I can not confirm anything yet, but I can say that we have put this on our roadmap and are working towards it.
But I need to point out to be careful with any expectations. The idea is, to reduce development effort, to reuse most of the Librem5 phone electronics design for such a product. This reduces design and verification effort for the electronics and also reduces the software development effort. So this means we need to use the iMX8M Quad main CPU again.
Looking at the current chip market the iMX8M Quad is gone, there are none available anymore anywhere, even expensive parts brokers have already run dry. We got in touch with NXP and others and confirmed a current lead of about 50 weeks!
That’s the really bad situation we and a lot of other electronics makers are in right now, lead times of 50 or more weeks. Just to put this in perspective, a year has 52 weeks, so we are talking about about a year of wait time! And this is just the beginning of the queue, depending on how large your order is and when you place it you might end up even further down the line, i.e. even later than a year.
So even if we wanted, it is pretty unlikely that we can bring such a device to market before September 2022, we have to prioritize the device we already have at hand, i.e. the Librem5 phone, I am sorry. If you want to get an idea about the situation, Octoparts gives a good overview, here is a link to the iMX8M supply situation:
Today a source with allegedly 10,000+ popped up but that looks a bit fishy. Often these actually do not have the exact part and try to sell you something else or similar stuff. We are looking everywhere and it has become a lot of effort just to manage the sourcing of parts.
Right now the whole industry expects the chip crisis to last into early 2023. We will soon, I think, also see shortages of consumer electronics in general once the warehouses (of parts and products) are empty. Prices are also rising pretty dramatically now. For example the accel/gyro/magnetometer we use in the phone used to cost about $3 to $4. Now its list price is over $20! And of course at parts brokers you are now paying over $30 for it, even in quantities. Lead time from manufacturer 58 weeks. To compare, we used to pay about $30 for the iMX8 CPU in quantities - and here we are now talking just about a tiny accel/gyro/magnetometer. This is totally crazy!
The next year 2022 will be very very tough, not only for us.