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Shipping schedule released for Linux-driven Librem 5 phone

Sep 9, 2019 — by Jeff Child 1,967 views

Purism has revealed its shipping schedule for its privacy-oriented Librem 5 smartphone running PureOS. Comprised of six iterations, the shipping schedule spans from this month into Q4 2020. Meanwhile, the Dutch social enterprise Fairphone has launched its 3rd gen phone, the Fairphone 3 running Android 9.

Purism has announced its shipping schedule for its Librem 5 phone running PureOS. PureOS is the company’s homegrown security-minded Linux distribution based on Debian. We covered the details of the Librem 5 in our story last month when the phone went on pre-order sale. The company bills it as the world’s first IP-native mobile handset. The unlocked Librem 5 provides end-to-end encrypted decentralized communication, including encrypted calls, texts, and emails.

The device provides open source code and support for VPN services. Its design isolates the CPU from the baseband for greater security, and there are hardware kill switches for the camera, microphone, WiFi/Bluetooth radio and baseband. The Librem 5 announcement follows on the heels of another new phone released a couple weeks ago: the Fairphone 3, made by the Dutch social enterprise Fairphone (see father below).


Purism says that it decided to is publish its full, detailed, iterative shipping schedule partly because of the high volume, growing demand that it’s been getting the Librem 5, and partly in the interest of openness and transparency. This move expands on the Purim’s existing commitment to begin shipping in Q3 by defining specific batches, their features, and their corresponding ship dates (see farther below).

Librem 5 phone (left) and view of the phone open
(click images to enlarge)

The Librem 5 phone project started in 2017 with early bird backers rapidly funding the 60-day crowdfunding campaign that quickly exceeded past the $2.5 million mark. The Librem 5 devkit was released in December 2018. Software inventions and releases have been ongoing for a few years, and now the company is ready to begin the iterative production releases of the Librem 5 phone.

In the company’s blog post of the announcement, Purism’s founder and CEO, Todd Weaver said, “Most companies keep their release and product plans secret right up until mass production launch, so they can avoid publicizing any setbacks or delays; but we have decided to bring our community and customers along with us for the Librem 5 journey, and have been transparent about our progress from the beginning.”

Weaver emphasized that this sort of openness has enabled the public to experience the Librem’s various milestones. These include the shipping of its development kit in 2018, the NXP CPU silicon issues they had to overcome, placing its first call with the phone in early 2019 and sending its first SMS message. The public has also been able to track Purism’s software progress directly from its public code repositories and watch live updates to libhandy, Phosh, Chatty and the rest of its software. Weaver says the efforts are compliant with, and submitting for, the “Respects Your Freedom” certification from the Free Software Foundation.

The iterative shipping schedule starts in this month and the Librem 5 will be shipping in batches with incrementing code names. Each iteration improves upon the prior in a rapid rolling release throughout the entire first version of the phone, including the public plans for the second revision of the phone for context, says the company.

Two close up images of Librem 5’s internal electronics
(click images to enlarge)

Each iteration includes updates to hardware, mechanical design, and software. The company says it will be contacting each customer to confirm their shipping address, which modem and power supply they would like, and to confirm which shipping batch they are currently scheduled to receive. Customers can also take that opportunity to select a later batch than they are scheduled for, if they prefer to wait for a later iteration. As slots in a particular early batch free up, we will open it up for others in a later batch to join in, according to the date of the order.

Listed here are the six shipping iterations announced for the Librem 5, along with their shipping date windows:

  • Batch Aspen
    • Shipping window: September 24th – October 22nd
    • Hardware: Initial board, all hardware components included.
    • Mechanical Design: Individually milled case, loose fit, varying alignment, unfinished switch caps (hand crafted).
    • Software: Initial release of core Apps, manage contacts, basic web browsing, early power management, software updates from the PureOS Store via the terminal.
    • Certifications: FCC and CE for Radios
  • Batch Birch
    • Shipping window: October 29th – November 26th
    • Hardware: Next run of board, all hardware included.
    • Mechanical Design: Aspen + tighter fit, improved alignment.
    • Software: Aspen + improved setup, improved web browsing, improved power management.
    • Certifications: FCC and CE for Radios
  • Batch Chestnut
    • Shipping window: December 3rd – December 31st
    • Hardware: All hardware included.
    • Mechanical Design: Birch + capped switches.
    • Software: Birch + final setup, improved web browsing, improved power management.
    • Certifications: FCC and CE for Radios
  • Batch Dogwood
    • Shipping window: January 7th – March 31st
    • Hardware: All hardware included.
    • Mechanical Design: Chestnut + refinements.
    • Software: Chestnut + core apps improved, additional applications, refined graphical PureOS Store.
    • Certifications: FCC and CE for Radios
  • Batch Evergreen
    • Shipping window: Q2 2020
    • Hardware: All hardware included.
    • Mechanical Design: Molded case.
    • Software: Long term support release
    • Certifications: FCC and CE
  • Batch Fir
    • Shipping window: Q4 2020
    • Hardware: 14nm Next Generation CPU
    • Mechanical Design: Version 2
    • Software: Long term support release
    • Certifications: FCC and CE

Fairphone 3 announced

The Librem 5 shipping announcement comes just a couple weeks after the Dutch social enterprise Fairphone announced its third generation phone, the Fairphone 3. According to Fairphone, the organization has built on the experience it gained producing Fairphone 2, to refine the modular architecture to be more reliable and durable in a sleeker and slimmer design in the Fariphone 3. The Fairphone 3 contains 7 modules, which have designed to support easy repairs and support Fairphone’s goals for long-lasting and sustainable phones.

Enabling users to keep phones longer and not having to replace them can reduce CO2 emissions by 30% or more, according to Fairphone’s research. Based on Android 9, the Fairphone 3 provides a 3,000 Amp-hour battery, high-performance Qualcomm 632 processor and 12 MP dual pixel (DP) rear camera and 8 MP front camera with advanced software optimization.

Fairphone hopes to differentiate itself by using is what it refers to as “fair specs”. is expanding on existing projects and introducing new initiatives to make its supply chain fairer for all those involved. It is collaborating with the final assembly partner Arima to improve employee satisfaction by improving worker representation, health and safety and by paying a bonus to workers with the aim to bridge the gap between minimum and living wages in the factory.

From a materials perspective, the phone is made with responsibly sourced and conflict-free tin and tungsten, recycled copper and plastics, and sources Fairtrade gold. Fairphone was the first electronics manufacturer to integrate Fairtrade gold into its supply chain. Fairphone is also in the process of setting up an initiative for better sourcing of cobalt, the key mineral for the energy transition. After an initial research phase, the program will go into implementation and will be connected to the FP3 supply chain. And to combat e-waste, the phone supports collection programs in countries like Ghana and will reward buyers for using Fairphone’s recycle program to return their previous phones.

Fairphone 3
(click image to enlarge)

Fairphone 3 specifications:

  • Chipset
    • Qualcomm Snapdragon 632
  • Connectivity
    • Wi-Fi
    • Bluetooth 4.2 LE, GPS NFC
  • Display
    • 5.7 inch Full-HD (18:9) Corning Gorilla Glass 5
  • Operating System
    • Android 9 (Pie)
  • SIM slots
    • Dual nano-SIM
  • Camera Modules
    • 12MP/8MP
  • Battery
    • 3000mAh removable, with fast charging
  • Memory
    • 4GB RAM
    • 64GB internal storage
    • Expandable storage via MicroSD slot
  • Modular design
    • 7 modules for easy repair
  • Network
    • 2G, 3G, 4G, VoLT

Further information

The Librem 5 phone is available for $699.00 from its pre-order page, with the first shipping window beginning September 24 (see detailed shipping schedule above). More information may be found in Purism’s Librem 5 product page.

The Fairphone 3 is now available for pre-order on Fairphone’s website and from strategic partners online for a suggested retail price of 450 Euros. The device was released on September 3 and is becoming available across Europe from selected (online) retailers and operators. It’s shipping is scheduled for late October. Pricing may differ across countries due to different taxes and levies. More information can be found on the Fairphone 3 shopping page.


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