I wonder about the approach Purism took with the Librem 5. The company chose to do everything all at once by building a new smartphone OS and a new hardware supply chain. For a customer receiving a Librem 5 today, you’re getting an unfinished operating system and rough, gen-one open source hardware. That’s a bunch of compromises to accept for $750. A more reserved approach would have been to build an open source GNU/Linux-based OS on closed source hardware first and then make the difficult jump to custom hardware when the OS was in a more complete state.
The Librem 5 is a tough sell, even for people who value the open source nature of the device. That’s simply too much money for such an outdated, unfinished device.
I wish I could do more to encourage projects like this because the world could really benefit from new alternatives to spur innovation and choice. I really want an open phone with open hardware, however at the $750 and $800 price going forward I can’t afford it. I get that the company has salaries to pay, but realistically I don’t know how these phones can become viable in the face of cheaper competitors. How do you compete with android, which is free? Considering that bigger well funded companies have failed to make a dent in this market, I’m sad to say I don’t believe the outcome here will be any different 🙁