Nicole Faerber said that the dimensions are preliminary in her presentation, but there is no way that Purism can make a thin phone and still use 100% free software. You have to separate the cellular baseband, Wi-Fi/Bluetooth and GNSS from the CPU/GPU, and access them over a serial bus if you want to use free drivers.
A Snapdragon can combine all these functions in a 153.8 mm2 package, but the Librem 5 will need 1453.7 mm2 of chips to provide the same functionality, which means that the Librem needs a huge circuit board. The i.MX 8M (which is the best SoC for 100% free software) is a power hog compared to a modern mobile SoC, and all those other chips require more power, so Purism can’t cut down the size of the battery to make the Librem 5 slimmer.
The other problem is that there is no cellular modem that runs on free drivers that provides global coverage. Either Purism produces four different models with soldered modems that don’t cover all regions or it provides an M.2 slot so that people can change the modems (and insert their own modems that require proprietary drivers). Producing 4 different models with soldered modems is hard to justify economically when only producing 10k of phones.
The replaceable Wi-Fi/BT wasn’t necessary, but it allows Purism to sell to radio hobbyists, so it is an important market. The cellular M.2 card already adds extra space on top of the board, so Purism isn’t making the Librem 5 any thicker by adding a second M.2 card.
The PCB already has 10 layers, so it would be difficult to make the PCB smaller and with 0201-sized parts, you are hitting the limits of what can be manufactured economically. Huge companies like Samsung and Apple can do extraordinary things to shrink their PCB’s but Librem can’t.
Purism can lose a couple mm by soldering down the cellular baseband and Wi-Fi/BT, but then you get a phone that only supports a limited number of bands. The only way that you can get a 8mm thick phone is to give up 100% free software and the hardware kill switches.
If that is an acceptable tradeoff for you, then you might want to consider the PinePhone or buy another phone and install LineageOS or UBports.
It’s all about perspective. If you gonna compare this with modern slim phones , don’t even bother buying. Anything over 10 is gonna be disappointing for you.
I got no problem with thickness, as long as the style and feel are right. I bought the very first CAT phone for my friend and I loved using it z before he picked it up. Then, I got the Casio GZone for my dad. Loved it even more. Even now , that is retired (terrible support for OS) and sitting in my drawer I still enjoy playing with it. Would trade it for any of the new phones in a heartbeat , if it ran adequate OS. Both of these rugged rigs are just a hair below 14mm .
Just thought about another trade I was “proud of” selling iPhone 3gs (hated it for closed OS) just after 3 months and getting HTC Tylt II, which was 19mm thick.
So, if you use these phones as references than L5 is like an upgrade
Seriously, I would suggest for anyone concerned about the tickness , to find somewhere these rugged phones and see how they feel in hand or pocket and then decide. I think CAT and Sonim can be found in some stores.
Apparently, Fry’s electronics still has CATs in stock and on display.
@Tatatirci & @amosbatto :
Thanks to you for your feedback, this is exactly the kind of feedback I like: argued, and we understand that technically, it is difficult to do better today. I fully understand the technical side of this problem, while I don’t understand its communication side.
My opinion is due to a bad-surprise effect: at the moment of crowdfunding, considering the thinness/quality of their laptops, we expects a “standard-like design” FOSS smartphone. A statement from Ms. Nicole, Mr. Todd, or the F.A.Q. could have better prepared to accept this form-factor (for instance, the F.A.Q. mentions that it is neither Android, nor iOS, something people need to be prepared). An absence of this design information could provoke to a not appealing phone in the reviews which could lead to a “Librem 5 = smartphone for geeks only, ready for a design trade-off”.
To conclude, it’s a compromise I can accept in order to have a FOSS smartphone, but I really hope that in its design, it will be at least very robust (full metal) and with a good grip (shapely speaking) despite the thickness.
Yes, the sandwich idea is actually in the post I quoted above. I guess later it turned out that the other approach is superior. I’m pretty certain that a bulky battery is more space efficient than a flat one, as it should have a better shell/content ratio. The accessibility of all components is probably also better in the new approach.
AAs might not fit (see earlier post), but having two batteries and how swapping is an interesting idea regardless. I did a search and Phillips (I think, maybe) had a phone that had a bulge for one AA in addition to its normal battery - for backup/extended power source. Not a smartphone though. Unfortunetely for AA and AAA lovers (and D-cell freaks), I think powerbanks have taken over for now. For those too, an additional usb-port would have been nice.
The i.MX 8M supports two USB ports, but I doubt that the wires are available on the board to solder on a second port. However, you could daisy chain a second port with the existing port. I would love to someone making mods like that.
Find the most recent successful (green colored) qemu-x86_64 build in the Build History column on the left-hand side of the page. Clicking on the link for that build will take you to a page containing a suitable qemu-x86_64.qcow2 image file.
I (too) will absolutely take a look at the innards and see what could be done, port included.
But as a backup plan, I might use something like this(ports on the sides), possibly even as an ugly hot-glue attachment. And, as horrible as that sounds (barely constitutes a hack, never mind the aesthetics), it would also provide a wear-n-tear protection for the actual port in the long run - a discardable middle piece.
For future though… Since the speakers and usb are in a separate piece, as it seems… that could be upgradable (provided, user mods the case to provide openings for ports), couldn’t it?