The KDE Project released today Plasma Mobile Gear 21.12 as the latest version of their open-source and free software suite for the Plasma Mobile desktop variant for mobile devices.
Packing three months worth of improvements since the Plasma Mobile Gear 21.08 update, Plasma Mobile Gear 21.12 is the first release of the software suite to switch its telephony stack from oFono to ModemManager.
As you may know, ModemManager integrates with the NetworkManager network management daemon, which is currently being used by many popular GNU/Linux distributions for network connectivity of all sorts, including but not limited to Wi-Fi, wired and mobile connections, as well as for telephony functions.
According to the KDE Project, ModemManager has a more active development and new devices are always being upstreamed. On the good side of things, ModemManager proved to be much more reliable than oFono on mainlined devices like the PinePhone or OnePlus 6, but, on the bad side of things, Halium devices are no longer supported and some features are yet to be added.
“The main drawback of switching off of oFono is that it is the only option for Halium devices. However, due to our recent decision to drop Halium support, this factor is no longer a constraint,” reads the announcement. “The code has not been extensively tested, which means features and fixes will still be rolling out on each monthly Plasma Mobile Gear release.”
Due to this major change, the Spacebar SMS/MMS application and Dialer phone app now use ModemManager as default backend. On top of that, Dialer received haptic feedback support for incoming call notifications, while Spacebar now ships with a lot of goodies, including full MMS support, the ability to delete individual messages and resend a failed message, as well as to extract links and 2FA codes from within messages.
Another important change in Plasma Mobile Gear 21.12 is improved support for external displays. Plasma Mobile users should no longer encounter issues when connecting their devices to an external display as long as the phone supports the display’s resolution. This is good news for PinePhone users who encountered failures when attempting to connect the device to an external display.
Plasma Mobile Gear is all about Plasma Mobile apps, so the new release packs lots of updated apps. For example, the Weather app now has a more performant dynamic view and location switching, the Angelfish web browser now features support for clearing the browser history and improved virtual keyboard integration, and the Kasts podcasts app now comes with support for chapters and updated episode and subscription pages.
Also improved is the NeoChat app, which now supports custom emojis and spellchecking for the input box, the Tokodon Mastodon client, which also features spellchecking support and new settings pages, the KClock app, which features improved notifications, and the Kalendar app, which received some new features too.
Among other noteworthy changes, Plasma Mobile Gear 21.12 adds major improvements to the Shell, further improves the built-in keyboard, and improves the top panel with a new Airplane Mode quicksetting due to the porting of the mobile data indicator to ModemManager, as well as the ability to create custom quick settings and open the KClock app when tapping on the clock label.
Of course, there are numerous under-the-hood improvements to make applications start faster and provide better window animations. Smooth fading for turning on and off the screen has been added as well in this release, along with screen rotation animations and the ability to automatically move the bottom panel to the side when the screen is switched to landscape mode.
Image credits: KDE Project
Last updated 12 months ago