François Téchené

François Téchené

Director of Product
François Téchené

Latest posts by François Téchené (see all)

The Librem 5 is not just another smartphone. It is unique in so many ways and it represents, to me, the transition toward a world of digital ethics, which I hope will become the norm in the future. I wanted to do a video that underlines the unique hardware design of the Librem 5 for a while. I keep being impressed by the work that Nicole and the Librem 5 team have achieved, and keep achieving, to make such a great device come true. It is amazing.

Note that making this video took me a long time, especially doing a realistic model of the phone with all its electronics. I started it before Dogwood was released so it is why the video is showing a Chestnut device. That said, the point of this video is to show what makes the hardware of the Librem 5 so unique and this is common to all batches.

Isolated components through M.2 expansion slots

One of the most unique features of the Librem 5, in comparison to today’s standards, is the fact of having the cellular modem and Wi-Fi/Bluetooth on daughter cards, independent from the main board. Just like on a desktop computer, the Librem 5 features two M.2 expansion slots in order to host those components.

Therefore those network components are fully isolated from the main board and cannot freely access the rest of the system. That is an important privacy feature.

It also makes upgrading, replacing or even removing those components extremely simple.

We may also see Librem 5 compatible expansion cards for many purposes in the future. The Librem 5 design gives so much room to developers for expansion and customization.

The hardware kill-switches

The freedom of removing an unwanted feature through the removal of its card is a great feature but what if I want this feature from time to time without having it the rest of the time? I could not imagine removing the cellular card only to put it back every time I want to call someone.

Just like with the Librem laptops, the Librem 5 features the ability to disconnect the various hardware components easily through 3 convenient switches on the side of the device.

  • A switch to physically disconnect the cellular modem card.
  • A switch to physically disconnect the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth card.
  • A switch to physically disconnect both cameras and the microphone.
  • Toggling the 3 switches in there “Off” position will disconnect all other hardware sensors such as the GPS and the accelerometer, leaving the Librem 5 as a simple tiny computer, isolated from the world.

Own the keys of your device

The Librem 5 has been designed to be compatible with the Librem Key. It ships with PureOS, just like the other Librem computers and goes even further in terms of hardware by integrating a smart card reader. It is obvious that using an external USB device like the Librem Key on the phone is not ideal, so one should use a Librem Key in the form of a simple smart card instead. It’s like a second SIM card that’s dedicated to handling the security and encryption of the data going through the phone.

We are still working on making the process of securing the data of our devices, while owning the keys to secure them, simple and convenient for everyone. We believe that a product or a feature is not ethical if it cannot be used by everyone.

Extremely modular

I don’t think I am mistaken if I say that the Librem 5 is the most modular smartphone out there. In a world where hardware design is pushing the people to over-consumerism by soldering everything to a single board while promoting fragility thinness, repairing or upgrading a mobile phone has become almost impossible.

The Librem 5 stands aside from that by banning any form of planned obsolescence, which is as good for people’s finances as it is for the environment.

Software freedom

This beautiful Librem 5 hardware wouldn’t mean much if it wasn’t driven by software that is controlled and fully owned by the people. From the BIOS, to the applications, going through the kernel and operating system, the Librem 5 runs on software that respects the 4 software freedoms where the people are in full control.

Discover the Librem 5

Purism believes building the Librem 5 is just one step on the road to launching a digital rights movement, where we—the-people stand up for our digital rights, where we place the control of your data and your family’s data back where it belongs: in your own hands.

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