After 3 Community Editions and now Beta with the same v1.2b board, it looks like PINE64 won’t ever fix that bug with the flickering backlight.
When asked about this issue, PINE64 Community Manager Lukasz Erecinski said in the comments to the March Update:
I’ve never seen any flicker on 1.2b boards
I suspect that PINE64 considers the PinePhone to be good enough as it is, which I guess is the difference between the two companies and their phones. PINE64 aims for good enough and shipping quickly, so the community projects have hardware to work on, whereas Purism aims for higher quality, but it takes a lot longer and the device costs a lot more.
I also think that the different business models of the two companies make them use different terminology. PINE64 wants to emphasize that it is producing hardware for software development and it is selling it with only a 30 day warranty and promises virtually no support, because that allows it to sell the phone for a very low price to people working on community projects. In contrast, Purism is using crowdfunding to finance its development, and trying to generate more orders by promising that Evergreen is the final product and it just needs software updates.
However, Purism says that it is using JIT manufacturing of the Evergreen, because the hardware may change in the future. With both phones, we have a situation where the hardware may change, but we probably already have the final hardware.
However, a realistic assessment of the two phones places the Librem 5’s software significantly behind the PinePhone’s software. The PinePhone is very close to solving the problem with the modem being able to wake up the system from suspend fast enough to not miss phone calls, whereas the Librem 5 doesn’t have suspend-to-RAM working and there is a bug report about the BM818 not being able to wake up the system from suspend when it gets a phone call. These features are necessary to give the Librem 5 a long enough battery life to be a viable phone for most people.
Another factor is that if you order the PinePhone today, you will get it by the end of April, whereas if you order the Librem 5 today, you will get it in 6+ months. To me, it looks like the PinePhone has reached “mass production” before the Librem 5.
PS: I have been holding off on buying the PinePhone for the last 6 months, because I wanted the final hardware, but I finally decided that PinePhone isn’t going to fix the backlight flicker bug. I tried to order the PinePhone Beta yesterday, and then I discovered that PINE64 doesn’t have a shipper for South America. That is another difference between the two phones, because Purism does ship to South America.