Librem 5 is a Security and Privacy Focused Smartphone Based on Linux

Librem 5 Linux smartphone from Purism

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, successfully ran a crowdfunding campaign for a brand new smartphone called Librem 5.

This 5 inches, privacy-focused Linux phone will be running on Purism’s PureOS Linux distribution. Pricing starts at $599 putting it among the high-end smartphones.

Librem 5 Features

Librem smartphone

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

Librem Linux based smartphones

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
  • 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

The first Librem smartphone is expected to ship in January 2019 and Purism team is determined to keep this deadline. The development kit costing $399 will be shipping before that if you had ordered any.

So you have plenty of time to wait and watch.

Librem 5 has got support from the Linux community

The Linux community is definitely looking up to Librem 5 with hope and anticipation. Purism team is collaborating with KDE and GNOME teams to bring these two desktop environments to Librem 5.

UBports, the project continuing the dead Ubuntu Touch, is also working with Purism to offer Ubuntu Touch on Librem 5.

What do you think of Librem 5 Linux phone?

With the demise of Ubuntu Phone, it’s difficult to imagine another Linux phone. 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.

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  • Hey, I’ have a suggestion and it might hold the market strongly for Librem.
    Can we start a development of librem for a specific device that belongs to midrange category, probably from a famous brand. On website, we can disclose support for the particular device. Not like multiple devices, only a single device that had a largest selling point.
    Doing so will make a new Librem available for devices, and as the support from their providers end, we can release.

  • The best news I’ve heard since SWB Mobile went away.
    The one problem that can’t be avoided is the cost. I know it’s better & still less expensive than most cell phones today. I just wish there was a way to flood the market with your new phone. If everyone knew what Apple, Google, Facebook, & Amazon are really capable of now they would buy one today. If the super rich lost 25% of cell phone market, maybe we could start getting our privacy back

  • can I get one fitted with RISCV chip for proper encrypted boot? I’ll buy one if you/or i can have it fitted! big difference between current chips on all other devices.

  • I really want this project to succeed, I seen the reviews & want more Ram, storage & raw processing power. Maybe version 2 I’ll buy it.

  • Ignore my other comment I saw the other updated page and I stand corrected, the phone has a user replaceable battery and I just found my new phone.