Purism's privacy-focused 2-in-1 is loaded with open software and hardware kill switches

Purism is back with another crowdfunding campaign to make its free software-focused devices a reality. This time it's an 11.6-inch tablet with detachable keyboard.


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The folks behind the Purism 13- and 15-inch laptops that mixed high-end hardware with free and open software are setting their sights on 2-in-1 tablets. Don’t call it a Surface-killer—definitely don’t call it that—but if you’ve been hoping for an 11-inch tablet with a snap-on keyboard that’s relentlessly focused around the freedom of open source software, this may be the device for you.

Purism’s Librem 11 hybrid is the marquee device for the company’s latest crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo. Backers of the project can get their own Librem 11 hybrid by contributing $1,300 to the project (no one said freedom was free), while a smaller 10-inch 2-in-1 can be had for $600. At this writing, Purism was offering 100 Librem 11 devices at $1,000 for early backers.

The Librem 11 comes with 8GB of RAM with room for an additional 8GB. There’s also an 11.6-inch 1080p display, a dual-core 2.0GHz Intel Core M-5Y10c processor, a 256GB SSD, 2 megapixel front-facing camera, and 5MP camera on the back. Aside from the major features, the Librem 11 has a USB 3.0 port, a microSD port, and slots for micro SIM and 4G NGFF connectivity. Higher memory and storage capacities are also available, albeit for more money.

The Librem 11 hybrid's most interesting features, however, are all the extra measures taken to make this a freedom-loving, open device. Purism said it designed its own motherboard, because current devices couldn’t meet the company’s requirements for hardware component sourcing. Purism's sourcing principles include issues such as respect for users’ freedom and privacy, ethical working conditions, and low ecological impact.

The Purism tablet also has built-in hardware kill switches for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, cameras, and microphone. The company also wants to add switches for GPS and cellular connectivity, but they apparently aren’t part of the design yet.

For software, Purism created its own version of Linux dubbed PureOS 3.0, which is a fork of Debian similar to Canonical’s Ubuntu.

Purism’s goal for the current Indiegogo campaign is to hit $150,000 within two months. If everything works out, the company hopes to start shipping hardware to backers in September.

The company isn’t stopping at notebooks and tablets, either. The Indiegogo campaign page says Purism sees a free software-based phone in its future.

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