December Update: Thank You For 2019!

Lukasz Erecinski Dec 5. 2019 86

Welcome to the last community update of the year. I think that 2019 will be remembered as the year PINE64 transitioned from being a relatively niche FOSS hardware project to a mainstream one. This transition is an exciting prospect for all of us involved with PINE64, and we cannot wait to see how the project develops over the next 12 months. 

Let me take this opportunity to thank those of you whom have been with us thus far: the partner-project developers, community contributors, mods and admins, shipping and assembly teams, and – above all else – the end-users who make this project possible. Thank you for actively shaping PINE64 and making it one of the most vibrant and welcoming communities in the FOSS space. The amount of progress we’ve made in just one year is incredible and the success is truly collectively ours. Thank you! 

Here’s the TL;DR:

  • Next Community Update January 12th ; Give us some feedback
  • The PineTime is now in the PINE Store ; Great development
  • PineTab early adopter pre-orders likely in January ; New keyboard ; LTE/ SSD adapter
  • Brave Heart PinePhones worked on ; shipping early January  ; PinePhone cases ; First phone call ; PinePhone keyboard
  • Continual good reception ; Keyboard / TP firmware update available ; A lot of OSs coming ; regional keyboards ; OG Pinebook upgrade kit likely in January 2020.
  • New announcements at FOSDEM 2020 ; teaser of what’s to come next year
  •  Happy New Year!


I’ll try to keep this section short. It’s unlikely that I’ll be able to publish the next Community Update on 05/01/2020 seeing as I’ll be traveling during the Holiday and New Year’s period. In other words, I won’t have an opportunity to sit down and write the blog until I am back home on January 7th. I feel like the earliest date I can commit to for an update blog entry is 12/01/2020. In the meantime, if some noteworthy or urgent information surface then I’ll post ad-hoc updates in the forum news section. Make sure to check it once in a while during the holiday period and in early January.  

I’d also appreciate if you could fill in this short poll/ questionnaire concerning your satisfaction with various aspects of PINE64 as a project. Please feel free to share any thoughts you may have in this forum thread. It’s important for us to get feedback on which cogs of the project are turning well and which ones are grinding. Over the past year we completely redid key aspects of our community infrastructure – the website, forums,  Wiki, the chats, etc., These changes are somewhat obvious, since many of you interact with them daily, but what you may not be aware of is that the ‘back-end’, so to speak, has received a lot of attention; namely, we have taken steps to improve PINE Store support, which includes timely responses to your order queries and up-to-date information on your order status. 

Lastly, I would also like to mention that it’s now easy to sign up for the blog. If you scroll down to the bottom of the page you’ll find a small widget with an email sign-up field appropriately titled “Subscribe to the PINE64 Blog”. Enter your email address and go through the motions to confirm that you actually wish to follow the blog.


I have the distinct pleasure of beginning this section by announcing that a limited production-run of the PineTime development kit is now available in the PINE Store. You can pick up a kit with a (really nice) set of silicone straps and a charging dock for $24.99. You also have a choice of two shipping methods to choose from. If it turns out that the PineTime kit proves to be a popular PINE Store item then we’ll make sure to build more units at the earliest possible date. I don’t want to promise anything at this point, but it is possible that the PineTime development kit will be available permanently available in the store alongside the watch in the future. We just feel like it’s in line with the community spirit of this project. 

Indeed, the PineTime has insofar proven a fantastic side-project for us. I am literally in awe of the effort, creativity and experimentation in the PineTime development group, which I make sure to check into at least weekly to catch up on progress. I couldn’t write this community update and omit Lup Yuen Lee’s phenomenal article on the PineTime titled “Sneak Peek of PineTime Smart Watch… And why it’s perfect for teaching IoT” which discusses the PineTime, it’s potential real-world applications and strengths as an educational device. I highly recommend you read it even if you’re not interested in the PineTime – its that good. 

As I’ve mentioned in the past, and on more than one occasion, we consider the PineTime a side-project that is solely dependent on community efforts. What I mean by this is; there are no dates to be met and no ETA to speak of. We literally sit on the sidelines and watch how the project evolve in an organic way. This also means that the development process is much more relaxed and it accommodates experimentation and out-of-the-box thinking. In light of this I feel that everyone should have the opportunity to take a shot at developing for this platform, because only good things can come out of more people having a kit to toy with.

TinyGo on the PineTime by @_CONEJO

Picture via @codingfield


We’ve heard you, you want an early adopters edition of the PineTab. For those of you who do not follow this blog on a regular basis, let me explain; last month I asked if you want us to gear up for an early production run of the PineTab, and the answer was a resounding ‘yes!’. I’d like to thank all of you for the encouraging responses in the comments section, on the forum and chats, which ultimately convincing me (and more importantly TL) that an early adopters PineTab batch is viable. As things stand, we’re currently planning on making pre-orders for the PineTab available sometime in January of 2020. Mind you, this is a tentative time-frame however, as it is largely dependent on how PinePhone shipping progresses in the coming month. In short, we do not wish to find ourselves in a situation where we have to divide our attention between two important and highly anticipated projects. Tackling one thing at a time is usually the wisest thing to do. 

Last time I wrote about the PineTab I mentioned that we’re doing research on a new and improved keyboard for it. We realise that whilst some of you will gravitate towards using touch-input based mobile OSs, there are also many users who will prefer to use a more traditional Linux desktop on the PineTab. To this end I am now happy to report that we have settled on the type of keyboard we will be selling for the PineTab. The core mechanics of the keyboard – that is to say the way it attaches magnetically to the PineTab and the way it folds – remains pretty much identical to the original concept, that we have been showcasing for nearly a year. That said, the material of the cover and the keyboard keycap styles have significantly changed for the better. The new cover material is made out of durable synthetic leather and the keyboard has a familiar chiclet layout. I am also happy to announce that the PineTab keyboard is backlit with 3-step brightness control. 

Another accessory for the PineTab that you’ll also be able to order is a M.2 storage and LTE modem adapter. This adapter makes it possible to install any M.2 SATA SSD or LTE modem into the PineTab, further improving its core functionality. I am including a picture of the adapter below. 

To learn more about the PineTab please read my Community Update from August this year.

PineTab M.2 LTE Modem/ SSD SATA adapter

The PineTab will use this type of keyboard (not identical)


There is currently a lot happening in the PinePhone development space. Both hardware and software is shaping up well and coming along very fast. Developers have been steadily getting their development units over the past two weeks and I myself got a PinePhone just a couple days ago. While there will be a handful of improvements and minor aesthetic changes made to Brave Heart PinePhones (aesthetically, most notably the texture on the back-cover of the phone) the current dev phones already feel very polished and sturdy. I must admit that every time I pick it up there is also something completely surreal about it and the fact that it’s a device dreamed up by a handful of guys over a beer rather than executives in a boardroom. I made a short video showcasing the PinePhone developer edition the other day – I am linking it below for you to check out. In the video I discuss the phone hardware itself, and I intend to follow it up with a video looking at the software next week. With so much happening with software development I want to give developers a week or two with their phones before making a video on their work.

A close look at the PinePhone Hardware

Speaking of developers, thanks to their dedication we have identified a few minor hardware issues with the current development phones. Most of the issues have already been addressed, but there is one outstanding problem – namely reception of the WiFi antenna. In short, the antenna needs to be retuned and this will take a week or two. As a result, Brave Heart PinePhones will first ship in early January rather than late December as we originally planned. We’re sorry for this delay, but we don’t want to cut corners on the Brave Heart batch and shove it out the door just to make the originally announced 2019 release schedule. After all, Brave Heart backers are some of our most enthusiastic end-users, and we want to deliver the best early adopter phone we possibly can. At the same time we also promise that there will be no further major delays, as all phones need to ship before Chinese New Year, no matter what. 

About shipping; we’re currently experimenting with new shipping methods. While DHL Express is great, at least for the most part, it is also expensive and in some geographic areas more “problematic” (*wink wink*) than in others. We know that many of you have been asking for us to consider other shipping methods so we figured that now is as good of a time as ever. I can tell you my experience with the shipping method destined for the EU: tracking was poor, but the parcel was delivered relatively fast (14 days) and I was not asked to pay tax. This experience appears to also be the case for most other developers. Regarding the tracking, there were no updates from the moment the parcel left Hong Kong until it reached the destination country, but once it arrived I received up-to-date tracking from the local parcel delivery services. Overall, I feel this is a good compromise and – granted we get positive feedback from you guys and gals – we’re stick to it for mass production phones in 2020. 

Let’s talk about upcoming accessories for the PinePhone. I can already tell you that there are third parties actively looking into making their own accessories – including some that utilize the I2C pogo pins – for the PinePhone, and we simply cannot wait to see what they come up with. We’re very happy to see people make use of the released case-back panel file to design their own peripherals! For now, however, all I can only write about accessories that we have in the pipeline. The first type of which are cases – this is something I previously mentioned in a post about our commitment to give back to the community and society

PInePhone Soft Case Render

PInePhone Hard Case Render

The see-through case is made of soft silicone and we’ve gone to great lengths to make sure that it is nicely molded. You know that I never try to ‘sell you stuff’ – but it would be nice if you’d pick one of these up cases; all proceeds from the soft cases will be relayed to a fund, independently chaired, and aimed at doing our share to close the digital gap. The hard case is made out of resin and is black in colour. There is potential to have the cases in different colours in the future; leave a comment below telling me what colours you’d like to see. As for the case itself, it is very resilient and really well molded. Both of the cases will be available in March of 2020 for the official PinePhone launch or sooner.  

We’re well aware that an accessory that many of you want for your PinePhone is a keyboard. We have a good understanding how important a keyboard can be to a Linux phone, effectively turning it from a smartphone into a Linux PDA. We are therefore not cutting any corners and, instead of reinventing the wheel, we’ll be making a keyboard heavily inspired by PSION Series 5 keyboards from the 1990’s. We hope to not only replicated the usability of the PSION Series 5 keyboard but also the tactile feel it is known for. The keyboard will use the I2C connection on the back of the phone, which will allow it to open and close identically to the Series 5 PDAs. Due to the compatibility with the existing original Pinebook and the development for the PineTab, as well as the ability of the PinePhone to dual boot from SD, I expect that you’ll eventually be able to run a fully fledged Linux OS with the keyboard attached. Many probably want to know the availability of the keyboard, which is understandable, but for now we’re talking to companies so we can get the molding process going. So, for now, I can only vaguely say that it will be available sometime in 2020. 

Original PSION Series 5 keyboard – inspiration for the PinePhone keyboard

The last but certainly not the least important subject I wish to discuss is software status. The different OSs are making great progress and I am happy to report that, as of today, all key features of the phone work. That’s right, over the past week the two missing pieces – the driver for the front facing camera and much of the modem routing for voice call capability – have been sorted out. Below you can find a video showcasing the front camera FOSS driver in action (same camera on a different device) as well as a recording of a quick voice-call I had with Marius from UBPorts who called me from his PinePhone. On the subject of placing phone calls, work on VoLTE is proceeding well and we’re getting help directly from the modem manufacturer to have the functionality operation as soon a possible. Stay tuned for more information on VoLTE in next month’s update. Lastly, the ANX7688 driver which is responsible for power on the PinePhone is now working correctly and capable of performing a power delivery (PD) handshake with compatible chargers to deliver the optimal wattage (15W). 

Before I wrap this section up I feel it necessary to underline that despite the truly excellent software progress in recent weeks, the PinePhone is not yet ready to be a daily driver. I am writing this in the hope of preventing people from developing a false impression that the Brave Heart phones can run feature-complete OSs at this point in time. This is still very much a work-in-progress project as of December 2019, and various aspects of the software needs time to be properly implemented into the respective OSs. The fact that all key functionality has been worked out doesn’t automatically mean that each and single OS will be able to implement these features on-the-fly into their systems in a matter of weeks. Such implementations takes time and effort. In other words, if you’re getting a Brave Heart edition phone — have the mindset of a tester and contributor rather than an end-user. This should already be apparent to you from previous blog-posts, but I just wanted to spell it out. In turn, by March 2020 you will be the first to have a fully functional mainline Linux phone that you’ll be happy to show off to others. 

Happy family 😉

Pinebook Pro

The Pinebook Pro has continually been met with a positive reception from developers, end-users as well as the media. If you haven’t done so yet, I highly encourage you to read Pinebook Pro reviews by LINUX Unplugged and POCKETNOW, which offer fair and balanced overview of the device. Below, I’m also linking two video reviews which I suggest you check out. As things stand, the Pinebook Pro is currently on track to become the most popular PINE64 device of all time (bar the ROCK64 single board computer), and this is very good news for all of us. For end-users this effectively means that the Pinebook Pro is very likely to develop a solid and wide software support-range, whilst for developers it means that there is an eager Linux and *BSD audience to use the OS they work on. We are truly happy that we managed to deliver what people wanted and welcome new and enthusiastic members into our fold. 

DASGEEK’s Pinebook Pro Video Review

Roger Clark’s Pinebook Pro Video Review

Speaking of OSs available for the Pinebook Pro, their number is steadily growing and new options available for download. The recent month saw the release of Q4OS as well as multiple Manjaro Preview images which run on the mainline kernel. There are also builds of Fedora 31, Kali Linux, Arch and many other OS in the works, that we know you’ll be excited to see running on the Pinebook Pro. I will also mention that over the past month the default Debian with MATE build has seen a lot of improvements, including: boosted performance, new web browsers, increased Firefox performance, significantly enhanced suspend (power consumption in suspend is now 1/10 of original value) and many kernel fixes. You can follow the developments of the default OS build here. The Mainline Linux development is coming along very well and if you are dead set on running a mainline build with Panfrost (FOSS) GPU drivers then I suggest you follow this thread by tsys, which highlights the steady progress of 5.X kernel that is bound to be the basis for all future Linux OSs. 

Arch Linux on the Pinebook Pro via Screenshot via @AndreVallestero

The past month has also seen a very important development on the hardware front. Namely,  problems with missing keypresses and an unwieldy trackpad have now been resolved and are a thing of the past. The firmware fix for both inputs has been delivered thanks to the hard work of a dedicated group of people: TL Lim, anarsoul, Xalius and ayufan. Everyone who has already gotten their Pinebook Pro should install the new trackpad and keyboard firmware. The firmware update can be performed from any Linux OS and process itself is very simple only requiring running two scripts between reboots. Please reference the forum thread that describes the process in detail for more information. Future Pinebook Pros, starting with units shipped in December of 2019, will arrive with the new firmware pre-flashed.  

This brings me to the units currently on pre-order. The final pre-Chinese New Year Pinebook Pro production-run is now well underway. Let me reiterate what I wrote last month; if you want to get your hands on a Pinebook Pro prior to late March / early April 2020, then this is your last chance. Currently, the ISO-keyboard variants are scheduled to ship out in late December, closely followed by ANSI-keyboard variants in January. It is possible that due to the high volume of shipments from China in this period (Christmas in the West and upcoming Chinese New Year) the shipment process may be longer than usual.

Pinebook Pro ANSI layout

We have extensive plans for the Pinebok Pro in the future. Presently, we’re looking into ways to deliver various regional keyboard options to end-users – something we know many of you want. We still haven’t decided on if this is something we can realistically eventually offer, however, but rest assured that we will surely try. One of the concepts we’re currently exploring is offering regional keyboard caps sets, which end-users can install into an unpopulated ISO or ANSI keyboard on their own. These regional keysets would be accompanied by a corresponding keyboard firmware utility, which has now been open sourced (MIT License) and is executable from any Pinebook Pro Linux OS.

As I have written in the past, we are also planning on offering an upgrade kit for the original 11.6” and 14” Pinebooks. This kit would effectively convert an existing Pinebook into a Pinebook Pro-like device, and offer most of the functionality and compatibility of the flagship laptop. If all goes well, these kits will be available in the store sometime next month. I’ll have more information on these kits as they become available, so stay tuned and check the News section of the forum in early January.  

Lastly, I want to give a shout-out to an awesome community Initiative that have sprung up around the Pinebook Pro. A group of people want to design protective ‘skins’ for the laptop. We have now provided users with the .dwg file with the exact Pinebook pro case specifications and are eagerly awaiting for the first designs to arrive. Needless to say, once a couple of designs have been completed, I am sure we’ll be able to help in promoting them or even including them in the store eventually. What a great and fun initiative guys!

Carbon ‘skin’ concept for the Pinebook Pro by tophneal

Happy New Year!

We always make product announcements at FOSDEM and this coming year we have some really awesome projects that we cannot wait to share with you. As a bit of a teaser I’ll write that next year you can expect announcements of new single board computers, compute and AI modules and at least one pro-grade device. We also hope that our other side-project – the CUBE FOSS IP camera announced this year – will finally enter production at some point in 2020. I think that it will be a great year for PINE64 and I am looking forward to seeing how our plans all pan out. 

In the meantime, I wish you all a joyful holiday season and a Happy New Year! See you all in 2020.  

86 responses to “December Update: Thank You For 2019!”

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    Thanks for the update! While I am one of those who shouted “yes!” for the PineTab, I understand that PineBook and PinePhone are probably expected by more people (and are likely to hit more news articles), so am very grateful that you’re supporting the Tab, too.

    May I also ask what’s the difference between PineTime watch and PineTime development kit?

    Peter Feerick says:

    My understanding is the the only real difference with the PineTime dev kit is that it comes with the SWD cable/connector (but you need to provide the debugger/programmer) and it isn’t a sealed unit, so that you can actually access the debug connector.

    On the cases for the PinePhone: I think that the hard cases ought to have an option for a Pine64 logo, for those who are diehard Linux ambassadors.

    Lukasz Erecinski says:

    Ah crap, I forgot to mention in the post that we’re thinking about putting the PINE64 logo between the flash and the back cam. What do you think about it? Look at the case pictures for reference.

    Tyler Irwin says:

    Case colors- i think it would be awesome to use the main color of each os that will be providing software support for the pine phone. If this is not a option, then i personally would like to see a dark green case. I’m super excited to be getting ahold of this device even if it’s delayed for fine tuning. I hope that maybe in a couple years time, there will be a pine phone 2 with bigger specs as hardware prices fall for current gen devices. Linux on my phone¿ YES!!

    Lukasz Erecinski says:

    Agreed, dark green – like military green would be a nice colour to have. Other ideas? Dark navy blue?

    Another Mouse says:

    I think a handful of colours, some more conservative and a couple of more fancy for the more crazy ppl, for the soft case should give some options to anyone. Be careful with the transparent silicone, I’m having a very well fitting and good quality in general case from Xiaomi butit already looks yellowish…

    I’ve been waiting for a very long time for a Linux computer I could carry around in a (large) shirt-pocket. I can wait a while longer. But I *do sincerely* hope that (1) you hear from others who feel as I do; and (2) *YOU* feel as I do and…you give high priority to the development and implementation of the very excellent choice you’ve made regarding the PinePhone’s keyboard.
    I may be wrong (I’ve been doing this a long time; been right more often than wrong; that’s why Ive been doing it for a long time)…and my instincts tell me that this keyboard is going to be–not *the* thing (I’m no egoist), but simply –*one* of the things that contribute to the PinePhone’s being an absolute winner.
    ABSOLUTELY only one person’s–probably skewed–opinion.

    Warmest regards…

    p.s.: does this mail system support HTML encoding? Let’s check–
    Best wishes for a a great Holiday Season and a happy and prosperous New Year!

    Lukasz Erecinski says:

    Yes, I too feel that the keyboard will be something many users – but not all – will want. I hope that other companies and individuals with cool ideas will jump on the idea of making i2c peripherals for it to provide crazy/ hacky functionality.

    Another Mouse says:

    I was always a big fan of real keyboards but nowadays a big screen is good enough. Especially if an app does such a great job like connect bot on android. So its a nice gadget butno more as essential as it would have been some years ago…

    There’s no need to worry on that IMHO. Popularity of Motorola Moto Z which allowed to expand phone’s hardware clearly shows that creative people can do really interesting expansions. These offical are covered here ->
    I’ve seen once some kickstarter project of Moto Z’s external QWERTY kbd with slider mechanism.
    I’ll admit that when placing order for phone i kept my fingers crossed that open platform will escallate to variety of accessories including (but not limited to) physical keyboard.

    Currenty i am user of Blackberry Keyone, just because it has modern chips and physical keyboard.

    Jason Adams says:

    Awesome update!!! Many thanks. Other crowdfunding initiatives should take note on how to communicate. Looking forward to receiving my braveheart edition and finally having native Linux in a mobile device in my hands. The pinetime looks interesting as well. I was never interested in an Apple Watch, but a Linux watch? Oh yeah count me in. I’m full in on the Pine brand, y’all are the only ones who have a complete suite of hardware to work together. You rock, keep it up.

    Seems like my house is going to be full of Pine64 tech next year, can’t wait. Enjoy the Christmas break and have a great time with your family. Thanks for all your hard work in 2019.

    What a bunch of good news ! Yes , great update !! 🙂 I would like, in addition to the season greetings, thank you to your hard work for provinding all these open harwares. You open a door into which many people seeking openness, privacy, convenience and usability want to rush. Thank you for that.

    I have to save some money but I definitively want a PinePhone to work and help UBports project and maybe the Pinebook Pro for my work (but for this I have to wait for a potential AZERTY keyboard, damned froggy that I am) ??

    Make this the new AFNOR-standardized AZERTY, then 🙂

    For me, a new layout would be an opportunity to learn BÉPO, though I’m waiting on finding a nice ortholinear keyboard, as hinted at in another comment 🙂

    Lukasz Erecinski says:

    Thanks! Hope you’ll have a great holiday’s! 🙂 As for other keyboard layouts for the PinePhone keyboard, let me make this very clear that we’re making it (molding and all) ourselves, as opposed to sourcing it / altering an existing design like we do for the PBP. This is super expensive. So we’ll only have one variant – likely ANSI (since that seems to be slightly more popular?), but we’ll see. Once we lock in a contract with a vendor I’ll make sure to seek people’s opinions on the subject…

    Well… For my own use it would be OK to have a completely blank keyboard but I guess the rest of the family would appreciate nordic stickers. An alternative would be thin flexible overlays. …but a blank keyboard would do.

    Terrific update. I’m still in awe that this all is possible. Keep on the good work and I’m really looking forward to a PineTab in my hand!

    I am a user of Gemini PDA and it’s inconvenient that I have to open the phone to answer a call and then close it to continue talk.
    Please consider a small screen on the back of the phone/keyboard for a connected PinePhone keyboard to see who is calling/answer/see notifications and do basic actions. Otherwise it’ll be more convenient to connect keyboard occasionally only when it is needed.

    Awesome update!!! Although I was a bit disappointed with the pinephone keyboard, having the keyboard cover the screen while closed will hinder the usage of the pinephone as a phone (status led is covered, need to open to answer phone calls or see notifications, etc). I know a lot of people prefer this kind of keyboard as it allow for a much better typing experience with the device on the table, but we have our pinebooks and pinetabs for that 😛

    I guess when I heard keyboard for a phone I immediately assumed it was nokia n900 like. Keep up the awesome work, I guess I will buy every accessory anyway 🙂

    Lukasz Erecinski says:

    Perhaps someone some other company will want to make a n900 type keyboard 😉 Lets spread the word – maybe someone is interested. Feel free to ping and let other open-minded vendors know we’re happy to help them out if they’re interested in making such a peripheral.

    Sounds like I’ll be clothed with pine64 stuff and living in a PineHouse in a few years ^^
    Thank you a lot for the updates, your hard work and dedication… And have nice holidays for this winter 2019.

    Now, if I may add a nitpick: We need more ortholinear love from you guys. I cringe every time I see those misaligned keys, be it ISO or AINSI. And it looks even worse on a phone keyboard… For which I also voice the need for seconday controls (an earpiece/mic and answer button would probably be needed for phone calls, a small screen, e-ink or otherwise, maybe optional, would be nice to have on the back as well).

    Is it/ will it be possible at some point to get a bare keyboard? My use case is to replace the ISO keyboard with an ANSI keyboard.

    No doubt I’ll get back the old ISO muscle memory with time, but I think I will swap out the keyboard if I get the chance. That extra stretch for the enter key keeps biting me.

    Francis Theodore Catte says:

    I’m assuming they mean the PBP. I’m also interested in replacing my early preorder unit’s ISO keyboard with an ANSI one. My dumb american pinky muscle memory hits ‘ , ‘ instead of enter all the time. That’ll probably require replacing the whole top case to fit the ANSI keyboard, right?

    Lukasz Erecinski says:

    Yes, you’ll have the replace the entire top section (plastic). Thankfully, it’s really straight-forward; I have done it a couple of times myself and I’m not exactly what you’d call skilled at this sort of stuff.
    I’ll try to get an ETA for when we can expect spares in the store – my guesstimate is before CNY.

    dwa shift-y są za duże, lepiej po prostu zmniejszyc (minimum ten z prawej) i dorobić połówkowe klawisze ; ‘ \

    Congratulations on a great year Pine64! I cannot wait to see what 2020 brings. …and thanks for the Pinebook Pro, best $200 bucks I have spent on computing in a long time.

    Lukasz Erecinski says:

    Thanks! We too cannot wait for 2020 🙂 will be a fun and probably challenging year, have a great Xmas and New Year!

    Nice job! Just one question, because my english is not the best. Is the braveheart edition shipped this year or do we have to wait until january? Just wondering if i can pick it up at christmas because i ordered it to my mom’s address (different country).

    Lukasz Erecinski says:

    There is a (proprietary) testing software on it that tells time … but you probably want to install something different the moment you get it.

    Thank you for a excellent news blog entry and for your hard work this year!

    Looking at the folding mechanism of the Psion keyboard I cannot help but feel that it might be inconvenient for some users to not have the screen visible/accessible when folded. The status led, as mentioned above, would also not be visible. I have no doubt that Pine64 is very capable when it comes to industrial design and I´m sure that the keyboard will be very nice to type on, but personally I would prefer a vertical slider keyboard like the Nokia N900 or Fxtec Pro 1. Both those designs allows the phone to be used as a regular smartphone when the keyboard tucked away, ready to be snapped out when needed.

    However, if the folding mechanism is set to mimic that of Psion then maybe someone else will make a slider keyboard. If there is a demand for one. I would probably buy both either way =)

    I am having a really terrible time imagining exactly what you have in mind for the PinePhone-with-keyboard.
    When you originally announced the availability of the internal ‘pogo pins’, it seemed as though you were courting people who would design a keyboard for the back of the phone. Now that you’re showing the (original) Psion-5 keyboard, how do you envision something very similar becoming a part of the PInePhone? Will it be on the back-side? (Sounds like s functional and ergonomic disaster, to me).
    Certainly it can’t take up space on the front, along with the screen, Do you envision a “slider-phone’, with the keyboard underneath the main body of the phone, exposed by the user only when the keyboard is needed?
    If I’ve missed any of your somewhat detailed answers to these a;ready-answered questions, I deeply apologize.
    Thank you in advance for your answer(s), and your very hard work and commitment.

    Lukasz Erecinski says:

    The keyboard will be permanently attached to a back cover. You’ll take off the default back cover and snap on the one with a PSION Series 5-like keyboard. The assembly will open and close exactly like a PDA, with the PinePhone screen and keyboard keys facing each other.

    We figures that for those people who want a keyboard, its important that we make the best possible keyboard in this form factor. As for a sliding keyboard – we did think about it, and didin’t figure out a good way we could do it. We’ll be happy to see someone else tackle this idea. Hope this clears things up.

    That clarifies the situation greatly; many thanks..

    All options have their unique trade-offs. One can only hope that your engineers have realised that the trade-off in your proposed design–the ‘weak spot’, as it were– vs. the ‘slider’ design’ is in the the hinge mechanism. This is the “Achille’s’ heel’ of all notebooks and laptops, and one which the designers of such devices wrestle with mightily.. My Lenovo laptop,–an extremely well-engineered machine (some might even say “over-engineered”), which sees very light-duty work, just had one of its two hinges fail. There are only two possible reasons for this:, a materials failure; and inattention to the problem of lubrication (not using a proper lubricant–i.e., one with a short lifetime).
    I’m sure your engineers will exercise all due diligence.
    I am extremely interested in obtaining the keyboard version of the phone, and am certain that, in light of the way Pine does everything else, it will be “over-engineered”.

    Warmest regards…

    Another Mouse says:

    With regards to shipping so far i made only good experience with china, Singapore, hk and chungwha post. Post nl regularly got stuck with customs. Usually tracking is poor but I stopped tracking, sooner or later everything arrived.

    P.S. I’m in Europe but not in EU 😉

    Another Mouse says:

    Last comment for now…

    Is there also an android port planned for pine phone or tab? It would be a great opportunity to show the world how great android could be with full mainline kernel and drivers.

    I would love an android phone as a daily driver with a dual boot to linux in case i feel like having a proper os.

    Only thing currently moderating my enthusiasm for pp as a daily driver is the main camera. Could this be exchanged later or is it “built in”?

    Lukasz Erecinski says:

    There will be Replicant for the PinePhone. There are some people interested in porting Android too and have it run on mainline with Lima… but we’ll see how that pans out.

    Another Mouse says:

    Good news, but sad replicant is not one of the chattiest projects. It’s usually looking like dead for months, then a post is arriving showing there was plenty of action behind the scenes.

    Thats why I appreciate regilar postings so much. And if it’s just a little statement like hey we are still here, bit busy with life, but we are here.

    Thanks very much lukasz for your efforts! Have a great Christmas time and keep enjoying pine64 as we do!

    Keyboard! Keyboard, keyboard, keyboard, keyboard. Did I mention I want a real actual physical keyboard? 😛

    For me, the Psion-type clamshell is best. Had an n900 for years, and sliders are better than nothing but far from good. So I’m happy to hear about the direction you’re taking on keyboards. The business about seeing call or txt info is better solved by a small second screen than by making the whole keyboard much harder to use.

    Colors? Hmmm. A fountain fill sort of effect going from midnight blue to cobalt … 😀 If you want a Pine logo, it could be little dots of stars in a pine shape. (Yeah, I’m one of the crazy ppl ;D)

    Oh wow, that keyboard is amazing news! A Linux-based phone with a physical keyboard sounds like a dream come true! I will buy two, at least!

    I really like what you all are doing! This is some amazing work and I really appreciate that you develop nice Linux-based products together with the community. Next years sounds fantastic; I’m also very curious about that new Pro-product. 🙂

    Thanks and best wishes!

    Oh, and that new Pro-device: If it’s a laptop, please give it separate physical mouse keys. That makes it so much easier to use various types of Pro-software. I’d buy a PineBook Pro or similar day 1 if it had that.

    So… can I gat the PineBook Pro now and buy the region keycaps when the will be available to make the switch? Or they won’t be compatible with this current hardware set?

    Lukasz Erecinski says:

    We’re just exploring the idea for now — its not even a certainty that it will happen. But in general, the answer to your question is ‘no’. Removing key caps for the keyboard is relatively difficult, and can lead to damage to the key mechanism, so we won’t be encouraging users to take keycaps off their existing keyboards.

    The answer to this question will definitely NOT cool my desire for the PinePhone/keyboard combo; it’s simply that I like to have as much info as possible on an upcoming purchase (chalk it up to a really bad case of OCD).

    What do you anticipate the total thickness of the PinePhone-plus-keyboard will be? The operative word here is “anticipate”. A not-too-educated-guess is all I’m looking for. Preliminary drawings, along the lines of what you’ve already shared with the community regarding other aspects of transparency on the PinePhone, would be great.

    Warmest regards…

    Lukasz Erecinski says:

    Thats a hard one. Considerably thicker, Phone+keyboard will be approx. double the thickness vs just having the phone alone. That said, we managed to lessen the thickness of the phone a fair bit since its conception; for reference here is the PinePhone vs a Huaweii Mate 10 which is the same size~ish:
    That said, the keyboard may be 1mm or so thicker than the PinePhone – those keys will have some real travel to them.

    Real travel is really good…along with “real clicky-ness”, of course. I don’t have any worries.

    ‘Course, uh, you’ll always have those people who say, “What?! You can’t give me a REAL keyboard and AND keep the original phone’s thickness?”
    You know how to handle that…

    Will it be possible to order Dvorak layouts of the Pinephone keyboard (and any other laptops). I know it’s a niche, but it would be great to not have to risk breaking a product just to get it in the right layout.

    Lukasz Erecinski says:

    Very unlikely. We’ve been trying to work out something regarding the keyboard with the vendors for weeks now, and having a multi-layout stock is really not easy for us.

    Hi Lukasz! Congrats on great progress and season greetings to you (and all Pine64 team)!
    I’m really looking for PineTime as ultimate & affordable FOSS smartwatch with decent battery life.
    From what I understand, syncing with major mobile platforms will require “companion” apps on Android/iOS – any thoughts on that or you expect watch RTOS developers to handle this aspect themselves later? Another question is about NFC – I might have missed it in prev. discussions but is there any possibility for spec-bumped revision in future which will have full-fledged NFC support (including payments) etc.? It’d be great to be able to pay for coffee, groceries or bus ride with PineTime one day 🙂

    Lukasz Erecinski says:

    The PineTime will have very good bat life. I have one unit (running test software with everything enabled bar BT connection) that has been running for 4 weeks and still has some ~15% battery left. To be fair, its not getting ‘any use’ nor is it tethered (not getting messages, notifications, etc.,) but still I feel like we can confidently say it will last you a week on a single charge.

    As for a future PineTime – yea, we hear you.

    belfastraven says:

    I notice no mention of the shipping schedule for the revised Pinebookpro NVME/pcie adapter parts. I’ve had my since August–ordered it before I got my Pinebookpro, and am really really anxious to receive it. Also any word on when extra screws, standoffs, etc might become available?

    Bob Collins says:

    Request: There are many confusing date formats in use around the world. Could you use the ISO 8601 format which is designed to be universal and not confusing.

    Your 05/01/2020, January 5, 2020, would then be 2020-01-05

    I am anxiously awaiting a post-Brave Heart PinePhone!

    klawiatura z PSiona jest dobra, ale ma tez wady do dzis nie da sie wprowadzac polskich znaków zatem alt z prawej strony obowiazkowy, po za tym czesc klawiszy moze byc mniejsze (dobrym pomyslem jest wywalenie fo Fn klawisza caps) brakuje tez home end pgup down, ktore mozna zmiescic u gory jako takie cienkie klawisze 2mm i 12 mm.
    Te połówkowe klawisze są bardzo dobrym pomysłem zobacz np. najnowsze chinskie klawiatury dodanie jeszcze jednego rzedu klawiszy rozwiazalo sprawę.

    co do opakowania, to silikony nie są złe ale….. może dodajcie miejsce na jakies narzedzia. Nie potrzebuje wiele, sztyft, nóż, może lupa (fresnel) srubokrety philips i podobne. Najladniejsze są może pogadajcie czy by nie zrobili wersji na pine phone.

    Is there an eta on when the skins will be available. I will definitely be purchasing a pinebook pro and would love to protect it.

    Hi. Looking forward to the final version of the Pinephone – great work. I know the keyboard is still at the design stage, but I’m curious to how it might work (never seen the Psion). Will it ‘lock’ into position at a particular angle so you can hold the keyboard only when typing? Or will the hinge be stiff like a laptop? Will it double back on itself? Will it be backlit? Just curious – I’m sure I’ll be buying it anyway. Thanks.

    Search on ‘Psion’. Go to “Psion (the company)”, in wikipedia.
    You’ll get a good picture of the Psion 5mx (and -Pro) PDAs (personal digital assistants) [NOT the Psion Organiser].
    My guess (and that is ALL it is)) is that what Pine has in mind for the PinePhone is something similar to the 5mx, when opened. This would allow it to be used while taking / making notes simultaneously with its use.
    Hopefully Lukasz will provide more details.

    That would be an awesome keyboard as long as it does not have the fragile ribbon cable they were notorious for (as I recall). I would also like to see it with a Dvorak option and/or a trackpoint, but I suspect I am in the minority for those options. A keyboard/case combo would be a useful option, too. I would think it should also be able to sync via USB and HDMI micro connections with a Motoroloa Lapdock as the old Bionic and Atrix models did (as well as Raspberry Pi’s do now). While I am wishing, the more recent HP WindowsPhone X3 Lapdock equivalent would also be nice with its much improved design and features.

    All very good requests. The reality, though, probably is that Pine has a “full plate” of projects which are not even finished, yet, and their full completion takes precedence.
    I, for example, would like to have a back-lit keyboard on the Pinebook Pro; but it’s been indicated that Pine may consider that after they’ve got all the production bugs worked out as well as having a full suite of operating systems available (I’d STILL like to see an MX-LINUX 18.3 port–NOT v. 19–though).

    As soon as the PinePhone is available–I’ll take two. At the very least.

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