Comparing the Librem 5 and PinePhone with a Huawei smartphone

I just posted a teardown of a Huawei 2015 smartphone on my blog, where I did a bit of comparison with the hardware in the Librem 5 and PinePhone:

I’d be interested in hearing people’s thoughts about the article.


It seems a solid breakdown, You clearly have done a lot of research on the topic.

I am a bit curious about the mentioned restrictions google puts on android devices. Some of which you mentioned. I am curious what restrictions prevent phones like the librem 5 and pinephone from being able to run android (more choice being a good thing)

I don’t think anything does. Someone “just” needs to spend the necessary effort to port it.

Ahh I was under the impression that one needed to sign a deal with google that was restrictive.

AFAIK that’s true, but only when you want to use and sell with Google Play Services, which is required by most applications on Google Play. If you’re fine without it, you can ship AOSP without having to sign any deals.

If you’re interested in Android, Replicant is a project that you may want to take a look at.

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When Allwinner released the A64 processor in 2015, it had support for Android 5.1 and I have found A64 devices being sold on the internet with Android 6.0, so I assume that Allwinner supported Android on the A64 up till Android 7.0, when Google imposed stricter standards on encryption. The A64 supports hardware AES encryption, but maybe it wasn’t fast enough to pass the encryption tests or some other test in the Android 7.0 Compatibility Test Suite (CTS) or maybe Allwinner decided to drop supporting Android.

At any rate, GloDroid (a AOSP 11 derivative) has been ported to the PinePhone, so in theory Android 11 can be ported to the PinePhone, but without passing the Android CTS, Google won’t allow Android to officially be used on the PinePhone, so you get no access to the Google Play Store and Google Mobile Services. In other words, PINE64 is in the same position as Huawei with respect to Android.

NXP does officially support Android 11 on the i.MX 8M Quad and I assume that all the components in the Librem 5 have Android drivers, so it probably would be possible to port AOSP to the Librem 5. However, Purism has no interest in getting an official Android license from Google and Google isn’t going to give community members a license, so even if you manage to port AOSP to the Librem 5, you are going to have to illegally install the Gapps yourself, just like when you install LineageOS or any other AOSP derivative on your phone.