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HCL:VollaPhone

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VollaPhone booting to a graphical user interface, next to a Geeko plush

The Volla Phone is a crowdfunded smartphone designed to ship with a version of Android that’s been stripped of proprietary Google apps and features. As a stretch goal, the creators of the Volla Phone project promised to support a GNU/Linux-based operating system. Since that goal was reached, the Volla Phone can be ordered with a choice of the Android-based Volla OS or with Ubuntu Touch.

There’s also a community-supported build of the Linux-based Sailfish operating system for the Volla Phone and now also for openSUSE, only openSUSE Tumbleweed is supported.


Technical Data

  • Octa-core ARM Cortex-A53 (4x 2.0 GHz + 4x 1.5 GHz cores)
  • MediaTek Helio P23 (MT6763V)
  • 4GB of DDR3 RAM
  • ARM Mali-G71 MP2 @ 770 MHz, 2 cores
  • 6.3" IPS, 1080 x 2340 (409 PPI), V-notch, Rounded corners
  • 64GB eMMC
  • USB Type C
  • 4700 mAh, 18.1 Wh, Li-Polymer
  • Main camera: 16MP (f/2.0, 1080p30 video) + 2MP (for bokeh/depth), PDAF, LED flash
  • Selfie camera: 16MP
  • 3.5mm headphone jack
  • Dimensions: 157 mm x 75.1 mm x 9.65 mm
  • Weight: 190 g

The recommended ways to install software are: Zypper, OBS Package Installer, GNOME Software, Discover and Flatpak. We have the cnf (cannot find) tool to search what packages provide certain binaries, e.g. cnf gpspipe; this only works for repositories already on your system.

Flathub has to be enabled as it comes disabled by default.

flatpak remote-add --if-not-exists flathub https://flathub.org/repo/flathub.flatpakrepo

Programs already ported by the openSUSE community on Open Build Service can be installed using opi, e.g. opi kweather. We recommend you have the Packman repository added, so you can install software with restricted licenses, like many codecs.

Users can switch the package manager from zypper to dnf if desired, just make sure to copy the repositories where they belong, in order to switch simply execute the following commands:

zypper in dnf PackageKit-backend-dnf

This will prompt for a conflict with the package PackageKit-backend-zypp, proceeding will replace the PackageKit backend.

cp -t /etc/dnf/repos.d/ /etc/zypp/repos.d/*

Do not link both folders to prevent issues down the line. Once you transfered the repositories, check our wiki for more information.

Installing openSUSE in a VollaPhone

  1. First you will need TWRP installed, you can get from here: TWRP Volla Phone
    Reboot to Fastboot (Pushing Power button + Volume Down), then select fastboot and execute:
    fastboot flash recovery twrp.img

  2. Now get Volla OS 9 image to get correct partitions: Volla OS 9
    Reboot to TWRP (Pushing Power button + Volume Down), then select recovery.
    Cleaning all: select Wipe then Format Data and after that Factory Reset
    Installing base: go back and select Advanced then ADB Sideload and check Wipe Dalvik Cache and Wipe Cache, swipe and from your PC execute:
    adb sideload volla-9.0-20210528-nightly-k63v2_64_bsp-signed.zip
    Reboot system normally

  3. Download the image you want from here. Make a choice of phone enviroments:
    Geeko-white.png
    GNOME Shell adaption for small devices.

    Build base images are created in GSI Repository.
    Reboot to TWRP (Pushing Power button + Volume Down), then select recovery.
    Cleaning all: select Wipe then Format Data and after that Factory Reset
    Installing base: go back and select Advanced then ADB Sideload and check Wipe Dalvik Cache and Wipe Cache, swipe and from your PC execute:
    adb sideload <opensuse_image_downloaded>.zip
    Reboot system normally

  4. Power on the board.
    • Phosh: a welcome app will be started to walk you through the first boot steps.
  5. Have a lot of fun...
The default login goes with the username phablet and the password 1234.
The root user's password is linux, you should set a different one using sudo passwd root.
During the first boot, system can reboot two times
Warning: In openSUSE Tumbleweed the correct way to update the system through the terminal is using zypper dup, not zypper up.

Current status

Feature Supported? Additional notes
Rear and front camera No
Camera flash No
WiFi Yes
Bluetooth Not tested
GNSS:GPS Not tested
Magnetometer, Ambient light, Accelerometer, Gyroscope No
Vibration motor Yes
Proximity No
Volume buttons Yes
Audio Yes
Mobile data Not tested Should work well
SMS Yes
Calls Yes
USB OTG Not tested


Contributing

If you want to contribute in packaging, testing or have any suggestions, don't hesitate to contact us via:

You can reach us for help in those chats case you run into any issues, but do keep in mind that we are all doing this voluntarily and work on the project with limited time.


The source code is available at the Open Build Service project.