The Librem 5 Smartphone is free as in freedom

Purism is an open source hardware company with the guts to produce hardware that essentially completely “free as in freedom.” Their laptops, which I’ve used in the past, feature open boot loaders and drivers and they run an “ethical” flavor of Linux.

Now the company is releasing a “free as in freedom” smartphone called the Librem 5. The phone runs a i.MX8M (Quad Core) processor at 1.5GHz and is loaded with PureOS, “a user friendly, secure and freedom respecting OS for your daily usage.” This version is aimed at mobile users and does not use Android or iOS, a very unique proposition in a FANG-infused world.

How much does this thing cost? Well, freedom isn’t free. At $649 for pre-orders you’re going to be shelling out quite a bit for a phone that is essentially incompatible with almost all app stores. But you get the added benefit of security including physical switches for:

  • WiFi / Bluetooth
  • Cellular Baseband
  • Cameras & microphone
  • All 3 off = additionally disable IMU+compass & GNSS, ambient light
    and proximity sensors

Purism is serious about open source and I love that about them. I’ve used a few of their products and come away happy and I look forward to seeing this handset when it ships next month.

You can pre-order the phone here.

John Biggs

John Biggs is an entrepreneur, consultant, writer, and maker. He spent fifteen years as an editor for Gizmodo, CrunchGear, and TechCrunch and has a deep background in hardware startups, 3D printing, and blockchain. His work has appeared in Men’s Health, Wired, and the New York Times.

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