Purism is a name that has been making the rounds on the internet lately, after having been fairly successful in selling its Linux based laptops in the past year. The company is now back again in the news as it has just passed a funding round resulting in the acquisition of $1.5 million in funding towards developing its own Linux-based smartphone.
According to The Next Web, the device is meant to offer complete privacy to users as the platform is built on custom-made hardware and will run on the Linux-based platform PureOS. The phone will feature end-to-end encryption for communication along with hardware kill switches for the camera, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and baseband in order to eliminate the possibility of remotely hacking the phone.
Called the Librem 5 smartphone, the name follows in the tradition of Linux’s previous naming schemes, stemming from Libre Office for the desktop platform and other similar apps and software. But the crowdfunding campaign was not as smooth as expected for the company as it needed support from more backers as KDE and GNOME had stepped up behind the project. The smartphone also offers users the choice of either GNOME or KDE support as the interface. The phone’s OS is so flexible that even other Linux distributions can be installed on it as well.
The encryption is made available thanks to Matrix, which is the standard for interoperable, decentralized, real-time communication for Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and instant messaging (IM). If things go on track, the first developer kits will hit developers from June 2018 and the first phones could come out by January 2019.
As far as specs are concerned, the phone could most likely run on the i.MX 8 CPU and 3GB of LPDDR3 RAM. It will come with 32GB of eMMC storage as well as an SD card slot for expansion. It will feature a 5-inch screen and will cost about $299. The dev kit for the device will include a screen, touchscreen, development mainboard, cabling, a power supply and various sensors and will be shipped out for free worldwide. Hopefully, the new phone will be able to reach to heights that neither the Ubuntu Phone or Firefox OS were incapable of.
With privacy being a central focus nowadays, it seems that PureOS could be made of the right kind of tools to be a promising offering.