The dream of a truly free-to-speech open source smartphone running Linux never really died. It simply took various forms and suffered many setbacks along the way. Last year, however, it looked like the dream was finally about to come true, with the Purism Librem 5 and the PINE64 PinePhone declaring shipping dates. The Librem 5 had a head start and now it’s the turn of the PinePhone BraveHeart edition to try and convince the world that a Linux consumer phone isn’t such a bad idea after all.
There’s a reason PINE64 calls it the BraveHeart edition. While not as crude as the developer builds it delivered to a limited number of die-hard developers and enthusiasts, this first batch of phones is hardly ready for end users. PINE64 makes a rather long message tell recipients what to expect i.e. not that much if you compare it with the cheapest Android phone.
It’s much better than this previous development edition, however, with well-sealed spaces and all the necessary warning labels present. There’s even a plastic screen protector for good measure. PINE64 is warning people not to look for a charger in the box because it doesn’t want to contribute to even more electronic waste. He expects most people these days to have loader heads anyway.
The early adoption nature of the phone will be immediately visible on startup. The operating system is there in a test version and PINE64 expects those who have pre-ordered the phone to know at least enough to install the operating system of their choice afterwards. Certainly not for the faint of heart.
The PinePhone BraveHeart Edition starts shipping on January 17, but there are a few caveats to that as well. Due to the chosen shipping partner, actual arrival, taxes, and tracking may vary depending on where you are located. And then there’s the long coming Chinese New Year celebration that will put many businesses and processes on hold until early February.