We have gotten feedback from a number of Librem 5 customers that they would appreciate more frequent email updates about the status of the Librem 5 project. We are a big believer in “opt-in” for services, but while we have tended to err on the side of not spamming people, and instead allow people a number of opt-in options to get news (as we document in this post), we’ve decided to turn the dial one tick toward more frequent email updates for people who only want Librem 5 news and don’t want to subscribe to our newsletter. This will take the form of a monthly email sent to any pre-orders who have not yet received their phone that recaps the news from the previous month.
January has been a very busy month on the Librem 5 front. Each week we continue to ship out more Librem 5s to backers and we now have a good sense of the average number of phones we can ship out each week. This is important because that feeds back into our “Just In Time” manufacturing approach that ensures we always make slightly more Librem 5s than we can ship in a time period. Shipping more means making more, and it turns out we have been able to ship more than we initially predicted. We are also scaling the team up even further not just to address the order backlog, but also the steadily increasing demand we see for Librem 5s each day, so future manufacturing runs will be much larger and we will be able to process through orders more quickly.
With these shipping throughput numbers in hand, we had hoped in January to be able to predict when every pre-order would ship and calculate when we will hit shipping parity–that date when all pre-orders are fulfilled and a new order is shipped within our standard 10-business-day time frame. Due to a number of factors we explain in this longer blog post, including a potential CPU supply chain issue, we could only generate shipping estimates for some pre-orders.
The good news is that we were able to calculate shipping estimates for almost everyone who was part of the initial crowdfunding campaign (which accounts for a large number of orders) and have sent emails out to all pending orders with order dates up to October 20, 2017 with the very last of those orders estimated to be shipped in May. Orders after that date will need to wait a bit longer for estimates until we have ensured we have secured CPU supply to fulfill them.
As we secure CPUs and feel confident in shipping estimates we will send further shipping updates out, and given the higher density of orders during the crowdfunding campaign compared to afterward, we expect new shipping estimates to get much further into the order backlog in terms of pre-order date.
We have created a video and blog post series for the Librem 5 called “App Showcase.” Each article and video in this series aims to highlight a single app that is currently available in the Librem 5 PureOS Store. So if you are curious to see how apps run on the Librem 5 and how to use them, check out the following App Showcase videos we published in January:
In addition to the App Showcase series, we also published a blog post and video to document how to reflash the Librem 5, and published articles on our kernel work in the 5.8 series as well as the 5.9 and 5.10 series.
In February we will continue to ship out more Librem 5s each week, and hope at some point within the month to also calculate and send more shipping estimates. We have also recently gotten the OpenPGP smart card reader working and are finishing up work so that it can be enabled by default on future shipments. For existing customers we are also finishing up a video and article on how to enable and use the smart card reader on existing Librem 5 phones. We are also working on an update to our past battery life articles that will document the current state of power improvements on the Librem 5.