Next port to buy

Hi all,
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:

  1. 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
  2. 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)
  3. Headphone jack
  4. 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.
  5. Infrared port. I enjoy irremote every once in a while it’s amazing.
  6. Largish battery - 4000+ mAh territory
  7. The proximity sensor needs NOT be virtual sensing
  8. The manufacturer is company I would like to support
  9. The model is popular enough so it helps Sailfish by it having a port
  10. 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?

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I would prefer fairphone, check 8 is more than good enough for me

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I know… it’s probably a 2nd world problem, to have shiny devices, 1st world already just looks up to sustainability.

Let’s see how it places itself in my criteria: no 1, 2, 3, has 4, no 5, 6, has 7, 8, 9, no 10. So it’s a 4.0 but that doesn’t account for the fact that the device is large (>70mm width) but not much larger than the Mi Note 10.

To be fair, I expected to have more community effort already around FP4 (at least FP2 or FP3 were having ports AFAIK). I also expected a mainlined kernel for this kind of compromise, but it seems this is not the case (not even an official LOS till now, but maybe it’s too early).
I’m also torn between porting SFOS to a device that is already in the target group vs. making SFOS available to be installed for new people that didn’t know about this option.

Throwing in some more “numbers” - the Pro1-X, which is not in the gsmarena database, and has 73,6mm width:
IMX363 seems to be 1/2.55"
It doesn’t check 1, partially 2 (no 2T2W), yes 3, 4, not 5, nor 6, yes 7, 8, 9, 10. So it is a 6.5 which is excellent, and no action required from my part than to source the money and wait since there is already a port:)
But it’s not that easy is it.

But the keyboard…

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Ordered a Zenfone 8 :crossed_fingers:

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A nice choice :slight_smile:
I am in the process of deciding which device to get. Most are too big for me, and the semi-compact Xperia 10 III would get on my nerves because of the problems (hotspot, Echo cancellation, camera, …). The XZ2 compact is actually my favorite, but rinigus advises against it because it is so old. The Zenfone 8 would not be so exorbitantly expensive and not so exorbitantly big. How confident are you that the port will work? If there is a good offer, does it make sense to buy one and put it in the desk until the port is ready?

No, not yet.
I have not yet received the phone (and it was a second-hand deal) so there be dragons in this phase. Then, what if there are issues with the bootloader unlocking “app”? I would be so lucky this would happen to me a second time :slight_smile: (the first time was Huawei) . Third, there may be device specific issues like the “ramdump bug” mentioned in some xda-developers forum threads.
Only then, and depending on the evenings I can invest into, it may take ~1mo for the first boot with sailfish display + touchscreen and start debugging the rest of peripherals.
But having one potential client is encouraging:)

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I am very well aware that there are many imponderables, but I think it is reason enough not to make a purchase decision for an Xperia 10 III for now, but to wait and see. And it motivates me to endure the unbearable slowness of the Jolla 1 a bit longer and to see if there are better options than the Xperia :wink:

Greetings from a potential client :wink:

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The circle is shrinking again.
After ASUS retired the bootloader unlock tool and made a “promise” it will return “in Q3”, there’s this move from Xiaomi: no updates for unlocked bootloaders.

So I would argue that any company that is using a remote/online service to let you unlock the device can turn rogue.

And the number of devices where one can adapt SailfishOS with nice hardware (and through libhybris) only shrinks.

Are there any options that just let you offline unlock, like good ol’ laptops that let you disable secure boot? /s

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Next port to buy: 2024 edition

Just un update: as I am now daily driving the Zenfone 8.

It has the following glaring bugs:
  • The camera is sh*tty if you don’t disable sharpening, which requires camera2 API and that in turn doesn’t work with video yet
  • The vibration is very weak and not steady at calls/alarms - just a nudge + sound
  • Wifi is a power hog

I personally have workarounds for each, meaning:

  • I am not recording videos now
  • I am using an Amazfish device for notifications
  • I keep wifi off almost all the time
I am still on the lookout for other devices though!

A couple of things have changed since the original post:

  • mal says Android 13 is accessible for porting (but not 12).
  • Xiaomi 13 and 13 Pro and probably Ultra seem to not have a Virtual proximity sensor
  • I have now realized I don’t like small phones. Not because my hands have grown, but the eyes…

Given these, and continuing to seek out better cameras, I have now these three new contenders in my original criteria points:

Xiaomi 13 Pro has 1" camera, OLED D2TW, no jack, Under display FOD, IR port, large battery, no virtual sensor but I would not like to support them, probably not popular and it is notched (btw, I found out that left notch is considerably worse than middle!). So 1+, 2, but not 3, partially 4, yes 5, 6, 7, but no 8, 9 and partially 10.
So it has 6.5 points because middle notch is now 0.5 points instead of 0. And because Xiaomi FOD can be adapted (Asus I couldn’t - so 0.5 there). And because 1" sensor is 1.5 points :slight_smile:
The nice other thing about this device is that one half the price (the non-pro) gets the same chipset/kernel. But there are not any custom ROMs that build the OSS Xiaomi kernel, mostly using pre-built. That’s a red flag.

Fairphone 5 has large enough camera, OLED, no jack, side Fingerprint senor, no IR, good enough battery, real proximity sensor and I support and may be popular, though notched. So 1, 2 yes, 3 no, 4 yes, 5 no, 6, 7, 8, 9 yes and 10 partially: 7.5 points
(Later edit: 1.5 points for “company I would like to support”, for more fairness, see posts below)

The third contender is a small device and it makes the new “I like large devices” screens because… I already have one in my family. Both these criterias would offset a comparison with Xperia 1 IV which would lead the same result: Larger, but I don’t have one;)
Xperia 5 IV - checks 1, 2, 3, 4, not 5, yes 6, 7, 8, maybe/partially 9, and 10. So it has 8.5 points.

Criteria Xiaomi 13 / Pro Fairphone 5 Xperia 1/5 IV
1. Camera at least 1/1.7" 1.5pt 1pt 1pt
2. OLED screen with double tap to wake. 1pt 1pt 1pt
3. Headphone jack - - 1pt
4. Fingerprint reader - side-mounted sensor 0.5pt 1pt 1pt
5. Infrared port. 1pt - -
6. Largish battery - 4000+ mAh 1pt 1pt 1pt
7. Real proximity sensor (not virtual) 1pt 1pt 1pt
8. Manufacturer is company I would like to support 0pt 1.5pt 1pt
9. Model is popular enough so it helps Sailfish 0pt 1pt 0.5pt
10. Screen not notched / centered notch for 0.5 0.5pt 0.5pt 1pt
TOTAL 6.5pt 8pt 8.5pt

So to sum it up:

  • The Xiaomi device actually scores a bit lower than my current Zenfone 8, for political reasons (8,9)
  • Fairphone 5 is a HUGE leap (from 4 points to 7.5) from FP4
  • Xperia 5 IV has the same rank as previously but I am not anymore after very small devices for the eyes.
  • ASUS became a no-go so Zenfone 9 (or 10) does not enter the competition.
  • Android 13 became frequentable, so other Xiaomi devices enter, better than 12s, plus Xperia 5 IV which now sounds achievable.

(note to self: why am I attracted to that Xiaomi 13 Pro, even after writing an objective score??: )

Actually: picking on FP5, does it have double-tap-to-wake :)?

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As I was thinking about starting a port fir the FP5 myself (What would be required for a port to Fairphone 5?) but have doubts about my ability in this field, I would very much appreciate it if you would make a port. I can offer to support you within the scope of my possibilities, if it is somehow possible or necessary.

What about the Xperia 5 v? It has made a big step in camera improvement. It may not meet your requirements due to its size, but perhaps it’s worth considering? I can assist you as a beta tester.

Don’t dash my hopes with (good or not so good) suggestions! :joy:

As someone us complaining about the double-tap-to-wake being unreliable, in principle it should support it, I guess: https://forum.fairphone.com/t/fp5-double-tap-to-wake-not-always-working/100558

Few opinions on the matter:

  • Be wary of how HyperOS is connected to bootloader unlocking; there are many unknowns whether Xoxomi plans to completely cut unlocking off. I can only recall horror stories of current unlock times.
  • Fairphones are, IMO, overpriced for what they offer, but it is a good candidate nonetheless.
  • The Xperia 5 IV, from reviews, seems to have overheating issues, so I would avoid it.

This is actually a good suggestion and am vouching for it! Do note that porting the 5 means that 95% of the port for the 1 is done, in case you would like to support them both.

Personal tip: consider having the port stock-based if you want to take full advantage of the camera.

It would take me some time to make a decision though, but feedback noted:) - notice the period between the first post and me buying the one of the Zenfone 8 for example.

Agreed! But IV makes the list because it’s in my reach (literally, it just needs to yield ownership).

Thanks, that sounds promising! (considering we won’t have AoD)

  • I am aware of HyperOS changes… I think I posted the same above. I am including that device because it is not yet Hyper but upgradable to HyperOS.
    Also, as history shows (Huawei, ASUS), any company can pull the plug (or just go bankrupt) and no tethered bootloader unlocking is safe… not even Fairphone or Sony.
    But yes, I now see the horror 3 days to 15 days to 2 months stories :thinking:
  • Agreed. But until now they Fairphone was not even desirable for me. So I think its only… fair to note the advancement in this area.
  • That is some serious issue, especially if there are some android services responsible to throttle and may not run in the AOSP or hybris adaptation. Hopefully it can be nailed down to video recording or something and hopefully that doesn’t include flashlight usage. But you never know before trying what’s the next blocker bug (:ahem: Zenfone wifi)

Yes, I am aware of that. Am at least a little bit aware of the way rinigus built multiple device configs.

Nothing happens quickly so…:slight_smile:
As I said before, there’s a delay between me thinking this throughly and posting it here till actually making a decision. You folks help me somewhat steer, but even then there are always non-rational instincts to overcome (hey, did you know Xiaomi still has an IR blaster??) even though for this exact reason I try to give marks in what I call an objective score that is still personal :slight_smile:

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I currently use a 5 iv. The overheating is mostly when recording video, charging while doing something cpu heavy, or anything else of that sort. The vast majority of the time the phone is fine, as there were a series of software updates to address it. From my understanding it can’t be completely fixed in software since it’s just SOC itself has overheating issues even in other phones. I also have no idea how well the bug fixes would work with libhybris.

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Nice info! Which Android version? There is a kernel version change between Android 13 and 14.

I have the US version so we are still on 13, unfortunately. I can’t report on how 14 may or may not reflect power management. When the update hits I can update you if I see changes in either direction?

If you only look at the bang-per-money factor, the FP can only lose, of course. From my point of view, I would say that most other phones are overpriced for what they pay the workers and for the environmental impact they have. And for the fact that they don’t offer a long warranty like the FP and may have to be replaced sooner.
But the discussion is probably going nowhere at this point. Unless Vlad would be willing to add a broader point to the list, which he/she could perhaps call “karma factor” :wink:

Even though Fairphone may be lame or unreliable in many ways (as a company) they would probably be the last of the whole list to intentionally pull the plug on unlocking.

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