If you’ve been patiently waiting to learn which mobile Linux operating system the PinePhone will ship with, you’re in luck!

PINE64 has announced Manjaro ARM running Plasma Mobile will be the default software preloaded on the PinePhone. While this news makes sense given the popularity and polish of Plasma Mobile, and Manjaro’s rapidly-improving ARM foundations, it’s still surprised many.

“We are very pleased to announce that the PinePhone will ship with Plasma Mobile on a Manjaro ARM base from this point on. We have a long-standing relationship with Manjaro and KDE Community, and both projects have supported us and our efforts since the dawn of PINE64,” writes Pine64’s Lukasz Erecinski in a February update.

PinePhone community editions have been available to buy over the past 18 months, each preloaded with a different Linux distro and mobile interface. Today’s news affects the final, standard edition of the phone, which will go on general sale in the Pine Store at some point in the coming months.

So why has the company settled on Manjaro?

Erecinski explains: “Manjaro is our core partner, offering support for all our flagship Linux devices, including the ROCKPro64 and the Pinebook Pro. Their work on the PinePhone has been indispensable, and their current OS images are among the best and most fully-featured for the platform”.

Manjaro is a great fit, and it’s the OS I’ve been leaning towards using on my own (sorely neglected) PinePhone Brave Heart.

But Plasma Mobile, though? Now, that I didn’t see coming!

I mean, I should’ve, right?

Plasma Mobile offers a solid mobile experience. It has a slew of development effort going in to it. It carries some brand recognition. It was one of the first projects to back the PinePhone.

And yet the wrong side of my brain convinced me that Phosh would be chosen simply because a certain other Linux phone uses it; or Ubports would be favoured for its rather polished out-of-the-box experience.

In other PinePhone news, a physical keyboard case accessory is in development. It even packs an additional battery that, devs say, lets the PinePhone last for up to two weeks on idle with modem on — a fairly impressive uptick!

Exciting developments, don’t you think?

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