Purism’s Librem 5 Linux smartphone is set to begin shipping in mid-November. The company has announced that mass production is underway, and the first customers could start receiving phones by the end of the month.
The Librem 5 has been under development for several years. It was one of the first modern Linux smartphones to be announced, and Purism has been one of the major forces behind the modern surge in phone-friendly Linux operating systems.
The smartphone will be able to support a variety of open source operating systems, but it will ship with a mobile version of Purism’s PureOS that features the phosh (phone shell) user interface designed by Purism to make the OS touch-friendly.
Since phosh is open source, it’s also been adopted as one of the optional user interfaces for other smartphone Linux projects such as postmarketOS and Manjaro Mobile. If you buy a PinePhone Community Edition phone with either of those operating systems pre-installed, phosh is the default user interface.
But the Librem 5 is a bit more powerful than the PinePhone. It has a faster processor and a larger battery. It also has a much higher price tag – the PinePhone sells for $150 to $200, while the Librem 5 costs $749.
Here’s a refresher on the specs for Purism’s first smartphone:
1440 x 720 pixel
4 x ARM Cortex-A53 CPU cores @ 1.5 GHz
Vivante GC7000Lite GPU
|Wireless||WiFi 4 (dual-band)|
GPS (Teseo LIV3F GNSS)
4G LTE (Gemalto PLS8)
|Battery||4,500 mAh (removable)|
|Hardware kill switches||WiFi/Bluetooth|
(Turn off all three to also disable IMU+compass, GNSS, ambient light, and proximity sensors)
|Dimensions||150 x 75 x 15.5mm (Aspen Batch)|
Purism has previously shipped a few batches of Librem 5 smartphones to customers, but those were limited edition versions of the phone with non-final hardware.
Now that mass production is underway, most customers should be receiving final or near-final versions of the Librem 5.
The company says it will be sending out phones as quickly as it can manufacture them and perform quality control testing. But Purism has been taking pre-orders for a long time, which means that not everyone will get their phones right away. Here’s a timeline for shipments:
- Early backers – Customers who qualified for an earlier batch but decided to wait for the “Evergreen,” mass production version should receive phones in late November/early December.
- Librem 5 USA – Those who pre-ordered this $1,999 made-in-America special edition Librem 5 should receive their phones by the end of January.
- General Backers – After the backlog shown above is worked through, Purism will begin shipping these orders. So expect them to ship later in early 2021.
- New orders – If you place an order after shipping has begun, you’ll be placed at the back of the line. Phones will be manufactured and shipped to customers in the order that purchase orders are received.
The company says once “shipping parity” is reached, the goal is to offer 10-business-day shipping. In other words, if you wait a few months until Purism is caught up on fulfilling all of its pre-orders, then you won’t have to wait too long to receive a phone. The company hopes to be able to let you know when that will happen by mid-February.