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Primed for PineTime

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Reviews
Gadgets

There’s something about having a watch that’s special. For me, not only is it a good way to tell the time without looking at my phone, it’s also a way to “accessorize” myself (not into piercings or tattoos, gugh…). I’ve owned watches in the past, but I either lost them or they broke after just a few months of having them (the result of buying cheap watches).

These are just standard watches that I’m talking about; smartwatches have the burden of being tied down to a proprietary app on your smartphone in order to get any good use out of them, and what’s more, not only are they generally more expensive than a “dumb” watch, but they also need to be unstrapped from your wrist every week (or maybe every day, depending on what watch you have) and charged so that it can keep telling you the time.

Something about the PineTime struck me though. Not just it’s inexpensive price point ($27 at the time of writing this); but also the fact that this is the first smartwatch I’ve ever seen that’s not powered by Google, Samsung, Apple, or the likes of some other wallet-draining corporation. It’s powered by the community, through open-source software. I can rely on the fact that, as long as the developers stay active, I can keep getting updates to my watch indefinitely, and not have to buy a “second-generation” watch just because the guys at the big corps say, “Well, this watch is two years old now; we have a better model that increases the screen size by about 10 pixels, increases the battery by about 2%, and the vibration is just a hair stronger. You have to buy the new model now because we’re not supporting the older model anymore.”

None of that BS. The beauty the PineTime also has is that it’s not tied down to one specific type of operating system or firmware. I can use different types of firmware depending on my tastes; by default the PineTime ships with InfiniTime (more on that later), but if I want to change to say, WASP OS, that’s possible. Or any other type of firmware/operating system available.

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PinePhone Specs

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Linux
OSS
Gadgets

The PinePhone is a smartphone from Pine64 designed as an affordable device capable of running free and open source operating systems including postmarketOS, UBports Ubuntu Touch, Sailfish, Mobian, and Manjaro.

While it has entry-level hardware, it also has some features that are uncommon on modern smartphones, including a removable battery (which can be replaced with any Samsung J7 form factor battery) and hardware kill switches that can disable the mic, cameras, or wireless features of the phone when you need more privacy.

Aimed at developers and early adopters, the PinePhone is not generally available year-round, but Pine64 makes limited quantities available in batches several times per. You can find more details in the spec table blow, or check out Pine64’s PinePhone website and Wiki.

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4 Best Linux Phones for Privacy in 2021

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Gadgets

As the demand for internet connectivity keeps growing, so has the need for data privacy. In order to efficiently deliver their services, there is a tendency for some companies to collect and store personal data from their users. Sadly, some applications and platforms violate their users' privacy by leaking their data which finds its way to other platforms. This can often lead to users being inundated with adverts or worse still, data breaches

Linux-based phones are built on free and open-source software. Going for the privacy-focused phone will mean that may lose out on some of the first-party applications offered by Google or Apple.

In this tutorial, we have recommended some of the top Linux phones in 2021 that guarantee a user's privacy.

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Pining For A De-Googled Smartphone

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Linux
Gadgets

Last summer in the first swings of the global pandemic, sitting at home finally able to tackle some of my electronics projects now that I wasn’t wasting three hours a day commuting to a cubicle farm, I found myself ordering a new smartphone. Not the latest Samsung or Apple offering with their boring, predictable UIs, though. This was the Linux-only PinePhone, which lacks the standard Android interface plastered over an otherwise deeply hidden Linux kernel.

As a bit of a digital privacy nut, the lack of Google software on this phone seemed intriguing as well, and although there were plenty of warnings that this was a phone still in its development stages it seemed like I might be able to overcome any obstacles and actually use the device for daily use. What followed, though, was a challenging year of poking, prodding, and tinkering before it got to the point where it can finally replace an average Android smartphone and its Google-based spyware with something that suits my privacy-centered requirements, even if I do admittedly have to sacrifice some functionality.

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Libre Software Phones

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Android
GNU
Linux
Gadgets

This article is for you who want to know about free software phones. They are mobile devices with GNU/Linux or Android family operating systems inside with more libre software, less proprietary ones and made safer from surveillance. Today, talking about these also involves talking about the software systems inside. This article lists out several the top of them namely Librem 5, Ubuntu Phones, /e/ Fairphone, PinePhone, NitroPhone and mentions also several related software projects like microG. I write this in twenty twenty one so in the future we would certainly see changes going in and out in the world and this article might become obsolete quick. Nevertheless, I hope you would enjoy this!

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An update on Fairphone 3

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Gadgets

As the saying goes “all good things must come to an end”. After a successful two-year run with the Fairphone 3, we are ending the sale of this phone. But just like what you’d expect from us, we will stick to our longevity promise to provide software and hardware support for five years from the phone’s launch. So, there is no need to worry and no need to buy a new phone or toss your Fairphone 3 into a drawer.

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Powkiddy A20 – An Amlogic S905D3 powered portable Android game console

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Android
Gadgets

Powkiddy A20 is a 3.5-inch portable Android game console based on the same Amlogic S905D3 processor found in Khadas VIM3L SBC, equipped with 2GB RAM, 8GB storage, and supported 18 different emulators for gaming. It could potentially also be an interesting platform to play with AOSP, as we’ll see below.

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Phosh v0.13.1 released (and you can finally dismiss all notifications at once)

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Software
Gadgets

Phosh is an open source user, mobile-friendly user interface originally created by Purism for the Librem 5 smartphone It’s designed from the ground up to work with small, touchscreen devices. It’s now available for a wide range of mobile Linux distributions.

But some features that have been available for other mobile operating systems for years are still making their way to Phosh. For example, version v0.13.1, which was released today, is the first that has a “clear all” button that lets you dismiss multiple notifications at once.

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Bq, Makers of the First Ubuntu Phone, Have Gone Bust

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Ubuntu
Gadgets

Spanish hardware company Bq (also known as Bq Readers) found moderate successful selling a range of Android phones and tablets in Europe.

But it gained more attention when it repurposed several of its handsets in 2015 to run Ubuntu Touch, later launching a pair of ‘convergent’ tablets too.

The first Bq Ubuntu Phones got a lukewarm reception. Artificial scarcity made the handsets difficult to buy, and the comparatively high cost for lower-end specs dampened enthusiasm. Sales were also (considerably) lower-than-expected, which (one assumes) fed into Bq’s decision to back out, and Canonical’s decision to axe the Ubuntu Phone project entirely in 2017.

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Jolla hits profitability ahead of turning ten, eyes growth beyond mobile

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Gadgets

A milestone for Jolla, the Finnish startup behind the Sailfish OS — which formed, almost a decade ago, when a band of Nokia staffers left to keep the torch burning for a mobile linux-based alternative to Google’s Android — today it’s announcing hitting profitability.

The mobile OS licensing startup describes 2020 as a “turning point” for the business — reporting revenues that grew 53% YoY, and EBITDA (which provides a snapshot of operational efficiency) standing at 34%.

It has a new iron in the fire too now — having recently started offering a new licensing product (called AppSupport for Linux Platforms) which, as the name suggests, can provide linux platforms with standalone compatibility with general Android applications — without a customer needing to licence the full Sailfish OS (the latter has of course baked in Android app compatibility since 2013).

Jolla says AppSupport has had some “strong” early interest from automotive companies looking for solutions to develop their in-case infotainment systems — as it offers a way for embedded Linux-compatible platform the capability to run Android apps without needing to opt for Google’s automotive offerings. And while plenty of car makers have opted for Android, there are still players Jolla could net for its ‘Google-free’ alternative.

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