What are your options when you are going to buy a new smartphone? Android, iOS and in some rare cases, Windows. There are a few other open source mobile OS but they are way too rare.
As an ardent Linux user, you might have longed for a real Linux based operating system on your phone. Seems like your dream may come true.
Purism, a company known for making high-end Linux laptop with the focus on privacy and free software, has launched a crowdfunding campaign for a brand new smartphone called Librem 5.
The crowdfunding campaign aims to raise $1.5M to start manufacturing a 5 inches privacy-focused smartphone running on Purism’s PureOS Linux distribution. Pricing starts at $599 putting it among the high-end smartphones.
If you think it’s a bit too ambitious to raise this kind of money through crowdfunding that you should know that Purism is not new in this field. Purism has a history of successful crowdfunding campaigns in the past so they will pull this one as well, I am certain.
Update: The crowdfunding campaign has successfully raised $1.5 million with 2 weeks to spare.
Librem 5 Features
So what exactly sets Librem 5 apart from the crowd and what are its unique selling points? Here are some of the highlights of Librem 5:
- Runs PureOS or another Linux distribution of choice. This means you can get to use Ubuntu, SUSE, Fedora and even Arch Linux on your phone.
- Privacy protection by default. Your data is secured and not shared by third parties.
- No tracking. Your phone is completely owned and controlled by you not your Big Brother.
- World’s first ever IP-native mobile handset
- End-to-end decentralized communications via Matrix
- Security focused by design
- Works with 2G/3G/4G, GSM, UMTS, and LTE networks
- CPU separate from Baseband
- Hardware Kill Switches for Camera, Microphone, WiFi/Bluetooth, and Baseband
- HTML 5 apps
Librem 5 Specifications
Since it is in early phases, specifications may change over the time. At present, this is the proposed specification:
- 5″ touchscreen
- i.MX6/i.MX8 CPU
- Vivante GPU (Etnaviv free software accelerated driver)
- Separate mobile baseband
- 3GB LPDDR3 RAM
- 32GB eMMC
- MicroSD slot
- Front and back camera
- Headphone and Microphone Jack (some elite smartphones don’t have this feature)
- WiFi 802.11
- Bluetooth 4
- USB Type-C
- Sensors: GPS, Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Compass, Ambient Light and Proximity
- Hardware kill switches for Camera, Microphone, Baseband, WiFi/Bluetooth
Librem 5 Release Date
Don’t get too excited about it yet. The first Librem smartphone will not ship until January 2019. And guessing with the crowdfunding campaign, it will only be available to its backer in the first round of shipping.
So you have plenty of time to wait and watch. If you like to back the project and book a piece of ‘freedom’ smartphones, you can visit the link below:
What do you think of Librem smartphone?
It’s hardly a few months since the demise of Ubuntu Phone and we already have two new Linux based smartphones planned. The other being postmarketOS.
But if a big organization like Canonical couldn’t succeed with Ubuntu Phones, can Purism succeed with Librem? That’s the big question that can only be answered in future.
If I have to speculate, I think Canonical’s inexperience with hardware might be one of the reasons behind Ubuntu Phone’s failure. At the same time, Purism has a track record of producing top-notch hardware for Linux. Perhaps they will be able to do the same with mobile as well.
What do you think?