I’ve been trying my hand at porting for the first time with an unusual device New port in the works: Xiaomi Mi Note 10 (tucana) and I may have hit a wall - literally, I broke some of the pieces of the device:)
Since then, the porting HADK started to allow Android 11, so I’m looking for a new device to buy and port Sailfish to - no guarantees of the outcome, of course.
I am very opinionated about cameras, I like OLEDs on my phones and double-tap to wake, and I would like the smallest device available with those (so I can carry it in a case, so I don’t hit it as I did with the Mi Note 10:).
So here would be my initial criteria for a device that doesn’t exist:
- Camera at least 1/1.7", 1/1.5" preferred, 1/1.28" would be awesome (iPhone 14 Pro territory btw). I currently have 1/1.33" but could live with a small downgrade with a better glass/sensor
- OLED screen with double tap to wake. Preferably always-on too, maybe I find out how to use that in Sailfish (properly, with low refresh rate)
- Headphone jack
- Fingerprint reader - preferably side-mounted sensor (or front, but on a button, or under display, but sonic). Under display optical sensor can be adapted for e.g. Xiaomi as I did it for Mi Note 10, but maybe it cannot be done for others. Back mounted sensor is a no-go.
- Infrared port. I enjoy irremote every once in a while it’s amazing.
- Largish battery - 4000+ mAh territory
- The proximity sensor needs NOT be virtual sensing
- The manufacturer is company I would like to support
- The model is popular enough so it helps Sailfish by it having a port
- The screen would better not be notched
Now that we have established that I am a stubborn prick who only likes jewelry phones (or whatever was your impression reading the list), let’s go through some examples.
First, the existing Mi Note 10 from Xiaomi: checks 1, 2, 3, 5, 6 and only partially 4, but not 7, 8, 9 nor 10. So we can give it a “note” of 5.5 out of 10.
== Zenfones, MIs and Xperias ==
Looking around for Android 11 devices, I found these three:
Asus Zenfone 8 checks partially 1, fully 2, 3, partially 4, not 5, yes 6, 7, 8, 9, and not 10.
So it gets 7.0 points out of ten. It also gets full “porting points” as it has a fully official lineage 18.1 port so adapting Sailfish OS to it would be a walk in the park.
The Xiaomi 12x checks 1, 2, not 3, partially 4, fully 5, 6, not 7, 8, 9 nor 10.
So it gets 4.5 points out of ten. It also gets low “porting points” as there is no Android 11 custom rom on XDA, but at least the R-kernel is OSS so a similar SOC-device with a custom rom can be adapted.
The Xperia 5 mark II checks partially 1, yes 2, 3, 4, not 5, yes 6, 7, 8, 9 and even 10!
So we got a spectacular 8.5 points out of ten! But it scores zero/null/nada as “porting points” because Thaodan already ported Sailfish to the device. Based on the score I should just go with it and stop thinking about porting, but …
(note to self: why am I attracted to that Xiaomi 12x, even after writing an objective score??: )
== Zenfones, MIs and Xperias 12th edition ==
What if the HADK would afford for Android 12 ports? Or maybe it just works with Android 11 instructions? Or maybe, just maybe, there is only one small change to be made that I can figure out, and the HADK works with Android 12? What devices would I look for?
(I bet you didn’t see this coming…: )
Asus Zenfone 9 checks fully 1, 2, 3, 4, not 5, yes 6, 7, 8, 9, 10.
It’s a 9.0 out of ten. From a porter’s perspective I don’t know how approachable the device is, though.
Xiaomi 12s checks 1, 2, not 3, partially 4, fully 5, 6, not 7, 8, 9 nor 10.
Nothing changed, still 4.5 but the sensor got in the big league.
From a porter’s perspective, the device is -Inf approachable, not even the kernel is on github.
Xperia 5 mark IV is boringly checking exactly as mark II.
So it gets the 8.5 but is not spectacular (Zenfone stole the thunder) and from a porter’s perspective is very doable since it was just added to Sony’s Open Devices. There is still the “peril” that Thaodan might do it himself:)
(note to self: why am I attracted to that Xiaomi 12s, even after writing an objective score??: )
To add a personal twist to the “objective” scores, all models here are small, you can work around in-screen fingerprint sensing or ultrasound proximity sensing, you can start to like other companies and make other models popular (well, in theory you can), but you can’t enlarge the camera sensor, decrease the height of the phone, or add IR afterwards.
So, what does the community think about porting?
What would your dream device be? Does it check my 1-10 list, and is it also small enough?