want to learn more technical details of the watch you know where to find them. I’m including some prototype pictures below. 

Prototype on wrist

Development kit

Charging dock

Internals exposed

The core idea behind the PineTime is to have a simple and open-source watch that connects to your Linux smartphone. It will push notifications from your phone to your wrist, inform you of incoming calls, help you keep track of your activity, but it won’t attempt to replace your smartphone. Not to mention that it will not need to be recharged every day – we currently aim at a 10 day battery life. I trust that many of you feel that this is the correct approach to creating a wearable device, and I hope that developers will offer an interesting range of systems and front-ends to run on it. We have now assigned all dev kits to developers who contacted us and will start production of the kits this month. We cannot wait to see what people and the community will be able to do with the little device. 

There is one last bit worth touching upon in relation to the PineTime. A smartwatch of this type requires a companion app on the smartphone. This effectively means that PineTime developers will have to work together with – or at the very least get help from – Linux-on-Phone developers to bring apps to the different OS platforms. Then there is the question of creating a companion app for Android phones, since I am sure many users relying on open variants of Android will be interested in the PineTime too. As I’ve already mentioned, this is a project which we’ll leave with the community – it will be ready when it’s ready, be it in 3 or 6 months, or even a year. On our end, we’re ready to start production of the watch as early as January 2020. 

As for pricing, we are presently aiming for a price point of approx. $20. The price includes the watch and a charging dock. We decided on selling the 20mm watch-straps separately, since most people have their own preferences of style, and hope to carry a wide selection at launch. These straps will vary in price, starting at approx $3 for regular silicone sports straps. You can obviously pick up any standard 20mm watch straps on your own, they will most likely fit the PineTime. 

Closing thoughts

We’ve heard community members as well as podcast hosts express a concern that ‘we’re stretching ourselves thin’ with respect to all the projects that we have in the pipeline. This is not completely accurate, please let me explain. We’re not stretched thin from a production, manufacturing or financial standpoint. The Pinebook Pro, the PinePhone and the PineTime are all produced by different factories and the work on these devices is carried out by separate engineering teams. Hence, it is not true that a delay in the shipping of one device will necessitate the delay of another device; to use the events of last month as an example, the delay in Pinebook Pro production and shipment last month had nothing to do with the delay in shipping out PinePhones to developers. As I have outlined in earlier sections of this community update, these situations were purely an unfortunate coincidence. 

That said, we – the people end-users and factory representatives have contact with on a daily basis, as well as the people behind logistics – are indeed stretched thin due to the workload brought about by manufacturing delays. I think I have some 30 emails still sitting unanswered in my mailbox, not because I didn’t want to answer them but rather because I’ve been busy doing other things that are more urgent. When everything runs smoothly, productiontion and shipments are timely, the number of devices produced doesn’t impact our workload. Its first when things go South that we get overwhelmed. With Murphy’s law in full effect last month, we did ‘get stretched thin’ because we had to deal with multiple issues at the same time. 

We’ve now placed some of the secondary projects on temporary hold – at least until we ship the PinePhone Brave Heart and October Pinebook Pro batches. This clears out a little bit of space for us to deal with any unforeseen events related to these projects. At the same time, don’t worry, we’ve got a lot of cool stuff coming in early 2020 – including the PineTab.   

That wraps it up for this month. Thanks to all of you guys who are there cheering us on, it really makes a difference. 

69 thoughts on “October Update: PineTime, Delays and Shipping News

  1. Great to see all of this out in the open… warts and all! 🙂 One of the biggest issues I see with communities and projects is the desire to ‘go quiet’ when there is a problem, as people don’t want to admit mistakes have been made, or things haven’t gone as planned… even though that’s perfectly normal, and part of the challenge! Looking forward to seeing what happens with the PineTime, and can’t wait to get my hands on one once dev kits become more generally available… I can see so many potential applications outside of it being ‘just a watch’ 😉 And there’s also that ANSI keyboard pinebook pro… no, I haven’t forgotten it! 😛

    1. Hey Pete! 😀 The ANSI keyboard is still in the works this year – currently we’re thinking it will be made for the December batch.

  2. I think delays are expected, don’t worry about that. I really enjoy what everyone is doing here, so thanks to pine64 and all devs who are working on it, i’m really impressed how smooth ubuntu touch is, congrats.

    I have a question for pine64 staff, is in the roadmap a laptop like the pinebook, but blob-free from firmware till os?

    1. Thanks for the update, and those unlucky cumulative factors. I would rather have safe humans and a delayed electronic item any day. So please pass on our thanks to all the people in your supply lines and wish them a great holiday. In addition I hope you appreciate that you put an incredible amount of work into these projects and it’s just fantastic to see it all become a real thing, so thank you. And personally I can’t wait to get the PBP and now very excited by the pine phone and watch. Oh s#£- I’m turning in to a pine fanboy! What’s next pine TV or pine tunes? Joking aside thanks to all the Pine team for giving me something fun to do I think you guys do a great job.

    2. Just talked to ayufan about this over a meal today. Yes, this is a prospect for the future. FOSS, secure boot and no blobs (just perhaps wifi/bt module).

  3. honestly the most important thing IMO is the phone development. The Free Software community is still majorly underserved in having a truly open and free phone. There are some good laptop options around but really still very little in the way of an affordable and good phone option. Please keep up the good work.

  4. Glad to see a watch companion for Linux phones!
    I was wondering what would I do when I make the switch from android to PinePhone, what would I do with my loved Peeble Time Steel. I’m happy to see a replacement for that with10 days battery, water resistant (I hope to have a shower or swim with it) and able to see the phone notifications, almost perfect for me. And for that price, if it has an android companion, I bet many android users would try it as well.
    What would be great would be a development platform for others to create tiny watchapps using the phone GPS and other tools, and in a future perhaps the inclusion of a mic and let answer messages via voice with any OSS STT engine.

  5. I’m a new customer and i am very impressed with the work you are doing! Thanks for this update, I’m very exicted to get my hands on some of your devices! I feel like the wait will be worth it to me personally.

    Speaking for myself, I understand how this industry is not push button receive device, and even the simplest sounding thing can quickly transform into 24 months of engineering time and millions of dollars, but I suspect that the resulting fun and value at the end of the tunnel will be more than worth the wait and uncertainty!

    Thanks for providing this great service, I see a lot of the value here not showing up on paper (such as the open source contributions that result from these devices)

    Thanks again and good luck 🙂

  6. Great update!
    While dealing with the delays and unexpected issues isn’t the most pleasant thing to do, huge props for being transparent about what’s happening and mostly *why* it’s happening.
    It’s refreshing to see such open communication and to understand more about the process.

    You guys are awesome! Looking forward for the next update

  7. Interesting & informative update. Thank you. Glad many people are working towards having a full, open sourced software eco-system, (desktop, laptop, phone, tablet, watch).

    Angel – While tiny apps would be nice, (and other things), first generation FOSS watches will likely be under powered. Both on-purpose to give longer battery life, and as a side effect of using a SoC that has open enough documentation to write open source software.

    1. I’m in charge the first PineTime will not be a Pebble. I’m really happy to see a Linux Watch and I agree first things come first, and releasing a working smartwatch with the very basics (those are notifications, calendar, calling control, alarms, and obviously date and time) with a good battery life and water resistant must be the main effort and what most users are looking for. All the rest are extras, even the HR sensor it will come (and the supposed companion app to record and monitor the sleep and activity, without which the sensor is useless)

      I also agree that adding more devices (like mic or GPS) would penalize battery life and would add complexity to the watch development, and to be honest, I didn’t use pebble’s mic so often, and since rebble, nothing at all. It’s a cool feature if it can be used with privacy-minded open source projects like DeepSpeech, but I wouldn’t use with the giants.

      But about the software, I think is very important to release an open smartwatch, and let the community to expand its capabilities, just like linux does, at least at watchapp level. That was what made Pebble so great (well, that and everything it had to do it did without failures).

  8. Wonderful device. I will buy at least one, but maybe I can find usage for my employer 🙂 What would be a super useful addition for me: NFC support for access control (or any other access control support). Mi Band 3+4 have NFC support, but it required a lot of effort to be used in own projects. I would rather spend that time in an open source device….

    Thank you for working on that device.

  9. I certainly hope that your physical problems are not too serious, and that you are ‘back to speed’ soon. We are all pulling for you.
    This is NOT a “pile more on you” list, but merely one for you to put in your “Suggestions From Serious Linux Users For OneOfTheseDays” file folder, to be suck in the back of your desk drawer–and pulled out whenever you people have ‘brainstorming sessions’.
    1. I have been waiting a long time for for the promises of that computer-in-your-pocket (called a ‘smartphone’) to be unleashed. It appears as though you are absolutely on the right track with the PinePhone. Keep the momentum going; you’ve got a winner.
    2. Pinebook Pro–have you ever heard the phrase “an embarrassment of riches”? I have an “embarrassment of Linux laptops”. So much so that I’ll wait until the Pinebook Pro is available with a back-lit, ANSI keyboard. Then I’ll have a (one more) unique Linux laptop. (I DID pass along information about PBPs being made available to reviewers to Jack M. Gemain of *LinuxInsider*. Hope he’s taken you up on this; he’s one of the best).

    1. Thanks! I’m ok, recovering. 1) the PinePhone is also super cool because its literally community ran – and its not a ‘slogan’, its really been built from ground up with linux devs in mind. And this has obviously really paid off – they’re doing an amazing job. 2) We will certainly iterate on the Pinebook line in the future – also the Pro. But I must say, we’re very happy with how it is – not sure if we’ll do a backlit kb version in the future … who knows. ANSI is coming however 🙂

  10. Thank you a lot for the transparence, it’s insightful to understand about delays and all the work involved. You folks are awesome! With regards to being stretched thin – please also look after yourselves, look after your health, your families, don’t overwork, and especially don’t “burn out”. Too many start-ups have compromised on a healthy balance, and have disappeared as quickly as they came. A delay of a month, or two, or three, or whatever, does not matter much – I want your company being around for a long time!

  11. When big companies postponed the release dates of their products (including movie releases), it’s quite normal to have delays, something that seems to escape in many people’s mind particularly from the crowdfunding platforms. Fortunately, I didn’t read much about people being angry of this and that in this forum so it’s refreshing to see more positive around here.

    I like the specs of the Pinebook Pro, and I’m also relieved that the feedback is mostly positive. I’m going to hold on until there are news and updates for the PineTab. I’m not doing anything fancy, just some daily browsing and some programming. I am curious if I could boot the Pinebook Pro and/or the PineTab via USB, like a Windows Computer Stick or some other customized OS on USB to run hardware diagnostics?

  12. Regarding PineTime and Android, perhaps support for it could be added to Gadgetbridge. It’s an open source app supports a number of smartwatch makes and models. It completely replaces the first-party app that came with my Amazfit Bip, even supporting firmware upload.

    https://gadgetbridge.org/

    1. We have. But, honestly, the current LCD is perfectly readable in direct sunlight AND the battery life is in excess of a week … those sharp memory LCDs are also difficult to source. Do you inherently like the Sharp LCD better for some reason? or are you just worried about battery life?

  13. Seconding everybody else here about how nice it is to have open and clear communication about what’s going on in the production process. We’re pulling for you!

    And also for you personally. May the recovery be smooth and quick.

  14. Hi Lukasz

    Hope you’re doing better 🙂
    We’re currently working on integrating a RockPro64 board running Android with one of the two cameras from the shop, but we’re finding it extremely difficult to get any support from Pine64 (there are issues with the cameras), both via the support/ticket system and in the forum. Do you have any tips on how to reach anyone that can help?
    We really like the board and the concept, but I’m getting more and more worried we have to drop the platform since the development and support around the RockPro64, and related products, seems very flaky at best..

    1. Hey Jesper, we don’t have any FOSS developers working on android for the RK devices, including the RockPro64. All we have are generic builds from RK. If you need help with these builds, then chats are t he best place to ask.

      1. Ok, I get that part, but the biggest issue I have right now are the Pine store-bought cameras, which according to the store description should work out of the box with the stock Android builds for the RockPro64 (basically the fixed focus camera image looks terrible, and the auto focus camera doesn’t auto focus, but looks otherwise fine). I’ve tried writing the support/info multiple times over the last month, but have yet to receive an answer.. And I haven’t been able to find anyone on the forum or the chats that can help me either, or that seem to have any experience with the cameras being sold. So I’m a bit at a loss at the moment, trying to find answers for the customer we are developing this project for.

  15. As many said above – Personal thanks to Lukasz for open and honest blog posts – it’s one of things that positively differentiate pine64 from other startup companies! And, of course, get better soon!

    I’m one of those patiently waiting mostly for PineTab – although plans might change in future, I currently have budget reserved only for this one gadget. I wonder if many would agree to get a “braveheart” edition of PineTab – personally I’m fine with current known issues (lack of drivers for front camera and screen rotation not working on some desktop environments due to lack of screen rotation feature both in GPU and software), especially with youtube videos of fancy things working on it appearing pretty much every day.

    1. Hey Aleksei. We still need to improve two things on the PineTab based on feedback from devs: the pogo-pin connector is very fragile (and we know people will open the case and likely break it) and the speakers are really poor. So these two, relatively minor, things need to be addressed first. And yes, it looks like software is coming together – which is very cool.

      1. Hi Lukasz, thanks for reply! Right, although I wouldn’t hesitate to buy PineTab even with these two known issues, I understand that it would be bad for company image to release a product with them. Thanks for keeping us updated and keep rolling!

  16. I’m glad to hear you’re recoving, Lukasz, take it easy. Also, I hope the staff in Hong Kong and China remain safe. None of us want others to suffer or risk their safety for our hobby, and it would go against the principle of the open source community for you or other staff to receive anything other than first class treatment.

    The PBP seems awesome, everybody who’s contributed should be really pleased and smug about it, I’m sure you’ve achieved it for one hundredth of the budget Dell would have for designing a new laptop and putting it into production! This is definitely one of the flagship projects of the opensource world. I hope I get a chance to contribute, even though that will be minuscule compared to the many giants who’ve worked on it.

  17. Thankyou for your clarity and transparency. I’m just about holding my breath waiting on the braveheart pinephone. So as soon as I have it stable I can begin the slow painful process of firing google. Taking the time to let us peep behind th curtian instead of just going dark when you have an issue is much appreciated. It makes trusting y’all much easier in a day when so much information that should be public is held closely by companies with more power than most governments.

  18. Guys, with Apple and Google being open supporters of the Chinese regime, I can no longer use Apple or Google products in good conscience, so in the smart phone and tablet space that means I’m only left with one option – Pine64. Please let me know if there’s anything I can do to help.

    1. @Bo Haan
      I think your only real choice for a computer which minimises the use of components from China would be to try and buy a laptop from Samsung or LG which is actually manufactured in Korea.

  19. @Paul M I also doubt it would escape from China’s manufacturing, because the component inside most probably has its origin in China. Escape nowadays from China’s tentacles is almost impossible.
    I think he is talking about those companies are in agreement with China’s government and blocks their request, help to censor and stuff like this. By having a truly free operative system would help to bypass many of censorship tools totalitarian governments has.

  20. Bummer to hear about the setbacks, but thank you for the transparency! Looking forward to shipping notification for my Pinebook Pro!

  21. czemu to takie wolne
    komorka dziala strasznie wolno, za to ubuntu dziala (nie smiga, ale dziala)
    chyba za malo portow, jak ja do komorki podlacze myszke i klawiature (i np. ethernet by dostac sie do routera)
    wiele narzedzi dzis jest na usb i najlepiej by to bylo host usb-c

    1. Slow? its running FOSS WIP drivers. Do keep in mind the price of the device.
      Also, how would you fit more ports on a moderately slim mobile device? As for USB, there is USB type C on the phone, so not sure what your concern is.

    2. Hey dude, all those projects are simply awesome. The meaning of create a 100% Linux ecosystem worth all our praise. Perhaps you are wondering what is that Linux-thing, so this is not the place you’re looking for.
      All people here have this in mind, and we’re aware of the limitations of the hardware and software, as all this is pioneering, so all of us will gladly buy the devices to support the initiative and be pioneers as well.
      That being said, I had to use a translator to understand you, I think you are quite lazy not just because you had to write in English so the rest of us wouldn’t need to translate your comment, but because when you complain about the products, not even differentiate the phone from the laptop, making your comment just a bunch of paddles

  22. Hey,
    meybe creating a keyboard?
    QMK format, many DIY, 84 keys, small etc. Why not create a little keyboard with open firmware and meybe acumulator removable. Why creating watch,?
    many people using keyboards! good keyboards

    1. I assume that your question about the keyboard regards the PinePhone? We will create a keyboard – but making one is both time consuming and expensive. So, we’ll look into it once we’re done with shipping the Brave Heart edition PinePhones.

      As for the watch — let me inverse your question, why not create a smartwatch?

  23. The “keyboard comment” comment from ‘Popkoo’ and (1) your response; and (2) the fact that the I²C data bus is available (via ‘pogo’ pins), got me thinking–

    Everything you are doing is continually ‘pushing the envelope’ as regards elegant, low-cost implementation(s). Your statement that keyboard design is time-consuming and expensive is correct–to a certain, and in some cases, very large extent.
    There have been very good phone keyboards and some not-so-good; and some very expensive not-so-good ones, as well as some cheap, not-so-good ones.
    With the challenge of a PinePhone keyboard, you have here the opportunity to ‘keep up the momentum’ of an elegant, low-cost design, and keep showing the world what can be done by THINKING about the problem first–in great detail–and only then putting the results of those thoughts into action.
    One thing you may want to do is open a discussion with your readership as to desired keyboard characteristics. Sometimes very good ideas come from such an effort.

    “There is no problem so complicated that you can’t find a very simple answer to it if you look at it right.”
    –Douglas Adams, “The Salmon of Doubt”

    1. Thanks James. We’ve settled on the keyboard design a couple of months back. What I will say is that we’ll not be cutting corners on this one (hence the ‘expensive’ comment – 6 figures USD) and that we’re heavily drawing inspiration from Psion 5, which may be the best small form-factor keyboard of all time. But you know us, it won’t be expensive despite being quite premium; in the ballpark of $25-45 I imagine.

      Please take everything I wrote with a grain of salt – I broke my own firm rule of not speaking about something that isn’t in the process of being materialized, but at the same time I want to assure you – and anyone else reading this – that a good keyboard will eventually be available for the PinePhone.

      1. No pressure, take care of yourselfs. You are no good to us if you are burned out 🙂

        Keyboard for the Pinephone is a dream come true! (again, no pressure) The Nokia N900 spoiled a generation of tinkerers with a keyboard and full-blown Linux in a small form factor. I have been searching for a similar device ever since.

        Keep up the good work! You have one customer for a Braveheart right here.

      2. “…we’re heavily drawing inspiration from Psion 5, which may be the best small form-factor keyboard of all time…”.

        Absolutely outstanding decision. You’ve proven Douglas Adams right, yet again.
        **************************************************
        “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication‭” ‬-‭ ‬Leonardo da Vinci

        “‬Elegance [via simplicity] is not a dispensable luxury but a quality that decides between success and failure‭” ‬-‭ ‬Edsger W.‭ ‬Dijkstra

  24. Congrats team and wish u a swift recovery lukasz.
    Please i bumped into this thread now, please just one question.
    Has the preorder for pinetab begun or ended?
    Please how do i get in The loop? I cant afford to miss pls

    1. Thanks Pipi. The PineTab is on hold for a short time, so we can focus on getting the delayed Pinebook Pros and Brave Heart edition PinePhones out the door.

      There are also a few things that are still to be resolved on the PineTab – 1) a complete OS build; 2) fragile pogo-pin connector (needs to be strengthened / improved; and 3) a better speaker (current one is poor). Whilst its on hold, a lot of development is going into making the PineTab end-user ready. I expect that we’ll be focusing solely on it once the Brave Heart PinePhones ship.

  25. Ok, finally! I know this project only a few days ago (found by case when I was looking for a lte open module) but it is simply THE linux smartphone I was waiting for.
    I like all specifications, bootable expandable memory, dualboot, unlocked bootloader, flash with dd, replaceable battery, mechanical security switches, opensource (no blob), and not just support for a distro but a platform that supports all interested distros (which are also all very different) which means never again planned obsolescence for the software.
    And the price is really affordable.
    I really think that this is the best smartphone on the market, I would like to buy it at the first “brave hearth” but I did not understand if the phone could change waiting for the final release of 2020.
    Fantastically, I like to think that one day I can also mount a display e-ink but until then, have you thought about the case for the phone? 😀
    Maybe it’s a standard size and I can find something compatible everywhere.
    Another pretty thing, the phone is really nice, but also your logo is very nice, I’m waiting for the moment when the projects for 3d printers will start to come out to have a cover with the logo embossed on the back 😛

  26. Sorry for the long series of messages, another thing I would like about the pinephone is that the speaker is mono and not stereo. The stereo speakers for mobile phones have always seemed to me a big stupid thing! The sound source is too close for it to make sense to have two speakers, better to have only one!

  27. I hope you’ll get a Pinebook Pro in the hands of Christopher Barnett at Explaining Computers (YouTube) for review ASAP.

    A video showing how to dismantle and reassemble one would be a good resource for anyone who wants to upgrade or replace early hardware. .

  28. So excited to see an open source smartwatch! As you all consider OS’s and projects to reach out to, I would highly recommend that you talk to the folks over at AsteroidOS, a FOSS project devoted to open source smartwatch software! Keep up the great work Pine64! 🙂

        1. I wouldn’t mind getting one “PineTime 3” with better hardware specs, more expensive, Linux-based, and the perfect companion for the Linux Phone.

  29. yay, I collected my PBP from the “local” DHL office this morning – they wouldn’t let me change the delivery address to my workplace despite registering, and paying the import duty of nearly £50 immediately.

    anyway, it’s an amazing machine, fantastic value, lovin’ it already and looking forward to helping out on the forums in any way I can.

    p.s. default username/pass is rock/rock

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