Two and a half months after it successfully crowdfunded its Librem 5 privacy-focused, end-to-end encrypted Linux smartphone, Purism released today the first update on the development progress.
Librem 5’s crowdfunding campaign ended with more than $2 million funds raised from thousands of backers. Then, Purism promised to put all that money to good use in the manufacturing process of the Linux-powered smartphone, which should have started as soon as they find a company willing to build it.
In their first progress report, which apparently will become a weekly thing, Purism says that during various tests they realized that the i.MX6 processor that was supposed to go into Librem 5 might be too power hungry for the devices, so they decided to way for the next-generation model to come out, the i.MX8.
The company also decided to use the ARM64 (AArch64) hardware architecture for the software builds of the Linux smartphone. As such, they already put together a build server for building ARM64 packages for the upcoming device, which will be powered by their FSF-endorsed PureOS operating system by default.
Librem 5 to use a Wayland-powered UI
On the software side of things, Purism says that the software and design teams have been tasked with making of proper UI (user interface) and UX (user experience) for Librem 5‘s 5.5-inch screen featuring a Full HD resolution of 1920×1080 pixels. They are already using the next-generation Wayland display server for the UI, and it looks like they’re working with GNOME and KDE on a development environment for achieving their goals.
“The amazing team developing GNOME and KDE/Plasma have already done a great job setting up this kind of interface to build, develop, and test with,” says Nicole Faerber Mobile Development Lead at Purism. “With such amazing partners and development team we are confident that we can successfully integrate the freedom, privacy, and security of PureOS with phone hardware to provide a beautiful user experience.”
For now, it would appear that Purism is still looking and evaluating potential manufacturing partners for starting the mass production of the device. No decision has been made at the time of writing, but they are confident that there are some promising prospects all over the world, including the US, Europe, and Asia, which they’ll visit this spring. The first Librem 5 units are still expected to arrive in Q1 2019, so fingers crossed.