Update: new hacktober gear

Community CUBE News Pinecil PinePhone PineTime SOEdge

Let me begin this month’s community update by teasing the November update, in which I’ll talk about the next generation of SoCs and our plans for the future. If you haven’t done so yet, then now is the right time to subscribe to our blog and follow the news on the PINE64 Telegram news channel

I’ll be mostly focusing on hardware in this month’s update, I’ve been out of the software development loop for much of the month due to personal reasons. This, however, gives me an opportunity to talk to you at more length about the PineCube, Pinecil and SOEdge as well as some community-centric things.  

As always, massive thanks to JF for contributing the PineTime section of the update! 

Much has happened in the past month so let’s get to it.  

TL;DR

  • New store and its features; store move to .com domain
  • I’ve been working towards setting up an EU store 
  • Community-created content for PINE64 Youtube and LBRY channels
  • Pinebook Pro and PineTab LCD shortages continue; hopefully panels become available in December
  • Manjaro PinePhone CE OS build is finished & sent to factory yesterday
  • Manjaro’s build closest to end-user ready yet; ships with Phosh
  • Work on PinePhone back-covers adding functionality started
  • First two back-covers will add: wireless Qi charging (already works) and NFC
  • PinePhone keyboard design green-lit and started; clam-shell design with large battery
  • SOEdge modules are ready!
  • Chicken-and-the-egg problem, the SOEdge needs Linux devs
  • PineCube is available for purchase; software development is coming along 
  • PineCube lens selection coming to the Pine Store
  • Pinecil firmware is coming together very well 
  • Pinecil will ship with a B2 tip, but two packages with four tips each will be available ($24.99 each)
  • We created a breakout board for the Pinecil … it is now an SBC (sort of anyways)
  • PineTime with InifiniTime FOSS firmware is now available and shipping! 
  • PineTime music control in Android with gadgetbridge and playing games on the watch
  • PineCom – a small PDA-style device relying on alternative communication protocols
  • Addressing the PineCom push-back from the community (thank you for your feedback)

Housekeeping

There are a handful of important housekeeping topics to discuss this month. For starters, let’s talk a little about the new Pine Store. We hope that the new store not only improves the browsing experience but also addresses much of the feedback that we received from our community. Feature-wise, you are now also able to pay using credit cards (as well Apple Pay and similar services) and calculate shipping and import-related costs, such as VAT, for various items. We have also implemented a system to notify customers about DHL’s Remote Area Surcharge (RAS) payments if their geographical location is deemed as ‘remote’ by DHL. Massive thanks to Marek (Gamiee) for getting this working – it was a difficult feature to incorporate. A quick word of caution about the RAS notification feature; our implementation of the RAS notification is based on a location list we received from DHL. The list includes thousands of entries and we cannot guarantee that it will always be up-to-date at all times despite our best attempts. 

Checkout and payment options in the new Pine store

Seeing as I know someone will ask about this; we are still working towards a cryptocurrency payment arrangement that would work well for us and our community members. We are talking to multiple parties and trying to find some sustainable arrangement – I hope that one can be reached in the coming weeks. 

As many of you have noticed, the Pine Store has also moved to a dedicated .com domain – pine64.com – from its previous subdomain at store.pine64.org. The purpose of moving the store to a commercial domain is to denote its separation from all community-run services and subdomains at pine64.org. We hope that this will help distinguish the two sides of PINE64 – that of a business and a community run project. 

I’ve also been working towards setting up a dedicated European Pine Store for a couple of months. Under normal circumstances the process would be relatively trivial, but unfortunately current travel restrictions are making it difficult to complete all formalities involved with getting this off the ground. Without getting into unnecessary detail – the store will be registered in a different EU country to where I reside, and physical presence is required to complete portions of the paperwork submissions. Given current travel restrictions in Europe, I think it will be a couple of months before I get everything sorted – I’ll make sure you know when it is all ready to go.

Before I head off and talk about another topic, there is one more thing I’d like to mention with regards to the store. Apart from upgrading the store front-end, we also did a lot of work on the store’s backend. You should now reliably receive store order and shipping notifications in your mailbox; if you do not, however, please make sure to reach out to myself, Marek (Gamiee) or Matthew (fire219) in the chats. 

Lastly, I have been in talks with a handful of community content creators for the past couple of months regarding our existing Youtube and newly started LBRY channels. I have now reached an agreement with PizzaLovingNerd, who will create monthly videos to compliment the written monthly community updates. I also hope to develop a show-and-tell Youtube/ LBRY series – perhaps one that would actively engage with the community and involve the developers. If you’re interested in creating content for the PINE64 Youtube/ LBRY channels and have other ideas, then please make sure to reach out to me in the chats or elsewhere. 

Pinebook Pro and PineTab availability status

I feel like a paragraph concerning the Pinebook Pro and PineTab is in order given the frequent questions about pre-order availability. As things stand, we have all the bits and pieces – bodies, mainboards, other electronics, etc – to manufacture PineTabs and Pinebook Pros, but we’re still missing the much needed LCD panels. As I mentioned in last month’s update, back-to-school programs run by large companies created a severe LCD shortage on the market. The market, which already suffered from low panel volumes (caused by the COVID-19 pandemic), has now been practically drained of grade-A LCD panels within the target price-range. As I explained last month, purchasing from the open market isn’t an option. Open market LCD panels come without warranty or reliable quality assurance that vendors always offer.

According to some projections LCD panels ought to be available again in December. Granted this projection is accurate, we may see new batches available prior to the Chinese New Year (February 2021). I will, of course, keep you updated on the situation in future community updates.

PinePhone

Manjaro CE presentation box design

The Manjaro PinePhone CE OS image, which will ship with the upcoming PinePhones, was sent to the factory just the other day (congrats Manjaro team!). Personally, I feel that this is the most end-user ready OS image to ship on the PinePhone thus far. This isn’t exactly surprising given that the Manjaro team has had the most time to create an OS image and benefited from the overarching development on the platform. The OS image ships with Phosh and is probably the smoothest experience on the PinePhone to date. Moreover, to my knowledge – and I’ve tested the software extensively – all major features of the phone work with Manjaro. It also features a solid variety of well-tuned applications to get you started, including Firefox, GNOME Maps and Megapixels camera application, just to mention a few. Don’t get me wrong, the software will still require a layer of polish to be considered ‘daily-driver’ worthy by a broader audience, but I have been running it exclusively on my phone for weeks and it has been a great experience.

Before moving onto talking about hardware, let me quickly mention the awesome work Martijn Braam from postmarketOS has been doing with the camera. His Megapixels application now supports both the front and back cameras, a smooth viewfinder (at 720p), manual ISO and shutter user-facing controls, autofocus (!!) as well as various forms of post processing. This application has greatly benefited the community as a whole, including the upcoming Manjaro CE. Frankly speaking, I’ve been blown away by the camera’s performance. Please read Martijn’s blog for more technical details; I am attaching two pictures taken on the Manjaro CE device for you to check out.

No one wanted to pose for pictures, so its my kid’s dinosaur (main camera, picture down-scaled) and me (front-facing camera). Higher quality main camera picture here

I have a handful of exciting hardware-related topics to discuss, including news about back covers with additional functionality and the physical keyboard for the phone. Let’s start by talking about the custom back-covers. As we said from the start of the PinePhone project, we’re planning on adding functionality to the phone via custom back-covers that will communicate with the phone via the pogo pins. The first two covers will introduce Qi wireless charging and NFC to the PinePhone. Qi wireless charging already works since it doesn’t require software, but NFC implementations will obviously require software enablement. The Qi charging back-case has been ready to go for some time, but as it turned out the coil and electronics couldn’t fit into our current cover design. The back-cover design had to be retooled slightly to accommodate the new functionality – the physical space was increased to accommodate the additional electronics – and you’ll be happy to know that we’ll release the new STL file on the Wiki so you can experiment with creating your own add-ons. This is just the start, we have more ideas for future add-ons which I’ll be sharing with you in the coming months. 

Here is the Qi wireless charging coil we’ll be using

I’m also happy to let you all know that 3GB/ 32GB PinePhone mainboards will be available in the Pine Store in November. If you already have a PinePhone and want to upgrade to the higher capacity and RAM variant, you don’t have to buy a new unit – just the mainboard. We also have a little token of appreciation in store for early adopters (Braveheart and UBports CE) owners who wish to upgrade their mainboards, but I won’t spoil the surprise in this post.

Lastly, we have given a hardware vendor the green light to start preparing a prototype of the keyboard for the PinePhone, and the vendor has informed us that they’ll strive to have the prototype ready by the end of this year. We find this schedule for delivering the prototype difficult to achieve, but at the same time we (all of us) are looking forward to being pleasantly surprised if they manage to pull it off. I am including the renders for you to check out below.

PinePhone keyboard render

After some consideration we have opted to go with a clamshell design for the keyboard. The PinePhone is large and heavy enough to be unwieldy when held by a thin slab of plastic such as that of a slide-out keyboard. This clamshell design can, however, be folded practically flat so it is comfortably used without placing the device on a surface. The keyboard section also holds a large (probably 5000mAh) battery, which not only more-than-doubles the phone’s stand-by time but also acts as a weighty counterbalance. Many of you will also recognize that we decided to use the keyboard layout we proposed and discussed with the community in August. From a mechanical standpoint, the keyboard clamps onto the phone (for which you need to remove the back-cover) and interfaces with the device using the pogo pins.  

I’m sure this news will get many of you excited, but please keep in mind that presently it is impossible for me to guarantee that this particular plan for the keyboard will pan out and that the vendor will come through on their promises. But I think there is a good chance it will happen, so I decided to share it with you.

SOEdge

The SOEdge AI modules and the accompanying model-A baseboards have now been delivered to us from the factory. However, the SOEdge currently suffers from a chicken-and-the-egg problem: there is no Linux software running on the device. This, in turn, means that it cannot be sold to end-users (even enthusiasts). What the SOEdge needs at this point in time is a group of developers keen to lay the foundations for getting the module up and running. I took a look at the BSP offered by Rockchip and it seems like a good starting point (unless there is already an ongoing mainlining effort I am not aware of).

Consider this a call to action; if you’re interested in working on the SOEdge make sure to reach me in the chats or the forum (start a public thread).  

Needless to say, the device has a lot of potential and not only in the realm of AI but also more traditional computational applications. The SOEdge offers fast IO, including PCIe 2x and USB-3.0 as well as Gigabit Ethernet, making it ideal for a variety of high-throughput and low-power applications. Aside from its powerful NPU, the device also features 2GB of PC-2133 RAM and a dual-core cortex A35 running at 1.6Ghz.

SOEdge socketed in model-A baseboard

The development model-A baseboard features all key connectors and I/O, including USB 3.0 and PCIe 2x (either PCIe or USB 3.0 can be used at the same time), Gigabit Ethernet, MIPI DSI, MIPI CSI, SDIO (compatible with current WiFi/ BT modules) as well as  touch panel input and CSI. You also get a full GPIO header, RTC, SPK and bootable SD card slot (there is also an eMMC mount on the SOEdge module). As you can see, the range of possibilities the module offers is quite extensive and I trust that a group of interested developers will pick it up.

PineCube

In the event you’ve missed it, the PineCube is now available for purchase in the Pine Store. If you’re interested in helping to get this little FOSS IP camera off the ground, here is your chance. I am told that software progress on the PineCube is coming along well but it’s all in very early stages. From a development standpoint, the goal at this point is to build a mainline Linux (Debian) OS image. Marek (Gamiee), who is currently working towards making such an image, is currently waiting for some u-boot patches that will allow the PineCube boot from SD card as well as writing a video encoding library for the mainline kernel. 

The PineCube

By the time this post goes live the PineCube chat and forum infrastructure should be available, and I highly encourage you to engage with others at this early stage of bringing the PineCube up. I’d also like to point out that the PineCube Wiki page is now up with some very rudimentary information to get you started. Anyone can create a Wiki account and contribute to any of the existing device subsections; as per usual, it will take a community effort to get this project up and running.

PineCube compatible m12 lenses

We will soon also offer a wider range of m12 mount lenses.  We’ll make sure to provide a wide selection of lenses for a variety of applications, including a long range zoom and a fisheye 185 degree lens. I’m not exactly sure when these will become available in the store, but it shouldn’t be long until you can pick up a set alongside the PineCube itself. 

Pinecil

The Pinecil is proceeding well and, thanks to the hard work of Ben Brown on porting the firmware to RISC-V, for the most part operational. The firmware will still need some degree of tuning, but the all features of the soldering iron have now been enabled and are working which means it will be available for purchase soon. Hardware-wise, the molding for the Pinecil is now finished and the pre-production units feel great in the hand. I am attaching a picture and a render below: the picture shows the Pinecil prototype running (powered via USB-C in this particular picture) while the render shows the final look of the iron that we settled on, with a PINE64 blue accent on the rubber grip.  

Fully functional Pinecil prototype

Render showing final look of the Pinecil, with the blue rubber handle

The Pinecil will ship with a B2 tip, but two additional tip sets will be available for purchase on launch day – each priced at $24.99, the same price as the Pinecil itself. I am attaching a picture of both tip sets below so you can check them out. If you already have a TS100 iron and an accompanying set of tips, then you’ll be happy to learn that your existing tips will work with the Pinecil. 

Set 1 (left) and Set 2 (right) of soldering tips for Pinecil

Lastly, something admittedly a bit crazy – we have created a Pinecil breakout board which exposes all of the SoCs available pinouts and protocols. To be precise the breakout board exposes ADC/DAC, SPI, UART. SPI, USB and JTAG. The board attaches to the USB-C port on the Pinecil, allowing the device to be fully operational and fully assembled when tinkering. So yes, the breakout board converts the Pinecil into a single board computer of sorts… or, at the very least, a tinkering device. I am sure that many of you will find some type of valid application for this breakout board and come up with innovative applications for the device. I am attaching a picture of Pinecil mainboards and the breakout board below. 

Pinecil mainboard PCB (top) and break-out board PCB (bottom)

PineTime

This month, the PineTime project reached a new milestone – the new PineTime development kit is (finally) available in the Pine Store. This new batch of PineTime development kits now ships preloaded with InfiniTime, the very first FOSS firmware to be programmed at the factory into the smartwatch! I’ve already seen many people have received their new PineTime devkit and quickly began to test InfiniTime, flash new firmwares and even develop new functionalities and projects.

PineTime running InfiniTime  – picture by JF

As the maintainer of InfiniTime, I noticed this new crowd of PineTimers by the number of bug reports, questions, suggestions as well as pull-requests the project received this last couple of weeks. I’m really happy to receive all this feedback from people all around the world, and I am proud that people actually help me build and improve the project I started nearly 1 year ago! I would like to thank anyone who has already contributed to the project, and I’m sure that this is just the beginning of a great journey.

Around the same time as the devkits became available in the store I released a new version of InfiniTime. This version has been tested by many members of the community, so it should be safe to upgrade (OTA via BLE) your development kit. This new version of the firmware brings many improvements and a music control application. That’s right, InfiniTime paired with the new version of Gadgetbridge adds support for the music and playback control on your Android phone directly from the PineTime. I’ve also heard that even more new features like OTA are in the works thanks to @Avamander.

Avamander is also working on improving the music application of InfiniTime by adding a nice animation, song progression and support for touch gestures. 

PineTime music control on Android smarphone

I was also amazed to see people writing games for the PineTime! Here is a Pong game by @Electr0Lyte https://twitter.com/SravanSenthiln1/status/1312961476580175873?s=20 and a breakout game by @TT_392 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5rt6C1FeglM. This last video also introduced you to Lupyuen’s new innovation – the remote pinetime. Lup wrote a Telegram bot that allows people who haven’t received their devkit yet to flash their firmware into his own PineTime. This development kit is streamed H24 on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U4EhPuKqEG8. Crazy idea, but it works!

One last project I would like to highlight this month is the test framework of @maiden. This test framework will ultimately run automatic test sequences on new versions of the firmwares for the PineTime while measuring the power consumption of the device. This tool will be invaluable to ensure that new versions of our firmware work correctly prior to release.

The PineTime community is literally boiling with activity and new ideas pop out every day, it’s really exciting!

PineCom

Abstract PineCom illustration

Earlier this month we asked what you’d like to see in a small PDA-style IoT device, which will rely on LoRaWAN, WiFi and other alternative protocols for communication. We envision the device to be small in size – with a 5” or smaller LCD panel – and possibly quite modular. The PineCom would also be based on the same underlying architecture as the PinePhone, sharing many of its core features and making it pin-for-pin software compatible. As the name of the device indicates, the idea behind the PineCom is to explore alternative communication methods, but I can also see it being used for a variety of IoT applications, as a portable media player as well as a Point Of Sales device. I’m sure that you can think of other applications too. 

I also need to note that the idea for the PineCom has been met with a fair bit of push-back from the community. Browsing the comments, those who oppose the introduction of a new device appear to think that it may detract from PinePhone development. There is also another group of people, lobbying for having PineCom’s features implemented into the PinePhone via custom back-covers and the i2c protocol. Let me address both points. The PineCom will not detract from PinePhone development because the new device will be compatible with existing PinePhone OS images. If anything, PineCom may bring new developers into the our ecosystem; but even if not, I cannot see it being a hindrance or draining existing resources. Secondly, having LoRaWAN and other alternative protocols enabled and working in Linux on the PineCom may actually convince us to create custom back-covers with these protocols for the PinePhone. 

At any rate, I am really happy to have received so much feedback regarding this device. We will monitor the thread for weeks and will, most certainly, take all reasonable feedback under advisement. On a personal level, I don’t find the fears grounded in reality, and I’ll do my best to persuade you about it in the months to come.  Ultimately however, if the community decides that the arguments are unconvincing and remains adamantly against the device then we won’t make it.

That’s all for this month, make sure to subscribe for some really exciting news the next month!

54 thoughts on “Update: new hacktober gear

  1. And still without information about delivery to Russia?
    Updates to a number of products and thoughts on PineCom are nice, but don’t forget about the people you are doing it for. What’s the point if people can’t buy goodies?
    I’m tired of asking about this every month, but can you still solve the delivery problems? Or add the PinePhone baseboard version 1.2 (a) to the store.

      1. Regular post works fine (parcels from China, including smartphones, reach buyers without any problems. As well as parcels from Hong Kong). DHL does not deliver due to the presence of lithium batteries.
        Sending from a warehouse in Poland, promised earlier, is also not implemented for Russia.
        And this is very bad, I know several people who have lost all interest in the projects of the Pine64 team. This is due to the unavailability of devices in their countries.And it’s not just about Russians.

    1. We’re working towards a shipping solution using an alternative carrier – its currently being tested. Stay tuned.

  2. Will there be any enclosure sold for the PineCube?

    The Manjaro image for the PinePhone has the most hardware enablement, but I still find the Ubuntu Touch UI, browser, and app ecosystem the smoothest and easiest to use.

  3. Also, as someone who bought an early PinePhone and is interested in upgrading the board, I hope you consider a recycling program for old boards if it is feasible.

  4. Thank you for a great update as usual!
    Is the slide out keyboard for Pinephone still in the pipeline or is it scrapped totally? The argument of uneven weight is valid, but if you put a 5000mha in the keyboard part it would counter it some.
    The clam shell keyboard in the picture has very small hinges compared to similar devices. A friendly heads up that they might not be up to the task (look at Nintendos handhelds, Open Pandor/Pyra, GPD Win etc)

    Keep up the good work!

    1. Its not scrapped, but the slide-out design has actually proven complex mechanically and expensive. So, this is our first shot at a keyboard — we absolutely may create a slide-out one in the future

  5. As a BH Pinephone owner I thank you in advance for the new main board. And the other thing you teased. 🙂

    I am switching on my PP every day, I have Manjaro flashed on it, and the development is just awesome. I personally don’t like Phosh, but still I love to see how this phone is getting more and more feature rich after every update. Fortunately Manjaro team knows how to handle expectations, as the OS is stilled called Alpha x. 🙂

    Can’t wait to see the new stuff and I might buy a PineTime eventually. 😉

      1. A large number of your audience are privacy minded, early adopter, tech enthusiasts. These are the people often into self hosting, or at least love the idea of it, if it could just be made easier. The main thing standing in the way is that no open router exists that combines the router and self hosting sides.

        It’s an obvious call for this market, but *nothing* exists to serve it, and for obvious reasons this is a product that will *never* come out of Apple, Google, Facebook or Amazon.

        Currently, many of the hardest usability problems for self hosting projects to fix, come from having to work with a huge variety of routers which all have different, highly technical interfaces that novice users have to manually navigate to get things like port forwarding and hairpinning working. They just can’t have instructions for every router out there. With a combined open router/hosting platform this could be automatic and easy.

        What would this look like? Basically:
        1. Plug in a full size storage device over sata with data possibly already on it (ie eg 1+ TB HDD) and ethernet.
        2. Visit some local domain like router.lan.
        3. An open self hosting platform (eg YunoHost / Sandbox / Freedombone / Freedombox) comes up allowing log in and user/password creation.
        4. In the app panel for the hosting platform is an app for an open WRT project (eg OpenWRT / DDWRT / Tomato / Gargoyle) to run the router side.
        5. Select other apps (Mastodon, Nextcloud etc) to install at a click, possibly with an option to add a domain name which would be set up automatically*.

        The hosting platform could then automatically update the routers open ports, port forwarding, hairpinning etc automatically. The individual software projects already exist and just need to be unified behind a common open hardware spec. Sound familiar?

        * There could even be a built in option to register a domain name from the UI from a preselected list of registrars with an affiliate code, so it automatically set up ddclient to switch the IP address to the router’s public address regularly (if on dynamic IP from the ISP) and give an ongoing kickback to both Pine64 and the partner hosting/WRT projects. Win win. (This assumes there would also be a “manual” option if people registered elsewhere or previously).

        I self host already and had to learn the (very) hard way to get past all these hurdles manually. I’d still buy one though, just for the convenience. It would be so very helpful though for people new to self hosting to have a truly “plug and play” option.

        Take my money, please!

        1. Not to dissuade Pine64 from making us an awesome new product, but have you heard of Turris Mox and Turris Omnia? I believe they may fit your needs

          1. Spot on, I was about to write the same thing. Not sure about Turris Mox, but I’ve had a chance to try the Omnia and its very good. As for what the future holds for this project, we’ll surely make it possible to mount a 2.5″ SATA or NVMe drive inside the device. Just to make it clear however, there is not ETA for this project at this time.

          2. Looking at the Turris website, it honestly doesn’t look like their devices fit this usecase. The real potential power here is combining devices that have typically been separate and needed a lot of tech-fu to configure into one working solution.

            What I’m talking about is a device, which can just be plugged into a modem, and then have a computer / phone connected to it, which then brings up an interface that installs self hosted web apps with a click or two, and updates the router settings automatically. It’s a marriage of router+switch+server+self hosting platform + WRT.

            The Turris devices, while they look nice, don’t have this. They have OpenWRT+Nextcloud. That’s it. From the website text, they seem to miss any self hosting platform to install various self hosted apps. There’s no first time GUI way to install Mastodon. Or an XMPP server or Matrix. Or Peertube etc. etc. Yes, if you know what you’re doing you *could* install them, and configure them, configure the router settings and… but by then, you’ve lost most people who would love to self host, just as we have again and again already.

            The device the potential self hosting community really needs though is a router / server that simplifies self hosting a range of apps. OpenWRT has a great router interface. I use it myself. I’d like it available. It’s completely not a self hosted web app platform, though.Yunohost is. As is Freedombone, Freedombox, Cloudron etc. Configuring them just gets complicated though when wannabe self hosters who aren’t network/server pro’s have to manually deal with router settings for a range of unknown hardware to overcome NAT loopback, hosts files, dynamic IP’s etc.

            Providing a device to both the Yunohost and OpenWRT communities to collaborate on though could create something amazing, with largely only some glue code to automate settings between two well established community projects.

            All it would take would be a router/switch with the power to run a basic server, and inspiring a couple of open projects to connect their projects on it together, the same way that the Pinephone did for the mobile Linux communities. Here though, we already have the advantage of mature, popular, FOSS projects already existing in the space. It’s just the combination and streamlining that could create something revolutionary.

            A friendly, approachable, FOSS home server for the rest of us.

  6. Great update. Thank you.

    Keyboard… aside from being disappointed that a big-key design didn’t win out… can our phone run two touchscreens? I mean could we economically just adapt a second screen of the same type, to provide a bigger software keyboard, or moar desktop, as wished. [Dare I say: “a folder that makes sense”: don’t try to invent a hinge – just go with distinct screens. Add option for more battery under the second. Let a softcase deal with holding the two phones together. That sort of thing.

    1. that idea of ​​double screen seems better to me, also as I have always said pinephonde should be sold modular sell all its parts freely

  7. The upgrade of the pinephone board is interesting. I am a happy owner of the Ubports device. I will consider purchasing a new board if there is a way to repurpose the old board . Hopefully you will sell it with a little device to power the board to use it as something else. Music server, development board etc…

    1. You can use regular PINE A64 LTS images with the board I’m sure … but you’d have to hack in all the I/O, which may or may not be a challenge depending on your DIY soldering and general electronic skills.

      1. But then you’d need an awesome soldering iron, preferably with an open design – maybe Risc V to make the modifications… But where could one get such a thing?… 😉

  8. My opinion about the pinecom:
    I will be using the pinecom for private communications, finding my way during trips.
    1.So for communication , I will need a selfie camera (is it possible to use the OV6540?) , a good microphone
    2. As for sensors the lesser the better.
    3. I would absolutely love dual band/11ac/BT5 chipset as it will make communications using wifi much better and I can use the device as a hotspot ( This is useful when your university allows you to use only one device to connect to the internet at a time)
    4 GPS is a must have as I will be travelling a lot and will depend on offline maps and GPS for this.
    5. I feel like SPI flash is not needed as long as the device boots from sd card first.
    6. It would be great if pinecom had a larger battery than the pinephone. This along with a smaller screen and no modem will make it ideal to carry with you for long trips.So I am okay with the device being a bit thicker.
    7. 5″ LCD would be awesome . Its easier to hold than bigger screens and also it will have better battery life.
    99$ would be a very attractive deal for the pinecom. It makes it more affordable for students like me.
    I do not know much about LoRa or LoRaWan so can’t say about that.
    I was not able to post this in the forum as I was unable to reset my password using my email . My email is the same I used to post this comment.

  9. Every now and then you bow provides a letter to me. This is bullshit and falsehood. It never replies to e-mails or messages on communicators. I am the best example.

  10. The key design on the keyboard looks unappealing to me. It looks too small and cumbersome to click the correct keys. I wouldn’t be disappointed if the vendor designing this didn’t come through in the end – hopefully a different vendor could offer a better design.

    Pinecom sounds interesting if it comes in at an affordable-enough price-point.

    We’re excited about the PineCube and the other developments!

  11. Pinecon sounds fun, not an essential piece but if real cheap I would probably buy a couple. Probably leave phone in backpack when traveling and use the con more, like I would use that as GPS unit in the car. GPS and wifi to the max. This would also be the kind of device I would give me kid when they are old enough before I give them a full phone.

    I was hoping for the slider keyboard myself, I miss that feature from back in the Droid 4 days. But I trust you guys to make sure everything works in practice before offering it to us. Thanks for all of the hard work.

  12. I’m super hyped for the upgrade option for the mainboard and the promised surprise. The only regret I used to have was not being able to toy with video out on my UBports CE, this more than fixes it up for me. I’m pretty sure I can repurpose current board into my local testbench and use something as a thin client against it.

    Accessories seems to coming together and the Pinephone continues to be the star of the show. Looking forward to your future ventures (I’m still on the fence about the PineCom tho’)

  13. Omigod! Keyboards! In a clamshell design! No, seriously. I’m over the moon at the thought. If it can’t or doesn’t work with Braveheart, I’ll buy a newer Pinephone, that’s how much I want a keyboard.

  14. I would like to know where the exact copy of the PinePhone Manjaro software as sent to the factory can be downloaded?
    Many thanks!

      1. Having tested that version I must admit that it is one of the worst images seen in the last weeks.
        I suggest you thoughly test and improve basic functionality before flashing at the factory!
        If you need details you can email me.

  15. Very excited to see a board upgrade option for the PinePhone reach the store soon! Though I’ll admit to being somewhat wary of the replacement process… that board seems very tough to remove, what with all the ribbon cables and such.

    Disappointed that the keyboard is nothing like the Psion-style keyboard that was mentioned as being planned months ago—what happened to that? Rubber-dome keyboards are usable, but for something as flexible as the PinePhone, it’s a waste to not have a true keyboard that can be thumb- or touch-typed. This has been sorely lacking from any recent phones besides the Planet devices, and they’re iffy and Mediatek-based and such…

    Would be interested in a smaller PDA-style device with a bit of a tighter niche. I do wonder about the continued attachment to LoRa though—it is after all a proprietary spec, not a great thing to have in an open device, especially when there’s an existing 802.11 standard in the same vein…

    1. I wrote about the plans re the PSION-like keyboard a few months back; long story short – we can’t travel to Asia right now (COVID19 and all that) and the molding is super expensive. Those two factors mean we won’t take it on if we can’t monitor progress in person.

  16. Pinephone keyboard clamshell with Qi?
    Is there already a Gadgetbridge like application for the PinePhone
    I will buy the Pinecom with GPS 3.5mm out and wifi if affordable 🙂 Time to write a “garmin linke” gps app for pinephone/tab/com
    I see (2) pinecubs being used for book scanners if it has a usable protocol (to replace expensive cameras with custom roms).

    Now aiting for my Pinephone Manjaro, and hope to easily add kde plasma modbile or midiri Desktop environment (next to phos)

  17. I’m one of those very excited for the pinephone keyboard. I don’t oppose the design, but it leaves a lot of questions.
    1. The design doesn’t appear to feature a 180deg hinge. I also don’t see any allowance for audio through the keyboard case (passive or wired). How are we supposed to take calls without removing the keyboard every time?
    2. The pinephone has no magnets in the the body. Will the case provide the necessary mechanisms (switch in the hinge, or magnets in the keyboard and magnetic switch in the case back) that can be used to trigger sleep/stay sleeping when closed?
    3. while i like the idea of all these different cases, several of these features suggested would be desireable in one case. Is pine considering an option to at least put the wireless charging coil in the keyboard case?

    Not sure anything in your response to concerns about pinecom stealing resources actually addresses those concerns in any meaningful way. Regardless, I have very few complaints on what pine has produced in the hardware category to date, so Ill wait and see what happens. I don’t have any use for a PineCom, but additional hardware for the pinephone is an exciting prospect.

    Thanks as usual for the monthly update!

  18. Personal I don’t mind a clamshell but as someone has mentioned before, the keys look to tiny on that one, some of us has big hands and two thumbs 😀 Well I’m looking forward to see what the final product looks like.

    EU store is a very welcome ting!I bought a cover and a protective glass it ended at 56 $ after tax was payid.Its nicer to know and pay taxes and shipping fees in the store, and not be surprised. And I think that more will shop when the EU pineshop is up. 👍

    When I read and see the progress of the software in the forums and the PP telegram groups, I can’t barely wait eny longer on my PP to arrive 🥳

    Thx again for the great work you at the pine64 and the community does.

  19. I am super excited for the Pinecom, I already left a note with my thoughts in the forum but I hope you don’t let the naysayers talk you out of making it. It really does sound like my ideal device.

  20. PineCom
    Hi, really happy to see a new category. I have a suggestion. I created this device called mutantC aim to be modular and easy to make. I think as the goal is same i think pine can use this device to or modify it to make the PineCom.
    Just a suggestion. The project is in MIT licensed.
    https://mutantc.gitlab.io/

    1. very good project, I’ve always wanted to do something similar, the only problem I see is the thickness of the usb and network ports takes a lot of space, if pine64 could get a ROCKPro64 or ROCK64 if port or with the minimum raspberry zero w type, as well you can grab the board from pinebook or pinephone and do something similar

      1. Yes modularity comes with a cost. But handling it pretty good. Doesn’t fell bulky in hand.
        I am also thinking the same thing, if pine can take the design and use the SOEdge then it will be a great device that can achieve the pineCom features.

        1. again;) I remember the perfect model for yours would be the Raspberry Pi Model 3 A by dimensions but by memory it would be wrong but if pine64 took that idea and developed it for a modular pinecom

          1. True, But i also wanted to support as many board as possible and Pi B form factor is the one to go.
            I also want mutantC formfactor used by PineCom, let’s see.

    2. Awesome project. I love the design. If you’ve got time, pop on the chat and PM me directly – I’d like to learn more.
      Thanks!

  21. I’m waiting for a keyboard 4G phone so I can encrypt it, store my ssh keys and be able to use my terminal from everywhere. This will be very appealing to thousands of devops that might be at the supermarket and their server goes down.

  22. I like the idea of alternative communication methods. and if the device doesn’t need to be thin like a smartphone then it would be great to have the backcover easly taken of or replaced with for example a sliding system. then below that there could be multiple ports like usb, multiple i2c so you can connect devices like a arduino. perhaps even ethernet and can.
    also some normal IO pins might work to add custom things. but one of the main important feautures would be to have a long range communication method. now I have seen you mention LORA. but for example normal radio signals might (secretly) work as well. a great implementation would be that using software the devices automatically notice any other device they can connect to this doesn’t need to be on the same protocoll, so it can use internal, lora, radio. then the users can broadcast information to talk with random other users, but also send requests for speciffic users which will be broadcasted and once they reach the device you can have private information over a bridging network over the other devices.

  23. I very like idea about keyboard with additional battery. I’d be nice to integrate NFC and Qi into battery/keyboard case. NFC antenna could go into phone part of the case and Qi coil into battery (or another way).

    And mostly I’m worried about daily use cases like answering calls, reading messages, check time, look at the calendar. Most of my daily activities don’t require keyboard use. But with current design keyboard has to be opened every time. First it’s looks very inconvenient and second I’m afraid hinges and flexible flat cable will not last very long.
    I hope these potential problems will be addressed, especially the first one about inconvenience.

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