Starting in September 2017, a crowdfunding campaign for a project has been launched, which makes a bit of a reckoning of Ubuntu Edge. Less than a month to the end of the campaign, and only half of the requested $ 1.5 million had to be selected.
Behind the whole project is a small Californian company Purism, engaged in the production of computers with a focus on free software, security and privacy. Purism was established only in 2014, in connection with the crowdfunding laptop campaign Librem 15, which chose more than 200% of the requested amount. The follow-up campaign for the smaller notebook Libra 13 has also been successful and Purism is now focusing its attention on the ultra-mobile segment.
The undisputed advantage of Librem 5 is that it is not another piece in the infinite flood of Android phones. It should contain only open / free software, which means using GNU / Linux and other related projects. He is currently building on Debian, respectively. own system called PureOS, but that does not mean that in theory it will not be possible to use any other distribution, although of course adapted to the needs of the hardware - source codes are available. Perhaps in this context, Openmoko / Neo FreeRunner or Nokii N900 should be mentioned next to Ubuntu Edge.
At the same time Librem 5 is the world's first mobile device with native IP support and encrypted and decentralized end-to-end communications. Its goal is not to collect data about users - popular hidden addition of many Chinese cheap Android phones of more or less obscure brands.
From the point of view of hardware, Librem 5 is a smartphone with a 5 "display (resolution and display technology not specified). As CPU (SoC) is currently used i.MX6, which is ARM from Freescale Semiconductor (now NXP) using 32bit Cortex-A9 kernels. It will probably be replaced by the i.MX8 chip, which is 64bit Cortex-A53 + Cortex-A72. Purism logically does not specify which specific configuration of the SoC cores will be used.
The GPU part is provided by the Vivante core (with free Etnaviv driver). In addition, the phone will carry 3GB of LPDDR3 RAM, internal 32GB eMMC storage (unfortunately no UFS) + microSD slot, unspecified camera (back and front) with flash, 3.5mm jack, power and volume keys, SIM slot, Wi- Fi, Bluetooth 4, internal debugging interface, USB Type C connector, and common sensor battery (GPS, accelerometer, gyroscope, compass, zoom, light intensity sensor).
From a security point of view, besides the absence of OS capable of snooping the user (Android, iOS), the SoC mobile section of the CPU is mentioned, and in particular hardware switches that physically turn off the camera, microphone, Wi-Fi / Bluetooth and Baseband.
PureOS, which is scheduled as the primary operating system to be delivered to Librem 5, is based on GNU and Linux. Initially, at the time of distribution of the first phones to customers, it will provide basic functionality (phone, email, message, voice, camera, web) and will be expanded over time by collaborating and developing other free applications. It is, of course, counted with WebRTC support or generally during HTML5 applications (remembering Firefox OS?) That will be able to isolate the phone from OS. Besides PureOS, support for Debian GNU / Linux, Ubuntu, Fedora, Suse, Arch Linux and SubgraphOS is also provided.
The plan is that if the funding is secured, the developers will prepare the hardware design, let the developers develop kits, which then go into the hands of all developers and supporters, and also (more) work on the software. After a certain time when you can fine-tune and verify the necessary issues, an updated version of the hardware design will be created and production will begin. As mentioned above, initially, the phone will go to the market, supporters, with basic software equipment that will then be expanded (in the first phase, calendar, note, or PDF viewer) are mentioned.
This is true if at least $ 1.5 million is donated. If it was 4 million, a call-in / call-out support will occur on the VoIP phone number. In the case of $ 6 million, a faster Wi-Fi / BT firmware will be programmed using reverse engineering. For a further 8 million, a free 1-year encrypted VPN tunnel service for all supporters. For 10 million, we can still add Android running applications isolated from the system. Well, then the creators add just two joking goals. With $ 20 million, the Candy Crush clone will be available free of charge, the 32 million mark is just a respectable memory on Ubuntu Edge.
The creators also want to have a unique sound for incoming calls, so whoever comes up with the best design will have Librem 5 for free. The same applies to power-on sound, SMS, video call, and e-mail alerts.
In terms of production hazards, the makers add: The project has people around the world, so it's pre-arranged for the production of individual components in China and export via Hong Kong, as well as for assembling phones in San Francisco, the distribution in Europe and a network of developers around the world.
You can only contribute $ 20. The cheapest post-guaranteed phone is $ 599, for $ 1399 you get a kit with a 24-inch monitor, keyboard and mouse (yes, Librem 5 can also serve as a full-featured computer), $ 300 up is a 30-inch monitor, more is just an enterprise bundle with more phones.
Distribution of final phones to supporters is now planned at the turn of 2018 and 2019.
In terms of hardware, I would like to comment on a few things. Everything depends on the price that is set at $ 599 for supporters. When we think that comparing a closed, de facto once-firm driven Android world with an open world of GNU, Linux and other projects is not quite similar, so it can be said that in this price range, it is possible to buy a lot of decent, almost hi-end phones with Android that hardware what Librem 5 offers will crush.
I write this intentionally because Librem 5 and its creators do not yet specify a number of important elements such as battery capacity, camera parameters (whether it will support 4k videos, RAW etc.), display parameters, etc. What we know is the approximate ARM family SoC that will be used, but again there is quite chaotically listed 32bit and newer 64bit ARM generation. The size of the 3 GB of memory is also sufficient for Android, Linux might also be enough to run smoothly. The slowdown is the use of a slow eMMC repository, but remembering that UFS chips are insufficient for Huawei on the world market, it is unfortunate that a small business does not have the chance to secure the UFS chips in the required amount for a certain price.
The Librem 5 has a number of outstanding features when looking at paper parameters, of which I would like to mention some of the physical switches of some parts of the equipment.
PLN 64 / Mo
PLN 500 / Mo