After digging deep in the FAQ (https://source.puri.sm/Librem5/community-wiki/-/wikis/Frequently-Asked-Questions) I realized how much roadblocks there are for creating open phone to be certified by the Free Software Foundation’s “Respects Your Freedom” certification. I wanted to give my suggestions to solve these problems for most part.
The current SoC (i.MX 8M Quad) (up to Evergreen) is extremely ultra low-end NON-MOBILE SoC made in energy inefficient 28nm node (RIP battery life).
The next gen SoC (i.MX 8M Plus) (starting from Fir) is ultra low-end mobile SoC made in energy efficient-ish 14nm node (expect much much better battery life). This SoC also contains other very crucial things, but it has significantly more crippled GPU. Forget about 3d gaming.
Keep in mind, that these SoC’s were chosen because at that time Purism hadn’t more choices. Don’t blame Purism, they were forced at the time.
But even with new gen Fir SoC there are crazy amount of problems and downsides. The SoC contains proprietary Dolby stuff and more things, that are just a dead weight on the SoC. Not to mention, that it is ultra low-end SoC which is not suitable for use with monitor and this SoC will result in premature obsolescence, because it is extremely slow. Purism is very clear in it’s policy, that it is against Planned obsolescence, and to try archive convergence between PC and phone.
What also boggles my mind is that Purism use non-replaceable (soldered on), very small internal flash storage (32gb) which is a joke. Flash memory WILL eventually die because flash storage has limited read/write cycles and it will happen much faster, because the storage is so extremely small. Once it dies, phone is not usable. Isn’t Purism against planned obsolescence? What’s the solution then? Look at this - https://store.pine64.org/product/128gb-emmc-module/ . In other words, it is very small, very compact way to connect storage. In fact, it could also be made to save space in the Librem 5, because that phone has a lot of empty space inside in some places. This will also empower the consumer to choose the storage size and upgrade if necessary in the future, extending the phone’s lifetime (aka not planned obsolescence)
My main recommendation is to built your own SoC. In that way Purism will have 100% what goes into the SoC and what don’t. The Purism should contact Sifive (or other similar company) to help them design a RISC-V SoC. Sifive offers pizza like ordering service, where you can choose what is inside your pizza and then even delivers to you the pizzas. Also, they claim to be many times lower prices and lower pizza make time and they even share some RTL code for the pizzas. Here is a video explanation from 2018 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jNnCok1H3-g . Librem 5 team would be able to reduce the separate chips on the board to make a phone, which is not a brick AND even more battery life. With RISC-V it is even possible to use free and open source CPU cores from Github to have even more open phone and ensuring that there are not funny things happening in the hardware itself (like backdoors at hardware level). I remember that quite some time back Raspberry Pi team expressed a wish that they want a SoC with 100% open software and firmware, maybe Purism should partner with them to split the expenses? It would be cool if Raspberry Pi 5 would use RISC-V. Purism should do their homework and really think about this.