Monday, 25 February 2019 10:24

Processor issues delay shipping of Linux phone by a quarter Featured

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Processor issues delay shipping of Linux phone by a quarter Supplied

The company that is building a Linux-based phone, which is based on free software and is expected to be released in the third quarter, says it has been able to settle on a suitable processor for the device after the manufacturer released a new software stack that solved power consumption and heating issues.

Purism spokesperson Sriram Ramkrishna said in an update, to those who have pre-ordered the device, that initially the i.MX 8M Quad CPU had some known errata in the silicon and the project had been delayed due to this.

Thus, the development team had started looking at the i.MX 8M Mini which had an updated silicon process and a reduced feature set.

But even as the evaluation of this other processor was taking place, the company manufacturing it released new firmware for the i.MX 8M Quad CPU that fixed both the heating and power consumption issues.

"So here we are, on track again after a small — but useful — delay, because now we know," Ramkrishna said. "We know a lot more about the i.MX 8M Quad CPU we had chosen, and a little bit more on a possible alternative.

"With power consumption issues dealt with in software, we ultimately know we don't need to change the hardware to solve the issue. Full fabrication will thus begin for the Librem 5 with the same specifications we described before."

He provided the following specs:

Display: 5.5" - 5.7" HD display

Processor: i.MX 8M Quad CPU

Storage: 32 GB eMMC internal storage

Wireless: 802.11abgn 2.4 Ghz / 5Ghz + Bluetooth 4

Baseband: Gemalto PLS8 3G/4G modem w/ single sim on replaceable M.2 card

GPS: TESEO LIF3 multiconstellation GNSS receiver

Smartcard: yes for 2FF format smart cards

Kill Switches: 3 – WiFi, Cellular, Microphone/Cameras

Speaker: at least one

External Storage: microSD storage expansion

Accelerometer: 9-axis IMU (gyro, accel, magnetometer)

Front Camera: specs not confirmed

Back Camera w/LED flash: specs not confirmed

Vibration motor: yes

Charging: USB C connector for charging, USB client function, USB host function, power delivery

Battery: User replaceable

The company behind the phone raised US$2.279 million in a crowd-funding effort, far above its target of US$1.5 million.

"Free" refers to the hardware and software, with the phone to use Plasma Mobile, a mobile version of the KDE software that is used on the Linux desktop.

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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