As the demand for internet connectivity keeps growing, so has the need for data privacy. In order to efficiently deliver their services, there is a tendency for some companies to collect and store personal data from their users. Sadly, some applications and platforms violate their users' privacy by leaking their data which finds its way to other platforms. This can often lead to users being inundated with adverts or worse still, data breaches
Linux-based phones are built on free and open-source software. Going for the privacy-focused phone will mean that may lose out on some of the first-party applications offered by Google or Apple.
In this tutorial, we have recommended some of the top Linux phones in 2021 that guarantee a user's privacy.
1. Librem 5
Now let's look at its features that ensure privacy. The Librem 5 physically isolates the cellular modem from the CPU and main memory, which is crucial for protecting the rest of the phone, including the operating system, from cellular provider software and towers. In addition, it provides three hardware kill switches to physically disconnect cellular with the first switch, WiFi/BT with the second, and Camera/Microphone with the third. There’s also a lockdown mode when all three switches are switched off.
With further development, the Librem 5 phone will be able to run web applications in addition to its native applications. This will allow its users to run the most common daily applications through the web browser. Purism intends to sandbox and isolate these applications from the OS, so they won't be able to see what's going on in other apps or access areas you haven't specifically granted access to.
Its hardware specifications include:
- 13MP rear camera and 8MP front camera
- a user-replaceable 4500mAh battery
- 32GB secondary storage
- 3GB RAM
- Display: 5.7” IPS TFT screen @720 x1440
2. PinePhone(Pine 64)
Developed by HongKong computer manufacturer Pine64, PinePhone is a privacy-focused phone built by Pine 64 primarily for privacy reasons. It has the ability to run up to 17 operating systems, but it comes pre-installed with the most recent Postmarket OS version.
Pine64 can be used for daily phone operations but does not have access to mainstream applications such as the Google PlayStore. It comes pre-installed with open-source software that does not track or collect user data making them ideal for users seeking privacy.
Pine 64 comes with five physical kill switches that allow you to disable the camera, microphone, LTE, WiFi, and Bluetooth.
Pine64 comes with the following impressive specifications:
- Quad-Core Allwinner A64 @ 1.152 GHz
- 2GB/ 3GB LPDDR3 RAM
- Bootable microSD and 16GB/32GB eMMC
- Six pogo pins allowing for custom hardware extensions
- Quectel EG25-G with worldwide bands
PinePhone Pro the latest Linux phone is announced having privacy dip switches for the cameras, microphone, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, cellular radios, headphone jack, USB-C port for video out, and more.
- RAM - 4GB LPDDR4
- Storage - 128GB eMMC + microSD up to 2TB
- Cameras - 13MP Sony IMX256 rear, 5MP OmniVision OV5640 front
- SoC - Rockchip RK3399S
3. Volla Phone
Volla phone is yet another Linux-based phone currently in the market. Currently, Volla Phone runs on Volla OS which offers simplicity and privacy. The Volla OS is built on the open-source Android Open Source Project (AOSP), however, it lacks access to the Google Play services. This allows you to use your favorite Android apps while observing data privacy.
Alternatively, you can pre-order the Volla Phone with Ubuntu Touch OS -an open-source mobile version of Ubuntu OS. Volla does not collect any information from users, and you do not need a Volla user account in order to use the Volla Phone. Furthermore, the Volla Phone has an app for the VPN service Hide.me, which does not log any of your activity and ensures your privacy. The Volla Phone is fully cloud-independent.
Volla Phone was crowdfunded. They started the project in February 2020 and delivered the pre-orders to the fundraisers in October 2020. They're currently taking regular orders online, and there's a lot of demand for Volla in the market
It has the following specifications:
- Octa-core MediaTek Helo P23 with 2.3 GHz processing speed.
- Memory: 4GB/64 GB, microSD up to 256GB
- 6200 mAh non-removable battery, fast charging option, and wireless charging
- Finger sensor on the back.
- Display: 6,1-inch (19.5:9, 283 PPI) HD IPS LCD, with V-Notch
- Dual-SIM: Two Nano SIM cards
- Camera: 13 MP + 2 MP dual camera on the back, 8 MP front camera.
4. Pro 1- X
Pro1 x is a unique smartphone that comes with a QWERTY keyboard alongside touch screen functionality. It has a unique distinct design that lets its users multitask more efficiently. The landscape physical keyboard and 5.99” AMOLED display allow you to use the split-screen efficiently.
Pro1 -x provides the freedom to choose either Android, Lineage OS, or Linux-based Ubuntu Touch operating systems. Lineage OS is based on Android but with mostly free and open-source software. It gives you a secure, private and powerful android user experience.
It comes with the following hardware specifications:
- An octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor along with Adreno 540 graphics.
- 6GB RAM.
- 256GB storage space.
- Dual cameras at back (12 MP Sony IMXX363 + 5MP), 8 MP fixed focus front camera.
- HDMI out support
- Display 5.99”, AMOLED Gorilla Glass 3 display.
- Two SIM slots one word as a micro SD card reader as well.
- A fingerprint reader
The Linux phone industry is growing day by day. Essentially, these are the most secure Linux phones on the market today. We've gone over the most relevant aspects of each one of them. If you are a security enthusiast or want to support the development of such phones consider purchasing your preferred one.