Frustrations mount with Librem 5 backers, as pictures and videos arrive—but the actual phones remain elusive.

Enlarge / Frustrations mount with Librem 5 backers, as pictures and videos arrive—but the actual phones remain elusive. (credit: Purism)

Purism announced that shipping of its Librem 5 open source smartphone began in late September. Two months later, nobody outside the company has a Librem 5, and people are getting restless.

The Librem 5 is a crowdfunded project—and an ambitious one—so it wasn't much surprise or cause for concern when it missed its original January 2019 delivery target—or the April 2019 target set after January slipped. Both date changes were announced well ahead of time, and the company continued to post progress reports, commit code upstream, and assure backers of its commitment to transparency. (Full disclosure: I am a Librem 5 backer myself and am scheduled to receive a phone in the Evergreen batch.)

The new delays are more troubling. On September 5, CEO Todd Weaver announced that the Librem 5 would ship in six iterative batches, codenamed Aspen, Birch, Chestnut, Dogwood, Evergreen, and Fir. The first three batches would effectively be usable prototypes of decreasing roughness; Evergreen would be the first entirely finished hardware production run, and Fir would be a relatively unspecified next-generation design.

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Friday, November 22, 2019 - 1:31pm

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