Purism Announces Librem 5 "USA" Model For $1999 USD

Written by Michael Larabel in Hardware on 5 December 2019 at 11:56 AM EST. 59 Comments
Purism announced today a Librem 5 USA model of their smartphone that has the same specifications and features of their Librem 5 Linux smartphone but manufactured in the US. That pushes the 720x1440 display, i.MX8M, 3GB RAM, 32GB eMMC, 802.11n device from $699 USD to $1,199 USD. Update: Errr the price was raised now apparently to $1999 USD.

They announced the Librem 5 USA model today at the $1199 USD price point (or $1999 USD if their latest edit is accurate) but won't begin shipping until Q3'2020. The device will eventually be made at the same USA facility that makes their Librem Key and the former Librem 5 developer kits.

The components for the Librem 5 USA are sourced from the United States while the model chip comes from Germany and the WiFi card from India while the chassis will still be manufactured in China. By manufacturing in the US they hope to ease those concerned about potentially compromised supply chains.

It's a substantial premium for the USA manufactured version while still featuring the same basic hardware of the 5.7-inch 720x1440 TFT display, i.MX8M quad-core SoC, 3GB RAM, 32GB eMMC, 802.11a/bg/n + Bluetooth 4, 8MP front camera + 13MP rear camera, and other features that are already a tough sale at the $699 USD price point compared to other mass-produced smartphones. The hardware is already quite dated and will be more so in Q3'2020 when this $1199~1999 USD phone is said to start shipping.

News of this USA model comes day after they announced they turned to raising $2.5M USD from convertible notes. From these indications as well as what I'm hearing privately still sounds like they are very tight on cash. While they often tout being a Social Purpose Corporation, they still haven't been publishing reports or offering much transparency into their operations.

Update 12:37AM EST: The Purism Shop now is showing a $1999 USD price tag, not $1199... Ouch.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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