Look, I get why you are encouraging Purism to work on Fir, since the company did make a commitment to customers when it started accepting orders for Fir. For most people who aren’t using the L5 as a convergence device or doing much graphics processing, Fir with the Plus probably will be a better phone than Evergreen with the Quad.
However, I suspect that Purism made its projection based on a whole bunch of conditions/assumptions that are no longer valid, which is why I am speculating that Purism isn’t yet working on Fir.
The Plus was supposed to start volume production in Q3 2020, which is why Purism anticipated that Fir would be able to ship in Q4 2020. However, I suspect that Purism thought that NXP would release a chip that would mostly be a 14nm die shrink of the existing 28nm Quad, which is why Purism thought that it would only need 3 months after the release of the chip to start shipping phones with it. It turned out that the Plus is an entirely different chip from the Quad, which is going to require a significant redesign of the board, and it introduces all sorts of new components (ISP, DSP, NPU, 3D audio, secure key storage, hardware video encoder, etc.) which may not have free/open source drivers or may need to spend years getting them supported in mainline Linux. (Since I can’t download NXP’s software for the Plus, I can’t investigate the driver situation, so I would like to hear from someone who has more info.).
The other thing is that I suspect that Purism thought that NXP would quickly support the i.MX 8M processors in mainline Linux. It turned out that NXP added support for many of the features in the i.MX 8M Quad very slowly to mainline Linux and Purism had to do a lot of its own kernel work. The second thing is that we know that Purism didn’t set its Q4 2020 projection for Fir based on a 52 week lead time to get the Plus processors and Purism may not have known how bad the lead time would be until NXP started shipping the Plus.
As @ruff pointed out above, Purism probably expected to have shipped all the Purism preorders by the end of 2019 and have a year of taking preorders for Fir to finance the development costs of Fir. Purism is stuck in a horrible limbo where it can’t ship many phones and is getting very few orders, so it isn’t getting the kind of funding that it expected. Maybe the two investment rounds ($2.5M + $7.3M) will offset the lack of funding from new orders, but I don’t think that is certain. MrChromebox on Reddit has said that Purism is working on the design of the Librem 16 laptop, which makes a lot more sense than investing in Fir.
The other consideration is that Purism probably made the announcement for Fir, thinking that it would have the high-end Linux phone market sowed up, but PinePhone’s announcement of the PinePhone Pro and PinePhone 2 have taken away that market, and I suspect that Purism is going to have a hard time getting enough preorders for Fir to justify its development costs.
OK, sorry to be a Debbie Downer. Clearly I’m speculating here, so don’t take anything I’m saying in this post as fact, but I think it unlikely that Purism has started working on Fir at this point.
Like @irvinewade, I think the company should be focusing its efforts on Evergreen, which is why I advocate that Fir be an upgraded Evergreen with more RAM and a larger eMMC, rather than go for a new design with a different processor. That would allow Purism to deliver Fir within a reasonable time frame (assuming that Purism orders the parts early to account for the global chip shortage).