The Librem 5 open source phone is starting to ship

Our favorite hardware maker, Purism, is beginning to ship its Librem 5 Phone, a completely open source handset that aims to “respect your freedom.”

It’s actually pretty cool.

They write:

The iteration schedule starts in September, 2019, and the Librem 5 will be shipping in batches with incrementing code names. Each iteration improves upon the prior in a rapid rolling release throughout the entire first version of the phone, including the public plans for the second revision of the phone for context.

Each batch will come out in one month and will be named after a tree species like Birch and Chestnut.

“Every iteration includes updates to hardware, mechanical design, and software. We will be contacting each customer to confirm their shipping address, which modem and power supply they would like, and to confirm which shipping batch they are currently scheduled to receive — and to give them an opportunity to select a later batch than they are scheduled for, should they prefer to wait for a later iteration,” the team wrote.


The Galaxy Fold is coming to SK for a mere $2,000

It costs quite a bit to take part in the future – $2,000, to be exact. Samsung has announced that the Samsung Galaxy Fold is available for pre-order online and will ship in South Korea on September 6. Other countries, including the US, will have to wait.

The device, which first appeared in  February 20, 2019 to much derision, failed to impress reviewers who ended up ripping off the front screen protector and cracking the thing in half. Samsung hopes it gets things right this time.

“During the past several months, Samsung has been refining the Galaxy Fold to ensure it delivers the best possible experience,” the company said. “Not only we improved the Galaxy Fold’s design and construction, but also took the time to rethink the entire consumer journey.”


Will the next iPhone go to 11?

On September 10 Apple will be holding its annual bacchanal/iPhone launch which will probably result in some update mobiles and a new iMac or two. Is it enough?

There are many tech pundits who are seeing the death of Apple’s innovation and, barring a few bright spots in the realm of privacy and security, they’re just about right. The iPhone has remained the same for nearly a decade, adding incremental improvements but little in the way of massive change. The laptops and desktops are stagnant and even falling backwards in terms of quality. Computers and mobile phones are full of features. Sure, Apple still leads when it comes to making features work well, but it is far from the first in adding new technologies to what amounts to an antiquated stack.

So the new iPhone will go to 11. That’s great. But what do we get for our upgrade fee?

I’m seeing an interesting twist in terms of technology these days. The idea that you can film an entire movie on your iPhone sounds like fun but filmmakers are still going back to mirrorless cameras and “antiquated” lenses. The future of streaming media has already been decided in the 2D and Apple is far behind on that front. What happens when VR comes to the fore? There are plenty of companies that will eat Apple’s lunch on that front come 2025 and beyond. Finally, Apple doesn’t own infrastructure. That part of the world, the part that is hidden behind security and future smart highways, belongs to the Asian giants, tariffs or no.

This stage of the game reminds me of the home computer revolution. For decades IBM and other giants ruled the basements of big corporations. An army of rich and faceless men sold big iron to governments and institutions. Then, ever so quietly, the home computer revolution upended the entire thing. Those faceless men died as something bigger took their place.

And I know it is unfair to compare flashy Apple with IBM. But remember: in the late 1970s an IBM 1401 was as futuristic as any MacBook and the language of computing – machine readable fonts, barcodes, and blinking lights – was part of our culture.

The question isn’t whether or not we’ll get three cameras on our iPhone. The real question is who will build the next 20 years of tech?

It’s not Apple.


The Fairphone 3 is an Android phone you can fix yourself

There aren’t many phones that include a screwdriver for taking things apart but the Fairphone 3, a new Android 9 device that costs about $500, is wildly repairable and upgradable.

Designed with tinkerers in mind, this basic phone features a removable battery and screen and it uses almost entirely fair trade or recycled materials.

The phone isn’t very unusual in itself. It runs a Qualcomm Snapdragon 632 processor and has 64GB of memory onboard. It can hold two SIM cards and it supports NFC and GPS. The case is translucent plastic so you can see inside.

However, the entire package is aimed at supporting the environment. “If you don’t need it, we don’t include it!” write the creators. “There’s no charger, cable or earphones, so you can use the ones you have and help cut down on e-waste.”

You can also purchase spare parts for the phone and replace them yourself, something that is decidedly not available for your iPhone.

Right-to-repair is a growing movement and this is an exciting opportunity to see the ultimate end point of this concept. It’s a little pricey but it might be worth it if you want to feel good about your cellie.

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