Update on Librem 5 hardware?


#22

I know this is an old interview (August 2017) between Bryan Lunduke and Todd Weaver, but in it Todd makes the point that he wants to provide the maximum RAM that the CPU they choose supports. For the iMX6 that was 3GB. He also talks about evaluating the iMX8.

At any rate, we’ll know soon enough. Whether in 15 days or 50, both those are a drop in the bucket in my life :slight_smile:


#23

if we are talking about Purism it is Cool-Aid not Kool-Aid …


#24

Since the i.MX 8M supports up to 8GB RAM, I’ll be counting on it. :slight_smile:

I’m really hoping for 4GB of RAM and a 12 MP camera, but Phoronix reports that Purism had to take out a loan of several million to complete the development of the Librem 5, so the company is probably pinching pennies at this point, especially considering that it is also trying to roll out the Librem One service, and the PureOS Store at the same time.

I’m really hoping that the Librem 5 release is a success, because it sounds like Purism is counting on several million in extra sales to pay back that loan. I imagine that working at Purism isn’t a job for the faint-hearted.

If we don’t get the best specs, I will still want the phone, and I suspect that many are in the same boat. I see this as an investment in developing an alternative OS that will make a better future for everyone. Google and Apple will hesitate to abuse their users if they know that their users have a viable alternative in mobile Linux.


#25

There was some brief mention of that Phoronix article in the Librem 5 Matrix room, and a few Purism employees said they have no idea where Phoronix got that info, suggesting it isn’t (entirely) true. I don’t think Purism’s finances are worrying low at the moment.


#26

I just want an official update, that’s all. :frowning:


#27

They are releasing videos on YouTube of the dev kit running different things. Possibly leading to an announcement? Purism has consistently said they are on track for third quarter.


#28

Yep, I’ve been watching the videos every day. In my opinion, the videos are just showing us what we all already know. You can open up terminal on the phone, You can browse the internet on linux, wooo :roll_eyes:

They are posting lots of software updates but we also have like 6 other OSes being worked on. All of which we are free to use, change daily, all for no cost.

We paid for the phone too, you know, the physical hardware part. We have not gotten an update on any of this in months. we have no idea how things are going with it, nothing. Why? at least tell us that?


#29

True about the OSes, but Purism is focusing on PureOS. Their Libhandy software will be reused by others. I still say they are showing us the software running to boost hype for a near phone reveal. Seems like a marketing stunt. Purism is sticking to their guns regarding a third quarter launch.


#30

This post dated June 20th @nicole.faerber says

we do not use any PCIe interface to the modem. The M.2 socket for the modem will not have PCIe signals routed to it. The modem control and data will run over USB interface, the audio data will be routed over the PCM interface of the card. We also expect that VoLTE audio data will be routed through the PCM interface, but this is still t.b.d.

This to me means they’ve not finalized the hardware layout yet. If that’s true they have not started production of the hardware boards.

This update Bryan says

Side note: If you pre-order the Librem 5 before July 31st, you save $50. And fifty bucks is fifty bucks.

That said, I doub’t they’ll post anything about the hardware in the first few days of Q3 like people are are guessing.

And the weekly videos have yet to show real phone features, like making calls or sending an MMS to iPhone/Android.

Ah well, I’m still glad I pre-ordered. It shows everyone that there is a market for linux phones.


#31

That would be awesome. (That would be right up there with the S10 and way ahead of the iPhone XS.) I would be happy with 3GB or 4GB. I’m not going to be using it as a desktop replacement.

We can speculate endlessly, or we can be a little bit patient.


#32

Either that or it means that different modems take their VoLTE audio data differently. The underlying stack is vastly different to conventional cellular telephony (it’s far closer to a “normal” VoIP system) and as such it might be fed via the data port instead of the audio port.


#33

Or it means that a given model of modem allows configuration for where the audio data arrives.

Of some help in understanding at a high level the choices available is the following: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M.2#Form_factors_and_keying

I would assume that the module is B keyed.

As an added complication, a USB device allows multiple end-points. The 3G/4G USB dongles that I have seen use that approach.

Just more speculation.


#34

Faeber is saying that the M.2 slot will use USB to communicate with the cellular modem. M.2 supports PCIe 3.0, SATA 3.0 and USB 3.0, so Librem chose the slowest protocol, but it is the one which is the most secure. With PCIe you have the risk of direct memory access (DMA) where a peripheral device could plug into the M.2 slot and start reading your RAM.

If Purism wants to, they can program the USB host to only allow one endpoint and to only support cellular modems on that M.2 slot, which is probably what Purism will do.

Sometimes I wish that Purism wasn’t so focused on security. I would love to have an open M.2 slot for any purpose.


#35

Hm. Are you sure that means a hard restriction? I read it as “we chose to access it via USB”, not that the other modes can not be used with the slot.
Besides… USB 3 might be the slowest of the three, but it’s not like… slow :sunglasses:


#36

That may well not work if correct operation of the device requires that. Per my previous comment, 3G/4G USB dongles have multiple endpoints and that may be required for correct operation.

USB 3.0 still has way more grunt than your 4G plan. However there is some suggestion that for the moment it may be limited to USB 2.0 and that is a bit more limiting.

Open source? Maybe you can disable such a restriction yourself.

However aren’t you sacrificing the ability to make voice and data calls if you use the M.2 slot for another purpose?

From the scant information that we have, an open M.2 slot would only be usable for a module that uses the USB interface.

Regardless of the interface, the keying will probably be wrong if, for example, you decided that you were going to put in an M.2 NVMe drive for increased and turbocharged disk storage. :slight_smile:


#37

I just looked at the spec sheet for the Gemalto PLS8 cellular modem, and the USB 2.0 connection is plenty fast for this modem. It is only a LTE CAT 3 modem with 100 MBit/s download and 50 MBit/s upload, so its USB 2.0 (480 MBit/s) is plenty fast.

Given that the max of G4 is 100 MBit/s downloads and the best average in places like Singapore, South Korea, Netherlands and Norway is around 50 MBit/s, the use of USB 2.0 isn’t important.

One annoying thing is that you have choose between the PLS8-US and PLS8-E, so people traveling between different parts of the world will have to buy two different modems. The late May update says that Purism is evaluating other modems, and I really hope that they find a modem that has worldwide coverage. Also the PLS8 only supports GPS and GLONASS, so the Europeans, Chinese, Japanese and Indians will be sad that their GNSS isn’t supported. More importantly A-GPS and LTO aren’t supported, so will be less accurate. I wonder if there are security implications to using A-GPS.

One thing that surprises me is the size of the modem chip. Look at the package sizes of the cellular modem and SoC in the Librem 5 compared to a high end Snapdragon that has both functions in it:
PLS8: 29×33 = 957 mm2
i.MX 8M Quad: 17x17 = 289 mm2
Snapdragon 845: 12.4x12.4 = 153.8 mm2


#38

True, but if you want to replace the modem in the future e.g. put a hypothetical 100% compatible Gemalto 5G modem in its place in the future then wiring it up to USB 2.0 is problematic.


#39

https://shop.puri.sm/shop/librem-5/ says “GPS : TESEO LIV3F multiconstellation GNSS receiver”

I don’t know what that means without researching more acronyms and products but maybe it is better news for the aforementioned peoples.


#40

Are you certain the slot (not the module) is USB 2, though?

GPS: What it means is that Purism does not use the GPS that comes with the modem. They have a separate one, probably one without a binary blob, and one that still works when the modem is kill-switched :slight_smile:


#41

@amosbatto

The modem will not be used for geolocalisation, the choosen chip supports more GNSS services:

The Teseo-LIV3F module is an easy to use Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) standalone module, embedding TeseoIII single die standalone positioning receiver IC working simultaneously on multiple constellations (GPS/Galileo/Glonass/BeiDou/QZSS).

Teseo-LIV3F provides also the Autonomous Assisted GNSS able to predict satellite data based on previous observation of satellite.

https://www.st.com/en/positioning/teseo-liv3f.html