In Brief

Purism Librem 5: The Fort Knox of smartphones

End-to-end encryption and a wif-fi 'kill switch' feature on this high-security smartphone

170825-purem-librem.jpg

US-based tech firm Purism has established itself as a specialist in high-security laptops in recent years – and now it's taking on the smartphone market.

The company's first phone is the Librem 5, which Purism says will be the world's first smartphone with end-to-end encryption to help users "protect their digital identity in an increasingly unsafe mobile world".

End-to-end encryption is a security feature that prevents unauthorised access to a device. The feature scrambles the data that is sent and received, so others can't see what's being transmitted.

Along with encryption, Engadget says the smartphone comes with the "kill switch" that features on the company's laptops. This means you can instantly turn off functions such as the camera and wi-fi in the event of someone gaining access to the device.

While the host of security features may sound overwhelming, the website says Purism has designed the Librem 5 as an open source platform so users can customise the look and feel of the software.

The firm says it hopes its smartphone will address the "increasing concern among Android and iOS users grow around personal data they give up through WiFi connections".

However, DigitalJournal says the company needs to reach its crowdfunding goal of $1.5m (£1.2m) before production can begin. So far, the Librem 5 has gained $67,500 (£52,000) in support, although there is still 59 days to go before the crowd-sourcing period finishes.

If the phone does reach the market, Purism says it expects the Librem 5 to launch in early 2019 with a retail price of around $599 (£466).

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