Pine64's monthly news report is somewhat late this month, consequently I've decided to take it upon myself to produce an unofficial news report. As I don't have insider Pine64 knowledge this article will focus mainly on community updates.
There's a lot of exciting news to cover, so keep reading!
First up in PinePhone news: Mobian, a port of Debian for the PinePhone, has announced that it's now offering an experimental kernel that works on both the PinePhone and PinePhone Pro. As far as I can tell, both devices should benefit from a shared code base. It's great to see the PinePhone Pro come such a long way in a relatively short period of time. Thanks to @awai and Undef for their work on this kernel.
Next up in PinePhone news: Sailfish OS now has a camera app that works on the PinePhone! Sailfish OS has generally been making huge strides towards being daily driveable on the PinePhone recently, this month the camera was enabled, not long after that an app called PinHole was developed to let end users take advantage of these changes. As you can see the results are quite impressive. As far as I'm concerned, Sailfish OS is an uncomplicated operating system that anyone can get to grips with, now that it has camera support (among other things) it should be a good choice for people who want an uncomplicated PinePhone experience. Thanks to Adam Pigg for enabling the camera on Sailfish OS!
The PineTab 2 hasn't even been released yet and we're already seeing major strides in hardware support for the device. For instance, Pine64 have recently demoed video out working! As somebody who frequently uses this feature with her iPad it's great to know that I'll be able to use it with my PineTab 2 as well. I also think that this feature opens up the possibility of using the device as a laptop replacement that can be docked at a desk.
RISC OS is an interesting operating system quite unlike any other. It's designed from the ground up for limited instruction set computers and has quite a long and interesting history that dates back to the 1980s and Acorn computers.
Unlike Linux (which is just a kernel), RISC OS is a complete operating system complete with a GUI and several basic applications. It also has it's own app store complete with numerous applications for you to try out.
Furthermore, the operating system should be quite fast as the kernel is written entierly in highly efficient ARM assembly!
Anyone interested in trying this interesting detour from Linux can now install it on their PineBook or A64 SBC thanks to an alpha image for the devices that has been released recently.
Pinebook Pro owners also have a lot to look forward to as there's an image for the RK3399 being worked on that'll be released in the near future.
Last month the PineBuds Pro were released, they're excellent buds that provide great sound quality and features at an excellent price, this month several developers have made the PineBuds Pro even better by developing open firmware for the buds. Two examples of this are Little Buddy and the PineBuds Open Source SDK. Both of these projects support most of the main features of the PineBuds Pro though there are some features currently lacking (most notably ANC). However, if you're a brave PineBuds Pro owner who refuses to use any non-free software, these firmwares might be for you.
For those who don't know the Ox64 is Pine64's first RISC-V SBC. It isn't remotely intended for everyday tasks and occupies a similar position in the market to the Raspberry Pi Pico. Several exciting use cases may have just opened up for the device as Thanos the Tank Engine has got video output working. Personally, I'd be interested in seeing some sort of Ox64 retro handheld.
To finish off this post I'm going to write about some news that won't fit anywhere else.
Manjaro have recently shipped hardware video decoding for RockChip devices to end users. That means that users of all Pine64 devices can benefit from hardware video decoding. That should be helpful to any owners of lower end Pine64 devices that can often struggle to play high quality video. The only downside is that it requires you to install custom builds of MPV or Kodi.
With all that said, it's been an exciting month for Pine64! I'm not sure if I'll have to write one of these news flashes again next month but be sure to stay tuned just in case I do!
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