Librem 5

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Librem 5
Librem 5 - AppLauncher (cropped).jpg
Operating systemPureOS
CPUNXP® i.MX 8M Quad core Cortex A53, 64bit ARM @max 1.5GHz (auxiliary Cortex M4)
GPUVivante GC7000Lite
ModemBaseband Gemalto PLS8 / Broadmobi BM818,
Memory3 GB
Storage32 GB eMMC flash memory
Removable storagemicroSD (2TB max)
Battery3500mAh, user-replaceable
Data inputssensors:


  • Power
  • Volume buttons
  • Wi-Fi, Cellular, Microphone/Camera kill switches
Display720×1440 5.7″ IPS TFT
Rear camera13 MP LED flash
Front camera8 MP
SoundWolfson Media WM8962 DAC
ConnectivityWi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n (2.4GHz/5GHz), Bluetooth 4, TESEO LIV3 multiconstellation GNSS receiver, 3.5mm headphone jack, USB C USB 3.0 PD/Displayport, 2FF Smartcard reader

Librem 5 is a smartphone manufactured by Purism, SPC. The phone is designed with the goal of using free software whenever possible. The hardware features three kill switches which cut off power from the camera and microphone, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and baseband processor, respectively.


In 2017, Purism started a crowdfunding campaign for Librem 5,[1] a smartphone aimed not only to run purely on the free software provided in PureOS, but to "[focus] on security by design and privacy protection by default". Purism claimed that the phone would become "the world's first ever IP-native mobile handset, using end-to-end encrypted decentralized communication"[2]. Purism cooperated with KDE and GNOME in its development of Librem 5. Ubuntu Touch was also planned as an option.[3]

Purism announced on 4 September 2018 that the launch date of Librem 5 would be April 2019[4], later than initially planned, because of two hardware bugs and the Europe/North America holiday season. The two "silicon bugs" in components provided by NXP Semiconductors caused extreme battery draining, discharging the phone in about an hour. Development kits for software developers were planned for release in October 2018, mostly unaffected by the bug, since developers would normally connect the device to a mains power outlet rather than rely on the phone battery. Finally, the launch date had been postponed to the third quarter because of the necessity of further CPU tests.[5]

Specifications and pre-orders, for $649, to increase to $699, were announced in July 2019.[6] On September 24, 2019, Purism announced that the first batch of Librem 5 phones had started shipping.[7][8] A video of an early phone was produced,[9] and a shipping and status update was released soon after.[10][11] However, the first batch, called Librem 5 Aspen, was shipped only to employees and developers. On November 22, 2019, it was reported that the second batch, called Birch, would consist of around 100 phones and would be in the hands of backers by the first week of December.[12]


An initial rendering of the Librem 5 phone

The Librem 5 features an i.MX 8M Quad Core processor, with an integrated GPU which supports OpenGL 3.0, Vulkan, and OpenCL 1.2.[13] It has 3GB of RAM, 32GB of eMMC storage, a 13MP rear camera, and an 8MP front camera. The left of the phone features three hardware kill switches, each of which cuts power to the camera and microphone, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth modem, and the baseband modem (which contains the GPS[14]). The device uses a USB-C connector to charge its 3500mAh lithium battery. There are two M.2 slots present, which support replaceable modem cards. The 5.7" display has a resolution of 1440×720. A 3.5mm headphone jack and MicroSD slots are present.[8]


Mobile/desktop convergence: the Librem 5 mobile, when connected to a keyboard, screen, and mouse, runs as a desktop computer.

The Librem 5 ships with Purism's PureOS, a Debian GNU/Linux derivative, and users can switch between mobile versions of the GNOME and KDE Plasma Mobile desktop environments. The phone is a convergence device:[15][16] if connected to a keyboard, monitor, and mouse, it can run Linux applications as a desktop computer would. Many desktop Linux applications can run on the phone as well, albeit possibly without a touch-friendly UI.[8]

Purism claims the "Librem 5 will be the first ever Matrix-powered smartphone, natively using end-to-end encrypted decentralised communication in its dialer and messaging app".[17]

The operating system uses a GTK-compliant user interface called Phosh.[18]

Librem were unable to find an open-source cellular modem, so the phone uses a modem with proprietary hardware, but isolates it from the rest of the components rather them having it integrated with the system-on-a-chip. This prevents code on the modem from being able to read or modify data going to and from the system-on-a-chip.[8][19]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Claburn, Thomas (21 Oct 2017). "Wanna exorcise Intel's secretive hidden CPU from your hardware? Meet Purism's laptops". Retrieved 2019-11-15.
  2. ^ "Librem 5 – Purism". Purism. The Librem 5 phone will be the world’s first ever IP-native mobile handset, using end-to-end encrypted decentralized communication over the Internet.
  3. ^ Vaughan-Nichols, Steven (2018-04-24). "Ubuntu Touch lives on in Purism's Librem 5 smartphone". ZDNet. Retrieved 2019-10-08.
  4. ^ Tung, Liam (2018-09-05). "Linux phone battery bug: Purism's Librem 5 delayed until April 2019". ZDNet. Retrieved 2019-10-08.
  5. ^ Weaver, Todd (2019-02-21). "Massive Progress, Exact CPU Selected & Minor Shipping Adjustment". Retrieved 2019-10-08.
  6. ^ "Linux Smartphone Librem 5 is Available for Preorder - It's FOSS". It's Foss. Retrieved 2019-11-04.
  7. ^ "First Librem 5 Smartphones are Shipping". Purism. 2019-09-24. Retrieved 2019-10-08.
  8. ^ a b c d Amadeo, Ron (2019-09-26). "Purism's Librem 5 phone starts shipping—a fully open GNU/Linux phone". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2019-10-08.
  9. ^ "Purism Shows Off The Librem 5 Linux Smartphone In Action - Phoronix". Retrieved 2019-11-04.
  10. ^ "Purism Provides Update On Librem 5 Shipping, Known Issues - Phoronix". Retrieved 2019-11-04.
  11. ^ Medley, Sam. "Hands-on video of the Librem 5 Linux phone shows improvements, but there is a lot of work left to do". Notebookcheck. Retrieved 2019-11-04.
  12. ^ Salter, Jim (2019-11-22). "The Librem 5 has been "shipping" for a month—but not to backers". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2019-11-22.
  13. ^ "Purism Confirm Final Specs for the Librem 5".
  14. ^ "Purism Librem5 modem revealed, will provide LTE and GPS support". TuxPhones. 2 April 2019.
  15. ^ Jose, Manuel. "Purism: A Linux OS is talking Convergence again".
  16. ^ Larabel, Michael. "Purism's PureOS Proclaims Convergence Success For Mobile & Desktop Support - Phoronix".
  17. ^ "Librem 5". Purism. Retrieved 9 October 2019.
  18. ^ "Phosh".
  19. ^ Faerber, Nicole (4 September 2018). "Progress update from the Librem 5 hardware department". Purism.

External links[edit]