Re: librem-5-smartphone-final-specs-announced


I seem to have a similar email in my inbox as well.


What I was wondering last night is, that seeing the specs it seems that purism while maybe not responding on topics in the forums seemed to had a look on the discussions.

The TBD was still for:

  • RAM
  • Camera
  • Battery
  • Speakers

And now we see:

  • There was a long thread on baseband chip and even if it was not TBD there is now an update
  • For RAM there were only few posts with hopes to have it “maxed” out, others argued that it would be enough - but not an own thread and it stayed at 3 GB
  • Battery there were concerns about hungry i.MX8M and dimensions but also about the position and replacebility
  • Speakers there were no discussions (visible to me) - so I would say there is the minimal requirement
  • Camera was also one of the main topics when talking about missing hardware specification - and there was a big surprise in higher Megapixels.


Mmmh, only the minimum amount of ram, 3gb. But thanks, nonetheless.

Some people wanted to use librem5 as a desktop replacement, with nextcloud, libreoffice, syncthing, mycroft, Wi-Fi Display and so on (see several posts on this forum - even purism advertised it in the sense to replace a desktop - bundled with a screen), besides the typical mobile apps like mail, browser, navi app, reader, audio/video player, camera and so on.
All these applications use some/a lot of RAM. Not to forget the gnome desktop environment, which is not so light on resources…

Just some examples:
fresh loaded gnome (nothing else): 200MB + gsd_*(50MB)
libre-office document with a few pages: 500MB
Wi-Fi Display (if supported): 400MB
and all other above apps, daemons, and so on. I don’t know how this should be possible with 3GB.

I think too little RAM and bad video driver (i.e. sluggish and laggy UX) will prevent librem5 from being successful.

And in the sense of future-proof: What is the sense of an exchangeable battery if the ram is much too little for future use-cases and can not be upgraded at all?

By the way: Hopefully, Purism will choose a battery (and display) which is used by other phones (the pine phone does so), so we can easily find replacements.


It’s possible on 2GB RAM PC.


With the caution that x86 is not directly comparable with ARM.


It is especially fast at stopping an application when it gets a memory overflow. Just like Windows is really fast with starting up a BSoD.


Yep, and it will be fast as hell. I hope you are right.


Yes, but has it an impact on RAM usage?

Also, as it was said before, 2018 iPhone XR has the same amount of RAM…


I have a java program that uses mixed java and jni for native resources. On my desktop it uses anywhere from 190mb to 500mb. On the raspberry pi I don’t think it went above 80mb. So there is a difference somehow.


Potentially yes, due to the different Instruction Set Architecture.

Classic ARM is fixed length 32 bit instructions (i.e. the opposite of the x86’s variable length instructions). Then there’s the “Thumb” version of ARM that uses a mix of variable length instructions, hence using memory more efficiently. Some ARM versions support native execution of Java bytecode, further complicating the picture if that is in use.

I wouldn’t generalise across all applications as to how memory usage compares between different ISAs. Far better is to compare the Librem 5 with other smartphones, which are basically all using some version of ARM. My current smartphone has a mere 2 GB, and gives performance that is fine for what I do on it, so I am not too worried about being limited to 3 GB, other than it may limit the useful lifetime of the phone, eventually.


Java takes what it gets :wink:


I’m still disappointed by the lack of information in the specs.
We still don’t know where they will source the Gemalto modem, we don’t know anything about the firmware (like if VoLTE is actually supported).
Now there’s a second modem from a far more obscure manufacturer with even less information.

Also, the Gemalto and Broadmobi devices are very different, the former (likely?) being a Intel/Infineon modem and the latter a Qualcomm one, so supporting both properly will be double the work.


That’s a great news, apparently the T1 variant of the 818 covers all the Australian frequencies!!! Yuppieeeeeeeee! Pepperepeppeppeeeee

P. S. I go back to Italy almost every year, and that modem is not ideal for Europe unfortunately. Purism should add the option to have a second modem, to be swapped when you change country, as an add-on. But maybe I’m dreaming…


I wondered about that. Sounds difficult. We can blue sky about all sorts of creative solutions but maybe the easiest is a “global” variant of some modem (whether it’s Gemalto or Broadmobi or something else), and I am more than happy for Purism to leave that for the future. Let’s first get a phone that works well in whatever country is most important to the individual customer!

I don’t speak for Purism but I wouldn’t have thought it impossible for you to order an extra modem (loose, as it were) if that’s what you want. In that case, you should ask them - and report the result.

Whether any given customer has the skill and care to swap the modem remains to be seen. The M.2 slot itself should be easy enough to remove / insert a card, but there’s getting everything apart to reach a point where the M.2 slot is accessible, there’s disconnecting and connecting the antennae, there’s putting it back together - and having it still work :slight_smile: . (I’ve played with my current phone a bit and those screws are oh so tiny.)


A computer will do exactly what you tell it to do.


That is why I use computers that have been told to look out for mistakes and collect garbage for me.


3GB ram = planned obsolescence?


No, sounds reasonable :wink: Just don’t misquote him :stuck_out_tongue:
I mean, what is a swappable modem good for if you can only have one? :wink:


No. It’s missing band 13.


I do hope they offer that. I’m sure there are others that will want to purchase more modems. I am considering that myself.

The BM818-A1 does have it, it’s just further down the list. It’s not very clearly laid out.

** And similar comments **

I think it is definitely plenty for phone uses. My guess is that people wanting more than 3GB (like myself) probably wanted it for use as a desktop and uses outside the box. I can be patient with processing power but I find a limiting factor on old computers is the lack of RAM, which is why I was so keen to have 4GB. Nevertheless, I think 3GB is still a very decent amount. I am curious if the reason was monetary or technical. They didn’t promise more than 3GB so they certainly had no obligation. I would have been willing to pay a bit more to have the 4GB if it was offered though.

So glad they managed to have that. I’m stoked! Does anyone know if they have mentioned anywhere what camera modules they will be?