Linux Phone, Librem 5

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How often do we hear of phones that offer digital privacy and security? Librem 5 is a Linux powered smartphone that is built on PureOS, an open-source operating system that is completely free, secure and privacy focused.

PureOS: What is it and how is it built? 

PureOS, developed by the company Purism is a general-purpose operating system based on Debian. It is a GNU/Linux based distribution that can be used either as live media or in the form of an operating system on a hard disk. PureOS is fully free for any purpose you want to use it for. The best part about the software is that it allows you to encrypt your data and entire operating system with your own password or encryption keys. It also helps you surf the web or use software apps without the fear of being tracked or controlled.

Librem 5 Specifications

Librem 5 was first announced in 2017 when its crowdfunding began 2 years ago. It not only focused solely on the design and privacy of the users but also on the hardware that lets you have a complete control of your data and information.

The technical specifications are listed below:

  • Display: A 5.7 inch IPS TFT Screen with a resolution of 720 x 1440
  • Processor: Quad core Cortex A53 with 64bit RAM
  • CPU: i.MX8M with maximum 1.5GHz.
  • GPU: Vivante GC7000 Lite that supports different hardware OpenGL/ES 3.1, Vulkan, Open CL 1.2
  • Memory: A 3GM RAM
  • Storage: An internal storage of 32GB and a micro SD storage of maximum 2 TB
  • Wireless Connectivity: 803.11abgn 2.4 Ghz/ 6Ghz connectivity plus a Bluetooth port
  • Baseband Options:
  • Gemalto PLS8 3G/4G support
  • Broadmobi BM818
  • nanoSIM tray for cellular data
  • GPS Connectivity: Teseo LIV3F GNSS
  • Battery: A 3500mAh user replaceable battery
  • Smartcard: A sim sized reader with 2FF card slot
  • Hardware Kill Switches: To shut down the device in an emergency or to prevent any kind of theft or data loss. The phone has 3 hardware kill switches.
  • Wifi/ Bluetooth
  • Cellular Baseband
  • Camera and Microphone
  • If all 3 are off, the phone additionally disables IMU and GNSS, and other sensors.
  • Hardware Buttons: Power Button, Volume Buttons both + and –
  • Sound: Includes an earpiece speaker and a 3.5mm headphone jack. The audio DAC is Wolfson Media WM8962 along with one loudspeaker
  • Cameras:
  • Front Camera of 8 Mega Pixel
  • Back Camera of 13 Mega Pixel along with an LED Flash
  • Vibration and Haptic Motor: One included
  • USB Ports: A USB 3.0 Data and charging port. (Dual port)
  • Sensors:
  • Acceleration, gyro and a compass sensor (9-axis by ST, LSM9DS1)
  • An ambient light and proximity sensor – VCNL4040
  • Notifications: An RGB LED notification light with PWM control per colour

Librem 5 Features:

Along with an array of technical specifications, The Librem 5 promises astounding features to give a strong competition to tech-giants and smartphone companies. Let’s take a look at some of its important features below:

Librem 5 is for everyone

Despite being Linux powered, Librem 5 has a very user-friendly interface that allows anyone including non-technical individuals, developers and business organizations to use the phone. It not only lets you communicate with your loved ones but also allow to protect yourself from common threats, data breaches and digital rights tracking.

No more Tracking

Unlike all other operating systems, the Librem 5 will free you from the inappropriate and unsafe data gathering process. It will not require you to enter banking, personal details and professional data to download apps or for making phone calls.

Includes Courage Jack

Librem 5 comes with a 3.5mm headphone jack called the Courage Jack that brushes off the need for any other headphones or line out.

Guaranteed Lifetime updates

Looking to buy a phone that lasts longer than others? Well, Librem 5 is the best options available. The phone comes with a lifetime guarantee of security updates, bug fixes, new feature updates, privacy improvements while also increasing your phone’s life without any compromise on the working and performance of the device.

For now, upon its shipment in the last quarter of 2019 the phone will offer all basic applications such as email, calls, messaging, camera, browsing, calendaring, PDF viewer, play store and notes. The company vows to keep improving user experience with time.

Web App Support

The Librem 5 phone will offer support for HTML5 web applications including the common apps we use on a daily basis. Users will be able to use them from the browser along with built-in native applications.

Encrypted communications

What’s best about the phone is that it will provide decentralized communications in its messaging and dialer apps. Librem 5 is the first ever smartphone with Matrix powered technology for encrypted communications. Matrix enabled apps will make your communications encrypted with no chances of data theft or privacy breaches. You can now easily send messages or call to any internet connected device like Windows, iOS, Android or Linux. Matrix is definitely the future of safe communications.

Librem 5 Price and Release Date

The Librem 5 phone will be available in the last quarter of 2019 when the company will start shipping phones off the crowdfunding campaign. For now, users can also purchase it on pre-order. You can order your set from here. (

According to the company Purism, the price is set to be $649, which seems to a pretty competitive price according to the emerging market and competition. The company also stresses on an increase of $50 once it hits the local market and to the general public.

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