LoRa planned for IoT smartphone

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

Board and phone maker Pine64 is planning to add the LoRa low power, wide area network (LPWAN) protocol to its smartphone as an alternative to test messaging.

“We are very interested in LoRa,” said Lukasz Erecinski, community manager at Pine64. “We hope to use the technology for both traditional IoT applications as well as in less orthodox ways, such as peer-to-peer text communication and even group text-messaging. This is of particular interest to us, and in the coming months we will encourage developers to explore LoRa’s viability as a text communication alternative to GSM/CDMA and LTE.”

Pine64 is perhaps better known for its low cost single board computer (SBC) such as the RockPro64, based around the Rockchip RK3399 six/eight core processor with dual-core Cortex-A72 and quad-core Cortex-A53 with separate NEON processor and Mali T860 MP4 GPU.

But it is has also used this expertise for the 5.95in PinePhone, which started shipping this week and runs Linux on an  Allwinner A64 Quad Core SoC with Mali 400 MP2 GPU and 2GB / 3GB of LPDDR3 RAM.

“We’re doubling down on LoRa even at this early stage, so you can expect to see end-nodes for our SBCs, the Pinebook Pro, PineTab and PinePhone available in the Pine Store shortly. Indeed, we hope for LoRa to become a staple of Pine64,” he said.

The group messaging over LoRa is only a concept at the moment, he says. Pine64 has been working with RAKwireless, which makes LoRa gateways and sensors for other ventures such as Helium and has its own user community called RAKstars.

“Most members of the RAKStars community recognize LoRa as part of the development of IoT devices, however, Pine64 sees LoRa differently. With the power coming from both companies, we will enable people from all over the world to use LoRa technology in innovative ways, and most importantly, to deliver secure text communication,” said Maria Hernandez from RAKwireless.

“Both our indoor and outdoor gateways, which are at the very heart of the system, will be using RAKwireless technology,” said Erecinski. These are now fully functional, and the setup process is as simple as flashing the Armbian operating system to a SD card or eMMC module and running the script.

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