Librem 5 "Birch" Linux Smartphones Begin Shipping To Consumers
Written by Michael Larabel in Hardware on 27 November 2019 at 03:25 PM EST. 40 Comments
HARDWARE --
While coming a few weeks later and two months after the original "shipping" of Librem 5 smartphones, the Librem 5 Birch batch has begun shipping to actual consumers who pre-ordered the privacy-minded Linux smartphone.

The Birch batch had been delayed due to a missing resistor that led to a non-functioning USB port, but that's now been corrected and the Birch devices began shipping yesterday. This is now shipping to actual consumers rather than just Purism stakeholders as was the case with Aspen - several on Reddit and elsewhere have confirmed their devices have shipped.

Purism did provide a blog post confirming the Birch shipment. Purism did not state how many devices are being shipped as part of this batch.

While the USB port is fixed and they did make some manufacturing improvements for this "Birch" series, there are some software problems remaining. In particular: "a delayed power-up process and a call audio routing bug. What does that mean for Birch backers receiving their phone now? To turn on your Librem 5 disconnect it from a power source and hold down the power button until it turns on. Currently calling is established (e.g. both sides connect fine) but audio is not routed (no voice heard or sent), this will be a few days until the bug is fixed. We will notify Birch backers as soon as an update is ready."

Besides the power-up handling and call audio routing not working at the moment, there still are thermal and battery life issues they hope to have resolved via software updates. They also seem to confirm the camera for photos/video is not yet functionality. "With the current software image Birch devices will throttle and run through the battery quickly but we decided that we still wanted to get them into the hands of backers so that they can be part of the journey and experience the weekly progress our team ships to you. Over the coming weeks and months we will add software support for more hardware such as camera, video out etc."

More details on the Birch shipment via Puri.sm.
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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 or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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