Motorola Photon Q

Motorola Photon Q

Motorola Photon Q

I used to have Nokia’s Maemo phone: N900. Maemo is a Linux-based OS. Traditionally Linux has had rich multitasking capabilities and Maemo is not an exception. Multitasking on N900 was the best I ever had on a mobile phone. The hardware QWERTY keyboard was great too. I enjoyed using the N900, but unfortunately Nokia stopped supporting it and I had to move on. I went with the stream and both an Android phone. I’ve been an Android user for a year now, but I always missed the user experience of Maemo and the hardware keyboard of N900.
Ever since Ubuntu started working on Touch I wanted to try it out, because I think that it can be a good replacement for the aging Maemo platform. Unfortunately the developer preview is available only for Nexus devices. I wanted to try Ubuntu on a phone with hardware keyboard, but they are not popular and there are just a few available devices. That is why, when I came across Motorola Photon Q, I did not hesitate and bought it.

It is an old phone, released in August 2012, running on Sprint’s 4G LTE network. The Photon Q has a 4.3-inch touchscreen, 1.5 GHz dual-core processor and a sliding QWERTY keyboard:

GSM freq:GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 HSDPA 900 / 1900 / 2100
CDMA freq:CDMA 800 / 1900, EV-DO Rev.A
Platform:Qualcomm MSM8960
CPU:1.5 GHz dual-core Cortex A9 (Krait)
GPU:Adreno 225
RAM:1GB
Internal Storage:8GB
Screen:TFT, 540 x 960 pixels
SD Card:microSD, up to 32 GB
Main Camera:8 MP, 3264x2448 pixels, LED flash
Secondary Camera: 1.3 MP

The issue with Photon Q is that officially it supports CDMA only, the GSM is just for roaming. An xdadevelopers user has shown that it is possible to desolder the on-board SIM IC and connect a SIM card to use with other networks.
My plans for this phone include porting Ubuntu Touch for the device and modifying the hardware to support GSM SIM cards of different mobile networks. This post is the first one in a series, the others to follow are:

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