How long is the lifetime of Librem 5?

vibration, bending, thermal extremes and moisture can cause the solder joints and thermal paste to crack and break circuits on the board, but usually the circuits and gates inside silicon chips are not damaged. When a board is bent, the solder joints to the chips usually break rather than the chips bending with the board. If you recall “Touch Disease” on the iPhone 6, which was caused by bending, the chip itself wasn’t damaged and could be resoldered to the board. If you pull apart old electronics from the 1960s and 1970s, the ICs usually still work.


I think this is important and on my Galaxy S3 I am using this:

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@amosbatto I took another look at the graph and noticed, I’d made a mistake that made Flagship Android seem better than it was. I also updated the averages of getting a new phone, which were worse for Androids (and I used maybe a bit optimistic average for L5 users getting a new one, but the difference is, we should not have to, though). That also led me to rename the lines: the solids are in fact about the phones and then there is what users will (have to) do. It is partly about selection, what consumer choices one makes, but short lifespan phones definitely force towards a bad path.

(edit: and now that I look at it, I notice that all phones have a slight cumulative error as extra usage is added to user line, but that is on all and overall does not change - will come back to this when there is more actual data, someday)

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If someone is interested, a simplified comparison: how many trees it would take [sources for calculations:].

Tree can absorb about 22kg (48 pounds) of CO2 per year (we are talking good forest size “adult” trees here - multiply by about 20 if you think about planting a seedling). Production of an L5 would mean that roughly 9 trees need a year to offset that. For all phonetypes in graph, each individual users phones CO2-e during 5 years would need (if they don’t get a new one) about 2 trees to offset them during that time (production+use&network). But if a Mid-range Android user gets their third phone then, they should have about 4 trees - double - during that whole time plus have plans to plant more. Now multiply by number of users. Expecting to use more of the same tech, especially following the blue or orange dotted lines, users - or countries - need to plant bigger forests. And this only counts for a phone and CO2 equivalency. This is why a longer lasting phone (and tech in general) is good as reduction is better than just offsetting.

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Simply capping full charge at 4.2 volts instead of 4.3-4.4 volts (which is overcharge territory for lithium ion) will greatly extend battery life. 4.1 volts as the full charge voltage will let the battery last a decade with good runtime. 4.1 volts is usually where electric vehicles top out their charge, but 4.2 is considered “fully charged” for lithium ion chemistries.

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Are you talking about 18650 lithium ion (NMC, NCA or LCO) batteries?
Almost all the batteries found in phones are lithium polymer with LCO (lithium-cobalt-oxide) chemistry that have a max voltage of 3.8 or 3.7, but the same principal that you describe applies that limiting the charging capacity to 80% or 90% (i.e., limiting the max voltage) will greatly extend the number of cycles before degradation in capacity.


Given a name of “mrtsolar” maybe the reference is to the lithium chemistry found in PV system storage.

This is an important point. With climate change, we might get massive death of trees, especially if we get increased droughts in the future, which many of the climate models predict. The trees that we plant today might not sequester carbon in the long term, so avoiding carbon emissions is better.

Given that the Linux kernel still supports the 486 architecture, the lifespan of a Linux phone could be 10+ years. The marginal improvement in the utility of each new generation of mobile phone is decreasing over time so that we will soon reach a point where upgrading the hardware offers little advantage for most people. We reached that point about a decade ago with desktop PCs, where it made little sense for most people to keep upgrading their PCs, because they couldn’t see much of a difference in performance.

For most people, there isn’t that much of a difference between a Snapdragon 820 and an 855, because they are already fast enough to do what most people want in a phone. At some point there won’t be enough new features such as dual and triple lens cameras, larger screens, longer aspect-ratios and OLED screens, facial recognition, NFC, 5G, etc., that are going to keep driving sales, so my hope is that people are going to start valuing longevity more and more, which is where Linux will have an advantage over Android and iOS.


they continue to push the hardware specs for VR that requires a HIGH resolution in order to be enjoyable up close. for each eye a minimum of 4k i believe is required. that is because you look at the screen through a lens system and pixelation is a problem when it’s that close to the eye.

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Gurgle Translator:

surveillance / turbo capitalism companies will continue to find ways to utilize even more resources and to awaken desires for Thneeds we didn’t even know we had before.

If only there was a way to not be enslaved by this vicious circle :thinking:

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I am long use smartphones (from 2005, 2007, 2009 and last from 2012 still alive) and can say the weak point preventing long life phone:

  1. battery, can be replaced easy
  2. internal flash (5-7 years max), especially system partitions on block device which cant be reformatted
  3. accelerometer+gyroscope (for me dead after 6 years)
  4. CPU thermopaste if overheated (last phones not designed for high load)
  5. USB connector
  6. vibro

USB ports breaking from years of use and batteries degrading over time are the two problems that I have seen.
I haven’t seen the other problems that you mention.
Most phones use cheap graphite sheets (i.e., thermal tape) to dissipate the heat, so thermal paste isn’t used. However, the new 5G phones will probably need thermal paste. Samsung, LG and HTC are planning on using heat pipes and Huawei are planning on using a copper sheet, and I assume that those will be attached with thermal paste.


This is for lithium ion chemistries, including LCO and NMC, regardless if they are 18650 or prismatic cells. Their rated voltage is usually 3.7 volts, although phone manufacturers like to mark them as 3.8 volt batteries to get a marginal increase in Wh capacity. 3.7 is the nominal voltage, but their actual range is 3-4.2 volts. Most devices shut down around 3.4 volts as there is little energy to obtain by going further down to 3 volts.

Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries, or LiFePO4, have a max charge of 3.6 volts, with a nominal rating of 3.2 volts. These are commonly used where stability and extra long life are desired. EV conversions and electric scooters tend to have these cells, while phones, laptops, and production EVs use either li-ion NMC or LCO (Tesla).

To demonstrate this further, at my former workplace, part of the standard setup for the laptops was to limit max charge to 90%. Since the laptops spent most of their time plugged into power, the batteries don’t get used much. In two years time, the batteries still reported 90% capacity, vs. 70% capacity for batteries left sitting at 100% charge. My personal laptop has a charge limit of 75%, capping the cell voltage at 4.1 volts. In four years, it’s down to 95% capacity.

Lithium ion chemistries are primarily damaged by sitting at max charge for long periods of time, being exposed to high temperatures, or by being charged when the cell temperature is below freezing (0C / 32F). They like staying between 3.5 and 4.1 volts at room temperature the best.

My iPhone was at 100% reported capacity a week ago. It’s normally only charged while I’m commuting, so it rarely hits full charge. However, this last week we were on a trip, so the phone spent a lot of time at full charge and warmer than normal due to heavy use (photography and navigation). It dropped to 99% reported capacity, with just a few days of being fully charged (this phone is only a few months old).


I’m convinced that VR will be a niche usage, because most people don’t want to put on goggles to use it, but AR is likely to blow up and become very popular for a certain set of people.

Looking at the list of features that Librem 5 will lack, I kind of doubt that most people who buy it today will feel any different about the phone in the next 3-5 years:

  • More RAM
  • More Flash memory
  • Better CPU cores
  • OLED screen
  • NFC
  • wireless charging,
  • neural processors and AI
  • speech and object recognition,
  • AR
  • VR,
  • fingerprint reader or facial recognition,
  • multi-lens camera,
  • AI processing to improve images,
  • bezelless (“waterfall”) designs with cameras and fingerprint readers under display
  • folding OLED screen,
  • 5G

If you are happy with the Librem 5 in year 1, I don’t see a killer feature that will change your opinion in the next 5 years. I’m convinced that 5G speeds won’t arrive at most places and will cost too much to widely implement. Folding screens will be important to people who want bigger screens, but I can’t see them dominating the market.

Of course, the Librem 5 will be considered obsolete on day 1 by most tech reviewers, but frankly a lot of the tech reviewers like Lew at Unbox Therapy and Marques Brownlee are idiots who are more concerned with look and feel than actual utility and don’t have the technical knowledge to appreciate the Librem 5.


those tech reviewers are propaganda instruments and rarely provide any real benefit to the public other than except the unboxings and the video content itself. most audio can be muted anyway. i watch to get a “feel” of the packaging and build quality and just see if i can spot any “quirks” up close before i make a decission. most of the time it’s “meh ! does it have a swapable/user-replaceable battery ?”

we’re living in a day when books that teach you how to not give a f**k actually have a legitimate reason to be written (in this context ofc).


About how bad the “fixing not allowed” can get:


What Apple is doing with its secret battery “calibration” tool is evil, because only Apple (and a few licensed shops like Best Buy) can use it, but at least you can still change the battery and ignore the message that the battery needs “service.”

The really evil things that Apple is doing is making it impossible to obtain OEM parts, mandating that recyclers destroy the machines so that parts can’t be reused, abusing intellectual property laws to ban the importation of refurbished Apple parts, creating software updates that stop replaced Home buttons or replaced screens from working, and designing special chips like the T2, which makes it impossible to replace certain components on the motherboard.

It is worth watching Louis Rossmann’s video about Apple’s war on 3rd party repair:


Or best case scenario, as this might be the start of running into the future (as of today): Grabat’s batteries will have an energy density of 1,000 Wh/kg (lithium batteries = 180 Wh/kg). I’m sure Purism speaks Spanish as well (asking is free of charge). Actually, I’ve read somewhere: “Even though PureOS may improve over time, we know that batteries don’t.” Yes, battery change to something cheaper (in long term probably), yet much safer for our health, is just about here.


I work on (5G) networks for a living, and can guarantee, that this will not be a major issue for a long time.
LTE isn’t going to be shut down any time soon and I would bet, that LTE coverage will not significantly drop due to 5G in the next 5 years, maybe 10.

Right now, 5G is strictly supplementary and cannot even work without LTE. In the future, 5G can be standalone, but has strong backward compatibility to LTE.
5G and LTE can be run simultaneously in the same channel, which costs some performance for 5G but will be used for a while in the next 5-10 years to make sure LTE coverage doesn’t decrease.

After that period it is to be expected, that some of the bands currently used for LTE will be switched over to 5G only mode; then coverage for LTE will decrease and it’s time to think about moving to 5G.
By that time it might even be possible to replace the LTE modem in the Librem by a 5G part (which would be limited to the sub-6 GHz bands like LTE, but not experience any drop in coverage).


Tee hee, I’d kill to see Mr. Regular from regular car reviews review it because

  • He’s done things other than cars before
  • Can appreciate things outside of traditional marketing points
  • tiiiiiiime to wipe


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