Comparing specs of Linux phones

With the PinePhone and Librem 5 coming onto the market, the PDA’s by Planet Computer and all the Xperia phones being sold by Jolla, we now have quite a few choices in phones that can be bought with Linux preinstalled or supported by the phone maker:

It looks like the Necunos NC_1 (€1199, specs) will never be released. Sadly, Rob Braxman is no longer selling the Google/LG Nexus 5 (16GB) for $174.00 with Ubuntu Touch preinstalled and no longer advertises his service to install UBports on your existing phone.

To help people decide which Linux phone they should buy, I have created a table comparing the specs of the different Linux phones:

(It is best to use the .ods file even if using MS Excel, Quattro Pro, WPS Office, etc, but here is a converted .xlsx file if you can’t open the .ods file.)

5 thoughts on “Comparing specs of Linux phones

  1. Mark J. Kropf

    I have not had the occasion to use most of the devices here, but have used an Xperia, the Gemini PDA as well as borrowing a Pine 64 for an hour or two from a friend. I would note that most any of the devices can probably handle selected Linux distros and who knows, perhaps one can even be found to perhaps be made to work with a BSD (not includng modified into the OS universe of Apple!).
    My biggest concern is for the ability of the underlying firmware to be updated. I have been disheartened by the limited updating of the Planet Computers in that regard. Certainly, whether using Linux or even should a NetBSD ever make it to a Smartphone, the ability of the system to be kept updated in regards to common malware and other security issues may be assumed within the general software platform. Given that more and more malware can operate closer to the core functioning of the device, support will yet need to be found for any change that might alter the boot sectors or the chip firmware by which the device runs the general platform. If a Planet Computer or similar company is rather lackadaisical in its approach to maintaining some control over potential weaknesses in the coding of its product at a core level, no such phone will be worthwhile, even to the extent that it can be updated in its higher level software functioning.
    I fully expect that future smartphone hacking will find rootkit like attacks and similar approaches of security assault more prominent and some notice must be made of this potential as well.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. amosbatto Post author

      The PinePhone and Librem 5 are going to have a real advantage in terms of long-term software updates, because they are using chips that are supported for a long time by the manufacturers, so they should keep getting firmware and driver updates. Qualcomm and MediaTek only support their Snapdragon and Helio chips for 2-3 years. The MediaTek SoC’s used in the Gemini, Cosmo, Astro and Volla Phone have a very short lifespan, because MediaTek doesn’t provide enough information and code so that the community cannot create mainline Linux drivers for the Helio chips. Once MediaTek stops providing firmware and driver updates, we are stuck with aging software.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. JR-Fi

    Noticed a slight error. Volla: “only phone assembled in Europe”. But then there is that one that is “assembled in Finland”.


    1. amosbatto Post author

      Maybe I should change that to “made by Gigaset which is the only company doing phone assembly in Europe”, since there are other Gigaset phone models which are assembled in Europe. At this point, it is unlikely that the Necunos NC1 will ever be released. If it is released, Necunos will become the second phone maker which does assembly in Europe.

      Gigaset is part of Siemens, but the largest shareholder of Gigaset is a Hong Kong businessman, which raises questions about whether the Chinese government could influence Gigaset.


      1. amosbatto Post author

        I rechecked the text and it says: “The Volla Phone is made by Gigaset, which is currently the only phone brand assembled in Europe.”
        That is currently true. If the NC_1 is ever released, I will have to change that.


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