[Tinkerphones] ZeroPhone site offline

Paul Boddie paul at boddie.org.uk
Sun Jan 2 21:33:36 CET 2022

On Wednesday, 29 December 2021 10:15:45 CET H. Nikolaus Schaller wrote:
> Next question: are there enough interested developers for writing free
> software?
> And one more thing to consider is the power demand of a non-phone-processor.
> Especially the ∏02 needs much more energy or must be heavily underclocked
> (if that is possible at all).
> Even the N900 upstream kernel is wrestling with power management of the
> good old omap3.
> The key feature of a featurephone over a smartphone is that it can
> run 100 hours or more in standby but wake up immediately. And all that
> coming in a small and lightweight case with big buttons and display.
> This combination of requirements is very difficult to achieve with
> off-the-shelf components.

Sorry to rewind back to this, but reading a selection of comments about the 
PinePhone is certainly enlightening in this context:


It seems to me that some of the issues that are mentioned above, plus various 
issues previously mentioned about the Openmoko devices, still seem to be 
present even in today's initiatives. For example:

"Got one because my husband is very into Linux and wanted to see if it could 
replace my 6 year old Samsung but I can kind of live with the slowness but the 
battery level is so unreliable and drains quickly."


"I was using the pinephone as a daily driver, and was even using XFCE/PMOS as 
my os for a while. Then went to Manjaro and just recently (4 days ago) bought 
a new Android (Motorola G Power 2021) specifically because of the battery 


"I’ve used my PPs in convergence format with a cooling fan to dissipate the 
heat when a monitor is connected. I’m hoping the Pro as promised will be safer 
to use."


"If the battery life would improve I’d love to use it as a daily driver but I 
just don’t see me getting a 12 hour day with it off charger. Plus last time I 
popped a sim in it(admittedly awhile back now) it didn’t handle receiving 
calls when screen was off very well."


"The biggest blocker to actually using the Pinephone for me has been buggy 
hardware and incomplete drivers (or drivers that must work around buggy 
hardware). Particularly the USB-C support for video-out and power negotiation. 
If USB-C, sound, display, wifi, & bluetooth were all hardware with reliable, 
upstream kernel support then the Pinephone would be immediately usable for me 
for many daily tasks and a fun playground to experiment with. Unfortunately 
both Pinephone models that I’ve purchased have hardware issues and have been 
largely shelved — they don’t work as a phone (which is expected) nor do they 
work as a tiny Linux computer (which is not expected and disappointing)."


"Even though I was able to get my Pine Phone Community Edition up and running, 
I abandoned any notion of using it regularly due to reports from callers who 
reported hearing very distorted and poor sound when I used this device. It 
seems that problem is because the mic and speaker are located too close to 
each other."


"Main issues are critical low battery life (I think it is bug in SW, since it 
stayed longer before), not receiving non-GSM notifications when the phone is 
in sleep mode (like jabber, whatsapp etc – because the wifi is disconnected) 
and also the GSM SW support is not perfect – sometimes I miss a call or sms."


"microphone not working on receiving calls, too slow, I cannot pick up the 
call in time in time"


"The Pine64 developers and the community need to put more focus onto making 
the PinePhone perform the most basic of mobile phone tasks, Like making and 
receiving phone calls, using headphone earpieces, receiving and sending SMS, 
phonebook. The basic essential stuff required for someone to just buy this 
pinephone and use it to replace a cheap android phone. Focusing on apps and UI 
and all that stuff means nothing if the average idiot cant use this phone out 
of the box!"


There's also a lot of complaints about Signal not being available for the 
phone, but I think that those people bought the wrong product.

The PinePhone initiative seems to be an interesting experiment in seeing 
whether various Linux-plus-graphical-environment distributions can deliver a 
usable phone experience. I recall things being said about the Openmoko 
FreeRunner not being quick at handling calls, with assertions about the 
software stack not being responsive enough to deal with the different 
hardware-driven events, and I imagine that despite a lot of disdain for what 
Openmoko and others sought to achieve all that time ago, the situation is 
still not that great even now.


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