Group: Hardware/Computers/Smartphones

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According to Harald Welte's Anatomy of contemporary GSM cellphone hardware (2010), "A smartphone is a phone that has a dedicated processor for the GSM protocol stack, and another (potentially multi-core) general purpose processor for the user interface and applications." and "A feature phone is a phone that runs the GSM protocol stack (the software implementing the GSM protocol)as well as the user interface and all applications on a single processor."


The Replicant wiki has a lot of information on various Android and GNU/Linux smartphones.

That wiki also have information on many devices that the Replicant project doesn't want to support as it is still relevant to free software support (or the lack thereof) for smartphones and tablets.

For feature phones, the osmocomBB wiki has a lot of information on various devices that are supported or could be supported by osmocomBB and other related projects (Nuttx, etc).

However some devices do not fit in either categories: There are some smartphones without any touchscreen that have a feature-phone like formfactor. Due to the limited input capabilities (feature-phone like numpad) they are not well suited to run common Android or GNU/Linux desktop environments. As some run derivative of FirefoxOS, it would still be interesting to do some research on them, for instance to get the corresponding source code.


The Group:Hardware/FSDG_distributions page has details on FSDG compliant distributions, especially on which distribution support ARM 32bit and ARM 64bit.

At the time of writing two distributions are meant to support smartphones:

  • PureOS: A GNU/Linux distribution that supports the Librem 5. It has special repositories for the Librem5 as well as general repositories for ARM 64bit.
  • Replicant: It's an Android distribution that is currently based on Android 6.0 and has difficulties trying to update it for more recent Android versions.

Other FSDG compliant distributions could also support some smartphones if people invest some effort. Some phones like the Pinephone (not to be confused with the Pinephone PRO) don't require lot of effort to add. The Librem5 also looks relatively easy to support. Other smartphones that are supported by upstream Linux could probably added without much effort if the tweaks needed are packaged in a specific package like for the Pinephone or the Librem5.

Replicant also has a wiki page about upstream support for smartphones that needs updating.


(Note that this page does not automatically update; if you add another page under Hardware/research/smartphone/, make sure to refresh/purge this page.)

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