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In our previous Librem 14 update, we described some of the supply chain challenges we (and the rest of the semiconductor industry) have been facing this year. In particular we faced challenges with Intel CPU supply and most recently a few week delay in availability of our 3-cell batteries for the Librem 14. To expedite shipping, we decided to change the default configuration of the Librem 14 to give everyone a free upgrade to a larger 4-cell battery (which covers the second, typically unused M.2 storage slot) and only fall back to the 3-cell battery in cases where a customer chooses to populate that second M.2 slot.
Our more aggressive shipping timeline had 4-cell Librem 14s beginning to ship in February. The Librem 14 will now begin to ship in March. Evaluation of early manufacturing runs yielded an LCD false-alarm “ghosting” issue that took some extra time to research and resolve. When the evaluation step has no issue, manufacturing can stay on the aggressive timeline, but when there is an issue that needs resolving manufacturing “stops the presses” until we can confirm things are accurate before mass production. We added a few weeks in our evaluation step to confirm the highest quality standard in our products. We expect to post final product images soon, prior to beginning shipping.
We will likely meet another major product roadmap accomplishment upon shipping the Librem 14: a fully free software Embedded Controller (EC) firmware included with all shipments. We have a lofty and ongoing goal of liberating (by releasing free software source code of) proprietary low-level firmware as much as possible, and we’ve long had our sights set on the EC firmware.
We’ve made significant advances on the EC firmware front and are planning on having the freed EC firmware for the Librem 14 ready before we begin shipping in a few weeks. We will also release a follow-up post that dives into some of the technical details behind our EC firmware.
We really appreciate everyone’s support as we navigate an unprecedented year of supply chain challenges. With all of the improvements we’ve been able to make to the Librem 14, we know it will be worth the wait.