The dream of a truly free open source smartphone as in the language that Linux runs has never really died. It simply took several forms and suffered numerous setbacks along the way. Last year, however, it seemed that the dream was finally close to coming true, with the Purism Librem 5 and the PINE64 PinePhone declaring the shipping dates. The Librem 5 had a difficult start and now it is the turn of the PinePhone BraveHeart edition to try to convince the world that a Linux consumer phone is not a bad idea after all.
There is a reason why PINE64 calls it the BraveHeart edition. While it’s not as crude as the developer versions that it sent to a limited number of developers and unconditional enthusiasts, this first batch of phones is barely ready for end users. PINE64 makes a fairly long post that tells recipients what to expect, that is, not so much if you compare it even with the cheapest Android phone.
However, it is much better than that previous development edition, with sealed spaces and all the necessary warning labels present. There is even a plastic screen protector for a good measure. PINE64 warns people not to look for a charger in the box because they don’t want to contribute to more electronic waste. It is expected that most people these days have charge heads anyway.
The nature of the first users of the phone will be seen immediately when it starts. The operating system has a trial version and PINE64 expects those who pre-ordered the phone will at least know enough to install their operating system of choice later. Definitely not for the faint of heart.
The PinePhone BraveHeart edition begins shipping on January 17, but there are also some warnings about it. Due to the chosen shipping partner, actual arrival, taxes and tracking may vary depending on where you are. And then there is the next celebration of the Chinese New Year that will put many companies and processes on hold until the beginning of February.