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Linux Smartphones Are Here.

kailyons profile image KaiLikesLinux ・3 min read

Okay, so Linux smartphones did technically exist in 2007, first with the OS we all know and love today, OpenMoko. OpenMoko is slightly older than Android, and was the first Linux smartphone OS. Since then there have been very few actual phone OS attempts. Firefox OS was the first real contender to fight Android (if Mozilla didn't kill it), but now we have four different operating systems. Ubuntu Touch, Manjaro ARM, PureOS, and Phosh are the leading the new Linux mobile world. They all have varying levels of usability, but no worse than Android in 2007 - 2015 depending on which OS you mention. However mobile devices are nothing without the hardware, which is what I want to focus on today, as Linux phones are actually here now, as in actual companies starting up to make Linux phones (that aren't Android). Let's talk about the phones I see most promising, and listing them from least promising to most promising.

I will also not give too much information on each phone, as each phone is fun to look into in your own time, I will just give a short opinion on each. I don't feel qualified to describe these phones, so you should go check them out.

4. Purism's Librem5

Purism has it all, a mostly working phone, a working OS of their own, and a sim card. However, it sucks that Purism is deciding to be the Apple of Linux. In the Fivnex blog, I went through why Purism's $100/month sim card is a scam, but it is so much more than their sim card. Their phone is $2,000 US, which is expensive. The price alone puts it in fifth place, but the fact is they do have something and should be on this list.

3. Pine64 Pinephone

While Pinephone is leagues ahead Purism in price and usability, the Pinephone seems like a hobbyist contender in comparison. While being hobbyist is not a bad thing, it sure doesn't sell all that well to non-enthusiasts. Pinephone will definitely be a contender in the war of the Linux phones but I feel like it has a long way to go.

2. F(x)tec PRO1

Technically this is tied for the number one spot. Due to it's fair price, fair size, and popularity on news platforms, the F(x)tec PRO1 is looking to be one of the most promising phones of 2020, live alone for just the Linux sphere. It's real competition comes with VollaPhone, whom we will get into in just a minute. While this phone is crowd-funded, it actually already has everything setup to release the phone by 2022, which is amazing.

1. VollaPhone

VollaPhone only beats the F(x)tec PRO1 in operating system, using their own OS with a preconfigured VPN. While VPNs have issues, they do sell well. VollaPhone looks to be the single best phone on the market, as it protects the user while giving them freedom.

Conclusion

Have you heard of any of these phones? Do you agree or disagree? What phone did I miss? Tell me in the comments

The phones

Discussion

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Ben Halpern

How does the Linux community feel about Android in general? I get the sense that there's a preference for Android vs iOS because it's more open, but certainly Android serves fairly proprietary purposes.

How would you say folks feel about Androids and their place in the open source spectrum.

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KaiLikesLinux Author

I would personally say the Linux community disassociates from Android. The Linux community uses it as an example of professionally developed Linux but at the same time whether or not Android should be a distro usually comes down to the proprietary-ness of the whole system. Android is Linux because of the kernel, but not Linux because it separates from the philosophy.

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Felipe Matos Malinoski

please don't forget the Fairphone, which comes with Android by default but allows you to easily switch the OS.

From the official forum: forum.fairphone.com/t/operating-sy...

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KaiLikesLinux Author

I left it out on purpose, because it doesn't come with a non-Android OS by default, but Fairphone is good.

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256hz profile image
Abe Dolinger

Didn't know about any of these - super cool.