Purism, the California-based startup that makes laptop PCs, is developing a Linux-powered smartphone called Librem 5. Earlier this year, the company partnered up with UBports to offer Ubuntu Touch as a supported operating system for the smartphone, which runs Purism's Linux-based PureOS by default. The company is now shipping the Librem 5 developer kits to customers who have already placed orders.
As reported by us earlier, Librem 5 will be powered by an NXP i.MX8M SoC. Other device specs include a 5.7-inch 720x1440 display, Approx. 32GB storage, and 2 or 3GB of RAM. Purism is also planning to add physical switches to disconnect the camera, mic, and WiFi/Bluetooth when not in use. This will add a layer to security and privacy of the user, the company believes.
Purism's crowd-sourced smartphone was initially targeted for an early 2019 release, possibly in January itself. But the company do not seem to be achieving the target. Since the Librem 5 will be the first phone ever to ship with PureOS, Purism is starting out by shipping a developer kit to early adopters/testers. The kits should arrive before the end of the year.
The Librem 5 developer kit is basically a small computer board powered by the same NXP i.MX8M processor. And the kit itself seems to be a bit rough around the edges right now. "There is still a lot of work required to make the dev kit truly functional for Librem 5 development, so we need your assistance. The frenetic pace of development continues and it's astonishing how much we've accomplished in the two months since we've put the hardware together. But the path is still long and arduous," a company statement reads.
Even with these challenges and the delayed developer kit availability, Purism hopes to launch the device in April 2019. The device, however, can be pre-ordered now at $599. Purism says it will hike the pre-order price by a further $100 after January 7.