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Open Source Linux Phone Goes On Sale

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the got-my-moko-workin dept.

Communications 520

An anonymous reader writes "Sean Moss-Pultz has just announced on the OpenMoko mailing list that the Neo1973 is finally available for purchase. OpenMoko.com is now taking orders via credit card. OpenMoko intends to 'free your phone' through a hardware-independent and open source user interface backed by the Linux kernel. This device could very well stand as a competitor to the more expensive Apple iPhone, but at a fraction of the price and with no vendor lock-in. Although the devices in this release cycle (GTA01) are mainly intended for developers, the up-and-coming devices targeted to the consumer market (GTA02) will also feature WiFi capabilities, a 3D acceleration unit, and 256MB of on-board flash. Both units will use the MicroSD card interface for removable storage and have USB client / host capabilities. For a full feature list, check out OpenMoko.com or the OpenMoko Wiki."

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520 comments

God Smack Your Ass !! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19795927)

God Smack Your Ass !!

Awesome (5, Interesting)

nicolas.kassis (875270) | more than 6 years ago | (#19795941)

I really want a linux phone. It's pretty cheap at 300$. One thing bothers me, do providers allow random phones to be used on there network? Do some cellular providers block phones that they don't approve off?

Re:Awesome (5, Informative)

Nossie (753694) | more than 6 years ago | (#19795963)

do providers allow random phones to be used on there network?

yes, thats what an unlocked phone is....

as to your question about blocking phones...
if the imei number is correct and its FCC approved I doubt they would have any reason to block you

Re:Awesome (2)

epall (632054) | more than 6 years ago | (#19795975)

Yes! I'm pretty sure T-Mobile is chill with you sticking your SIM in any phone you want.

Re:Awesome (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19796001)

I stuck my SIM in your mother's phone.

Re:Awesome (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19796421)

She told me you were out of credit.

They don't care so long as you're on contract (2, Insightful)

bADlOGIN (133391) | more than 6 years ago | (#19796567)

You sign a contract, they don't give a crap what the hell you put a SIM in.
Just that you pay your bill (and perhaps rack up some overage).
In fact, if you didn't buy the phone from them, they have less to deal with
if you have hardware problems. T-Mobile has no issues with doing that
what so ever.

Re:Awesome (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19796115)

I have Cingular, which is now ATT. My phone is a Ericsson S710a, which I picked out after a lot of research. Plus, I paid a lot of money for it two years ago.

I went into USCellular, who I have used in the past, and as I am now back in their coverage area, I wouldn't mind going back. I asked if I could bring my phone with me, and they told me no; reason: they do not use SIM chips in their phones. They told me they could transfer all my stuff off and put it on a penny phone. I walked out.

I went across the street to Verizon, who I do not like for their business practices, and asked the same question there. I was told no, reason given was they did not use SIM chips and also because my phone was not EDGE, only 3G.

My phone is both EDGE and GSM, I have the option to use both or GSM only. I have co-workers who use Verizon and their phones have SIM chips in them.

I believe it was the Supreme Court who ruled that consumers could unlock their phones to take them elsewhere. I think that was last year. So I know I can take it with me. But it seems that other providers do not want my business. They only want my business if I purchase a new phone and a nice two-year contract.

I don't want to stay with ATT, but for now I am. I will be looking at USCellular again soon, and will probably go higher up the chain to get my answers about my phone.

However, I am very interested in this Linux phone. I can't wait to see them when they come out.

Re:Awesome (3, Informative)

hunterkll (949515) | more than 6 years ago | (#19796385)

Replying to an AC isn't the brightest thing to do but....

ATT/Cingular and T-Mobile are the only two major GSM carriers in the United States.

The others are usually all CDMA carriers and the phones are completely incompatable on the network technology level.

and re those vzw phones with sim cards, it was either RIMM cards or sim cards for overseas usage of the phone, they serve no use on the continental US side of the pond

Re:Awesome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19796479)

Thank you for your comment. Also thank you to the other comment by supersat.

I posted the AC comment.

I appreciate the information from both of you. That is the type of information that I needed. If I had gone farther up the chain I might have received that information from either company. Not sure if the in-store personnel did not know, or just did not feel like giving it out.

I want to keep my phone. It is not locked down and I have it working the way I want it to. However, I will be looking into the Linux Phone. I had already told myself last week that if there was an open phone then I would probably switch. I will wait and see how it comes out. I will be looking into the linked pages in the summary when I get some time, and when the server is not being stressed.

Once again, thank you to both of you. Only posting one comment, otherwise I would have to wait awhile before writing the other thank you.

Re:Awesome (2, Informative)

supersat (639745) | more than 6 years ago | (#19796407)

AFAIK, only T-Mobile and AT&T use GSM in the United States. Everyone else uses CDMA (with the exception of Nextel, which uses iDEN). I think Verizon might offer GSM/CDMA combo phones for use outside their coverage area, but since GSM is not what they run on their own network, they won't let you use a pure GSM phone.

Power? Go Green: Hand cranked option (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19796337)

Third world countries and trekkers in first world countries need o have a hand-cranked mobile phone with emergency radio reception. Else it will be just another phone by bunch of nerds..like a linux pc

What a bunch of smelly, hot air crapola (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19795955)

What a bunch of smelly, hot air crapola. I see this on the internet as often as there are idiots that buy it. It's BS, folks, BS.

Gill Bates (4, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#19795965)

But does it run Windows? (ducks)
     

Sounds great, but... (1)

mindlessLemming (961508) | more than 6 years ago | (#19795981)

...without the sort of $$$ companies like Nokia, Apple and Sony Ericsson regularly throw at "your phone is a statement of who you are" marketing campaigns, I doubt phones based on this software will make much of an impact outside of geek circles.

Unless one of the big guys gets on board, that is.

Captcha: "overdue" - damn right.

Re:Sounds great, but... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19796107)

From a manufacturing standpoint FIC is a fairly recognizable company. But yes, they are mostly familiar with the manufacturing side of things for companies like Sony who then markets the hell out of it.

Regardless, every OSS developer with a mobile phone should be switching to this device. It is everything we have been asking for in terms of good corporate citizenship toward the open source community. Everything is open. Hardware specifications, source, direct contact with developers, community sites, everything. Once we all get on board only good things can follow.

Re:Sounds great, but... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19796185)

I don't think so. I was at Transformers 11:20 pm show at the Cinerama one person had an iPhone you should have heard the inquizitive "Ohs" followed by "that's an iPhone." Things that are new and different stand out. In the case of OpenMoko, people have to ask. Their neighbor won't offer a helpful, "that's an iPhone." And look at even the early functionality. When people get hacking on this thing it could take off in a way the "linux desktop" can't. Phone UIs are expected to be Byzantine, unfamiliar and heterogenous. OpenMoko could very well end up the ultimate can-do information appliance. I'm betting it could take a 4GB microvault drive out of the box. Not to mention the comparative triviality of getting it to recognize and use a 32 GB Micro SD when they (eventually) become available. The first Neo1973 will be able to do a trick ten years down the road that an iPhone won't be able to do. That's pretty unprecidented life and utility in my book. Quite the seductive promise.

Re:Sounds great, but... (3, Informative)

grcumb (781340) | more than 6 years ago | (#19796277)

...without the sort of $$$ companies like Nokia, Apple and Sony Ericsson regularly throw at "your phone is a statement of who you are" marketing campaigns, I doubt phones based on this software will make much of an impact outside of geek circles.

I can think of a few areas where this might be popular:

  • Second- and Third-tier carriers in small regional and/or local markets that need something to distinguish themselves from their competitors, but don't have the R&D money to do full-scale product development.
  • Corporate services - services focused on very specific business niches with unique needs. With GPS, GSM and Wifi built right in, I could think of a few really compelling apps for business....
  • Developing nations - Places where interface localisation could increase a market by a significant percentage, but not enough to interest the big players. There are millions to be earned there; they just come in smaller increments than the multi-nationals consider interesting.

There are modest fortunes to be made in any of the above. I'm already investigating the business potential of this device for the very unique circumstances that I work in. If the quality and supply of this device are at the right level, I'm almost certain to invest in it.

And then Boom! (-1, Troll)

neonmonk (467567) | more than 6 years ago | (#19795983)

It's like an iPhone but uglier!

And then Boom!-Trend follower (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19796153)

2007 will be the year of the Lphone.

Re:And then Boom! (1, Insightful)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 6 years ago | (#19796329)

It's like an iPhone but uglier!

Hmmmmmn, if you ask me, making you buy a track you allready own (on CD) - just to use it as a ring tone is pretty fucking ugly.

Beauty isn't just skin deep.

Re:And then Boom! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19796405)

You're joking, right?

Insert CD, open iTunes, import CD, sync to iPhone.

Re:And then Boom! (1)

humina (603463) | more than 6 years ago | (#19796467)

You're joking, right?

Insert CD, open iTunes, import CD, sync to iPhone.

And the setting to make that your song a ringtone is where? Cingular won't allow apple to set songs as ringtones because it interferes with their business model of squeezing every last penny out of your pocket. The grandparent was commenting on custom ringtones, not making the iphone act as an ipod.

Re:And then Boom! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19796483)

My bad.

I consider it a public service. (1)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 6 years ago | (#19796427)

Actually I think anything that discourages people from using polyphonic ringtones is GREAT.

I really don't want to hear the first 10 second of the latest pop-crap song repeated over and over, every time I so much as step outside my house. A ringing phone is obnoxious enough to try and ignore; a polyphonic/MP3-playing one is far worse.

That feature by itself is probably going to drive more sales of cellphone-jamming and blocking equipment than anything else.

Re:And then Boom! (4, Insightful)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 6 years ago | (#19796333)

Uglier, but cheaper and more functional. Yeah, that's pretty much open source in a nutshell.

Oh, the Slashdot fads (2, Funny)

The One and Only (691315) | more than 6 years ago | (#19795987)

Out: iPhone.
In: Open Source iPhone Killer.

Re:Oh, the Slashdot fads (3, Insightful)

Skuld-Chan (302449) | more than 6 years ago | (#19796141)

There's something to this - Apple store employee told my friend that the iphone would work with his cell network (Edge Wireless - AT&T doesn't exist in his area...). Anyhow it doesn't work with his sim card. Reading more on the net it seems that Apple built in some software that checks for a special AT&T sim card. (yeah the iphone went back)

Forget the sealed batteries, non upgradable memory - to me perma-locking the phone into AT&T is the biggest crime about the iphone and I think should be grounds for an anti-trust suite. Maybe open phones are in?

If Microsoft had done this with a killer phone everyone had to have (yes - I know they don't have one...) everyone on Slashdot would be crying bloody murder.

Re:Oh, the Slashdot fads (2, Insightful)

The One and Only (691315) | more than 6 years ago | (#19796245)

Everyone on Slashdot is crying bloody murder, particularly you. That's what makes the comments to these articles so tedious to read.

"up-and-coming devices" (1, Interesting)

kimvette (919543) | more than 6 years ago | (#19795993)

re: . . . up-and-coming devices targeted to the consumer market . . .

Up-and-coming when? A month from now? No, October. Bummer. I'm sick of my V400 and am buying a new phone this week. Because the iPhone was so underwhelming AND it does not do 3G AND because it won't work with stereo headphones, AND it's totally locked down, I'm going with the Samsung Sync (SGH-A707). Is it a great phone? No, but for my purposes it's a lot better than the iPhone.

I wish the GTA02 were to be available sooner; I would wait on a new phone, but I'm sick of my randomly locking up, dropping calls, and so forth, PLUS I periodically need to open it up to fix the darn volume controls (every motorola phone I've tried tends to have volume control button issues after about a year, but other brands don't seem to have that problem) I need a new phone now.

Well, nothing will stop me from using the SIM card in the open source phone, right? This phone looks like it'll deliver everything the hype to the iPhone promised but the actual product failed to deliver.

(sorry Apple, I wanted to like and want the iPhone, I really did, but you shot yourself in the foot by not offering 3G, offering iTunes but not stereo headphone compatibility, and by locking the phone down).

Re:"up-and-coming devices" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19796133)

The lack of 3G connection is a faults in the design of the iPhone, but I am uncertain as to where you dug up the lack of stereo headphone support.
I have an iPhone, and not only does it comes with stereo headphones, I can use most third-party headphones (Apple made a stupid move of making the jack an odd shape, forcing some surgery to the headphone connector).

Re:"up-and-coming devices" (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 6 years ago | (#19796271)

I wish the GTA02 were to be available sooner; I would wait on a new phone...

You know, you can get a GTA01, whether it's supposed to be "for developers" or not. Sure, you miss out on the WiFi and graphics, but you get an extra battery and stuff. And you can buy it today.

Re:"up-and-coming devices" (1)

MushMouth (5650) | more than 6 years ago | (#19796577)

He said he didn't want his phone to "randomly lock up" a beta development phone isn't a wise move if that is what you want.

I tried putting both Familiar and Opie on my iPaq, but I could never the WiFi or bluetooth to work, most of the apps lacked polish, and the keyboard interface was awful.

iPhone killer (2, Funny)

roye (717936) | more than 6 years ago | (#19795997)

This thing is great. Once the kids see the flashy colors, carry bag and stylus, they will drop the iPhone in droves! It looks like an interesting project. Competition is good, but I have a feeling that an "open" phone will get the OMGTerrorists!!1! label from AT&T in partnership with Motororla. I hope this one gets off the ground.

What a deal! (3, Interesting)

BlakeReid (1033116) | more than 6 years ago | (#19795999)

FTA:

Direct from openmoko.com, the price will be $450 for the Neo Base and $600 for Neo
Advanced.


Hard to tell from the press release which mass market (GTA02) model (if either) is really close to feature parity with the iPhone, but if you compare the two top end models, the price is the same.

This device could very well stand as a competitor to the more expensive Apple iPhone, but at a fraction of the price and with no vendor lock-in.


If by fraction you mean 1/1, I guess so.

Re:What a deal! (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19796083)

Um... the prices listed on the website are $300 for the phone, and $450 for the phone with a development kit (looks like the phone just comes in a fancy case... and something else)...

Re:What a deal! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19796139)

Ok, allow me to correct myself:

There are (at least) two versions... the first one will be $300 for the base, and $450 for the advanced... this one is labeled as a "Developer Preview"... Possibly only for developers... but who knows...

Then the GSsomething 2 will cost what you said.

Re:What a deal! (1)

BlakeReid (1033116) | more than 6 years ago | (#19796151)

Um... the prices listed on the website are $300 for the phone, and $450 for the phone with a development kit (looks like the phone just comes in a fancy case... and something else)...
Those are the prices for the https://direct.openmoko.com/ [openmoko.com] Developer Preview model, or the GTA01; the mass-market phones (GTA02) will sell for the prices I mention. AFAIK, the differences between the $300 and $450 phone are as follows:

* Debug Flex Cable * Debug Board v2 (JTAG and serial console) * Ruggedized Toolbox with shoulder strap * Guitar Pick (for opening case) * Torx T6 screwdriver
I personally think the guitar pick makes for a great value!

Re:What a deal! (4, Informative)

pturing (162145) | more than 6 years ago | (#19796445)

They're discounting this edition of the phone since it's for developers and doesn't have all the bits. Here's a quote from the openmoko mailing list:

The delays have been expensive for us and annoying for you. We've
decided that instead of setting up a complicated return or tracking
system to remember who gets a discount for GTA02, we going to give you
_all_ a discount on GTA01.

We're going to sell the Neo Base for $300. The Neo Advanced will be
$450.

GTA02 (AKA: The Mass Market Neo 1973) is on schedule to go on sale in
October. It will have the following new hardware components:

  * 802.11 b/g WiFi
  * Samsung 2442 SoC
  * SMedia 3362 Graphics Accelerator
  * 2 3D Accelerometers
  * 256MB Flash

We will sell this device through multiple channels. Direct from
openmoko.com, the price will be $450 for the Neo Base and $600 for Neo
Advanced.

Re:What a deal! (2, Insightful)

lixee (863589) | more than 6 years ago | (#19796201)

Hard to tell from the press release which mass market (GTA02) model (if either) is really close to feature parity with the iPhone, but if you compare the two top end models, the price is the same.
Nonesense. The Neo Advanced is not a top end model. It's the exact same unit that come in a nicer package and with all kinds of gadgets for the hacker in you. You can't possibly call the inclusion of debugboards and other JTAG cables as making a "top end model". It makes no sense.
If you really wanna compare the Neo Advanced with the iPhone, you'll have to include the many billions of dollars you'll have to give Apple so that they give you some of the iPhone's IPs.
Oh, and did I mention the Neo's got built-in GPS? Imagine a world where the freaking phones switch into silent mode when you enter a theater.

Re:What a deal! (2, Insightful)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 6 years ago | (#19796285)

You seem knowledgable, so I'll ask you: does the OpenMoko include PIM apps? And, just as importantly, does it synchronize with anything (hopefully e.g. KDE PIM at the least, but bonus points for Apple's iSync...)?

An interface called "Shake"? (5, Interesting)

jx100 (453615) | more than 6 years ago | (#19796013)

The inclusion of a 3D accelerometer intrigues me. I'm guessing/hoping there are plans to integrate this into some sort of user interface. An interface designed at least partially around physically moving the unit would be great to have on something as small as a cellphone, as it would reduce the need for thumb-typing or any other kind of extreme dexterity

Finally, I can take hold of my dreams (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19796017)

And run linux on my phone.

Opnemoko versus iPhone (4, Interesting)

hoppy (21392) | more than 6 years ago | (#19796039)

There is an interesting comparison between the OpenMoko and the iPhone. The iPhone hardware gives more power but may be the openness of the OpenMoko can provide better user experience with adaptability lacking in the iPhone ?
  http://aptustech.com/?q=node/9 [aptustech.com]

Can the Openmoko challenge the iPhone ? Does the opensource philosophy can overcome one of the best designed phone ?

Re:Opnemoko versus iPhone (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19796063)

Don't hold your breath. iPhone will sell millions. This other thing will sell... tens?

Re:Opnemoko versus iPhone (1, Flamebait)

msormune (808119) | more than 6 years ago | (#19796423)

Ummm... how does being "open" improve the user experience? Openmoko hasn't a change of a snowball in hell. For one, it's yet another stupidly named open source product.

Re:Opnemoko versus iPhone (0)

hoppy (21392) | more than 6 years ago | (#19796569)

Ummm... how does being "open" improve the user experience?

Well, open means you can adapt this particular phone to your requirements. Lets say you are a in charge of a transport company, you give this phone to each of your drivers. With a proper software you can have a realtime picture of where are all your truck, you can adjust pick up and deliveries. Of course you can do exactly that with dedicated hardware, but can you do that with a $300 device ? If it's open you can...

Openmoko hasn't a change of a snowball in hell. For one, it's yet another stupidly named open source product.
The name is NEO1973, in reference to the first cellular phone call made in 1973. Openmoko is for the geeks.

Wasn't this thing supposed to have gps? (1)

bprice20 (709357) | more than 6 years ago | (#19796045)

Whatever happened to the agps the wiki says it was http://wiki.openmoko.org/wiki/Hardware:AGPS [openmoko.org] , was this dropped or just no longer mentioned?

Re:Wasn't this thing supposed to have gps? (2)

BlueLightning (442320) | more than 6 years ago | (#19796125)

The Neo1973 does have GPS, both in the GTA-01 and GTA-02.

Re:Wasn't this thing supposed to have gps? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19796491)

Don't encourage him by reading the article for him.

Re:Wasn't this thing supposed to have gps? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19796267)

More detailed hardware description here [openmoko.org] .

Everything else I have seen seems to imply the Phase01 handsets will have AGPS as well. I am not sure about how functional the current software stack is, but the chip is present in the device. As far as I'm concerned, the Phase02 device is a dream come true. My only request for Phase03 and beyond is a slightly more compact iPhone-ish design i.e. bigger screen, less frame, and thinner shell. I assume any change in casing will also add a camera of some sort as well, but other people probably care about that more than I do. And of course obligatory ram and cpu bumps for any new hardware.

If I had a GSM provider I would have ordered one half an hour ago. Unfortunately I'm CDMA and I have calculated it will be extremely costly for me to switch because it is a shared plan.

PS. Although the iPhone has a beefier CPU, it is wasting those cycles on shitty Javascript. The OpenMoko has the sexy benefit of running native apps which makes a pretty big difference in most cases.

Its ok, but (2, Informative)

hyperbotfly (934309) | more than 6 years ago | (#19796047)

It locks you out of accessing the hardware fully, in the same vein that Tivo does. The only level of control over GPRS/GSM communications you have are AT commands. Any control below that is competely done by firmware from which you are restricted.

Re:Its ok, but (1)

hoppy (21392) | more than 6 years ago | (#19796131)

And what kind of control do you need over the GPRS/GSM ? Do you have any control on your DSL modem ?

Re:Its ok, but (0, Troll)

hyperbotfly (934309) | more than 6 years ago | (#19796157)

And what kind of control do you need over the GPRS/GSM ?
Heh, if you have to ask you wouldn't understand.

Do you have any control on your DSL modem ?
Actually, yes I do.

Re:Its ok, but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19796143)

Yea and after a week, the communitiy (well the true hackers) releases new firmware

Access the GSM telephony any way you like (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19796579)

It locks you out of accessing the hardware fully, in the same vein that Tivo does.

Rubbish, your comparison with the Tivo is completely wrong in all respects.

The Tivo doesn't allow you to run your own code in place of theirs, which is one of the key problems that GPLv3 seeks to overcome, ie. tivoization.

In contrast the Neo1973/OpenMoko is totally open-source by design, so you can replace any supplied host code by your own without restriction. The telephony applications are not locked at all, because the entire GSM command set is available at the AT interface, not just a small subset, and not just limited functionality. You can make the phone side work any way you like, even under the control of any other application, totally freely.

You seem to be quibbling that the firmware behind the AT interface is not available for reprogramming. Well that wouldn't give you greater GSM functionality, it would *modify* GSM itself, which isn't the intention at all, and it wouldn't be certifiable by the FCC nor any other GSM operator anyway, so it would be impossible to sell the unit as a GSM phone. Calling for that shows no understanding at all.

2.5G GSM? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19796073)

I'm sure that will count this phone out for a lot of people here, for the same reason as the iPhone.

http://www.openmoko.com/products-neo-base-00-stdki t.html [openmoko.com]

The Neo 1973 boasts the following hardware specifications
2.8" VGA TFT color display
Touchscreen, usable with stylus or fingers
266HZ Samsung System on a Chip (SOC)
USB 1.1, switchable between Client and Host (unpowered)
Integrated AGPS
2.5G GSM - quad band, voice, CSD, GPRS
Bluetooth 2.0
Micro SD slot
High Quality audio codec

Re:2.5G GSM? (1)

wallior (617195) | more than 6 years ago | (#19796549)

And no EDGE either. I would love it if one of these babies would come out in 3G, even if it didn't support HSDA. The wiki does mention the 2007 Neo 1973 doesn't support 3G, which suggests to the optimistic mind that the 2008 version might.

Re:2.5G GSM? (2, Insightful)

Chandon Seldon (43083) | more than 6 years ago | (#19796571)

For those of you who really think that the difference between 2.5G and 3G is a deal breaker, I'd like to point something out:
Unless you are going to hook the phone up to your computer and use it as a modem, the difference doesn't matter. You've got a 2" screen with a relatively low resolution - even crappy video streaming will run over 2.5G (poorly, but who watches video on their phone anyway?).

If you could do VOIP or something over 3G that might make it matter, but the latency for cellular internet access is so horrible that it's not worth it. On my 3G Sprint (PowerVision) phone, I've never seen my ping get lower than 500ms - and I've even written midlets to test it.

Maybe 4G will matter, but the difference between 2.5G and 3G is *nothing* relevant for any phone usage pattern I can come up with. Even MP3 downloads are fast enough on 2.5G.

why do i need a beta phone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19796077)

Motorola already has a third gen linux phone out there. http://www.motorola.com.hk/eng/motomobile/a/a1200/ [motorola.com.hk]
Their E680i model is not bad either. That's the model I have and it went 4 months without a single lock-up or a crash.
My friend's windows mobile always locks up and has to be rebooted every few days because of memory leaks.
 

Everyone vs. iPhone (5, Insightful)

Nastard (124180) | more than 6 years ago | (#19796111)

Apple won the market on music players by providing an extremely easy way to manage your collection and sync your device. Call it flashy advertising or a fashion statement if it helps you to feel better about your electronics purchase, but simplicity and interface are key. Same goes for the iPhone. You can shout "features" until you're blue in the face -- and there are plenty who will agree with you and stay away from the iPhone for that reason -- but I've never seen a communications device that makes contact and calendar syncing so easy (bonus: it happens through the already-popular iTunes).

This smacks of the same sort of complaint-response attitude that drives the also-ran category in the music player market. Sure, it's open. Sure, it has features that everyone claims to need. Sure, it has a vaguely iPhone-ish interface. Wake me when it syncs with iTunes and automatically pulls my contacts, music, movies, TV shows, and calendar.

Apple got it wrong (but may still win) (2, Interesting)

nanosquid (1074949) | more than 6 years ago | (#19796203)

This smacks of the same sort of complaint-response attitude that drives the also-ran category in the music player market.

Possibly. Or possibly Apple got it wrong with the iPhone. Or possibly Apple got it wrong and they are still going to win through monopolistic practices and marketing. All one can do is try to develop a better product and see whether one can compete.

Wake me when it syncs with iTunes and automatically pulls my contacts, music, movies, TV shows, and calendar.

Why the hell would I want to sync with anything on my desktop? I want to sync with Yahoo! and Google and eMusic and Democracy and applications like those, over the air, without having to rely on a flaky and bulky desktop PC or Mac and without having a costly .Mac subscription. The iPhone view of the world is broken as far as I'm concerned.

Re:Apple got it wrong (but may still win) (1)

Nastard (124180) | more than 6 years ago | (#19796279)

.Mac isn't required or even used, unless you count the ability to pull down your email.

Re:Apple got it wrong (but may still win) (0, Flamebait)

nanosquid (1074949) | more than 6 years ago | (#19796515)

No, right now, .Mac isn't used--you're tethered to your desktop. But .Mac is the most likely future direction for OTA sync on the iPhone.

Re:Everyone vs. iPhone (1)

trenien (974611) | more than 6 years ago | (#19796261)

I've no idea how it goes about syncing and so on. At a guess, I'd say not so great since Apple makes it a point not to allow such things.

That said, you shouldn't use the terms "iPhone-ish interface", as its interface design was public way before the iphone's got to be back in January.

Re:Everyone vs. iPhone (1)

Nastard (124180) | more than 6 years ago | (#19796293)

You're saying Apple makes it a point not to allow syncing? I'm not sure I understand.

As for the interface, what matters is public perception.

Re:Everyone vs. iPhone (1)

trenien (974611) | more than 6 years ago | (#19796321)

I'm saying Apple makes it a point for itunes not to sync with any other device than an ipod.

Re:Everyone vs. iPhone (2, Insightful)

dfghjk (711126) | more than 6 years ago | (#19796543)

"Apple won the market on music players by providing an extremely easy way to manage your collection and sync your device."

You may attribute their success to anything you want, but it's just not that simple.

"Call it flashy advertising or a fashion statement if it helps you to feel better about your electronics purchase, but simplicity and interface are key."

Yeah, that's always said yet it's not clear how much more simple Apple's products were to provide that "key" differentiation. Funny how the interface that was so inherently superior in the iPod was abandoned entirely in the iPhone yet the iPhone is now praised for it's "simplicity". The fact is that whatever Apple's product is at any given time is claimed to be the standard by which everything is judged. That's called fanboyism.

"...but I've never seen a communications device that makes contact and calendar syncing so easy..."

Then you haven't been looking. Contact and calendar syncing is a trivial process with every smartphone. Palm was doing it for years prior to the iPhone and they are, frankly, the gold standard, not Apple. The iPhone is exactly as easy and no easier to sync than the last several smartphones I've owned.

"Wake me when it syncs with iTunes and automatically pulls my contacts, music, movies, TV shows, and calendar."

And that comment smacks of the same Apple-elitist mentality that defines everything in the market by what Apple does. If iTunes is required, no one but Apple can succeed. Syncing a smartphone through a media jukebox application is totally counterintuitive yet no one comments on that.

I can make a lot of claims regarding what other products do that the iPhone doesn't. Funny that you don't concern yourself with any of that. Apparently, all that's important to you is precisely what the iPhone does. Wonder why that is? Can the iPhone sync its SMS messages to its host computer? Can it archive it's IM conversations? Oh yeah, it doesn't even do IM.

Re:Everyone vs. iPhone (2, Insightful)

Shihar (153932) | more than 6 years ago | (#19796545)

Apple does two things extremely well.

1) It really, truly, and honestly does marketing well. Apple fans will swear up and down that that has nothing to do with it, but they are deluding themselves. Apple does marketing in a way that few other consumer electronics even begin to contemplate. Whoever the hell is running Apple's marketing campaign needs an extra zero or two tacked on to the end of his salary. I am not saying that Apple doesn't make a good product, but Apple isn't the only company to make a good lap top or MP3 player in the history of mankind... but they are the only ones to market it with so much success. Apple is a marketing god that lays waste it its enemies with fiery bolts of marketing d00m.

2) Apple locks down their products and creates slick interfaces. If you look at the competition against Apple (and this goes for all of their devices, from phones to computers to MP3 players), Apple uses the same strategy. They bust out workable hardware that is more or less about par for the industry, wrap it in a shiny case that was designed by marketers who know what a human eye likes instead of engineers, and then spend a good long time working on slick software that is tied to the hardware. The actual electronics are generally nothing to write home about. The shinny case developed by marketers who actually know what humans like to look at is helpful, but this still is not terribly remarkable. There have been other pretty devices in the history of humanity that have failed. The software is what really completes the package. Apple takes complete control over what goes in and out of the device by exerting a great deal of control over the both the software and hardware of the package.

You see this with the iPod. You use Apple hardware to hook up, and then use Apple software to load up (yes, I realize you don't HAVE to use iTunes, but 99% of the people do). The result is that Apple has control over almost the entire process and can make sure it actually works. If you look at other MP3 devices, they tend to let go of control when it comes to the software. They either don't have the software expertise to build a slick (or even workable) software interface and instead build a bad one, or the rely on a third party that is usually accommodating more then one MP3 player to be the portal in. Things are better today in the non-Apple MP3 market as other companies have caught up, but Apple has already eaten their breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

The advantage the iPhone is going to have, despite all of the things that irritate me about it, is that Apple is going to be the first to lock down the phone with a complete software and hardware package. Further, they are taking it a step further and even specifying the carrier so that they have control over that too. This is just classic Apple at work. Grab as much control as possible and sacrifice third party software/hardware/carrier to provide a standardized, controlled, (and as a result) stable package. Apple isn't selling these phones as open phones not because they couldn't convince Best Buy to sell an open iPhone, but because gobbling up as much control as is practical is how Apple operates. Are you really going to notice or care that the iPhone has a hard time communicating with non-Apple products or that AT&T can't slap on their standard cell phone OS?

So, this open phone Vs the iPhone? Eh, I put my money on the iPhone. As much as I might not touch the thing with a ten foot pole (I don't mind switching between devices and padding my ass with a pile of the cashI saved... not to mention not selling my soul to AT&T), Apple is going to win a fair hunk of the market in the end. Coming into the market with control over the software, hardware, and carrier means that Apple is able to offer up an integrated device that the cell phone market has seen very little off. Thrown into the mix some Apple marketing divine intervention, and you have a winner. So, grab the Linux phone if that tickles your fancy (it tickles mine), but I wouldn't invest any money in that company.

Ha. Ha. Ha. (4, Insightful)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 6 years ago | (#19796123)

This device could very well stand as a competitor to the more expensive Apple iPhone, but at a fraction of the price and with no vendor lock-in.

Oh yea, because, you see, iPhone is selling like crazy because it has a big touch screen!

It's *marketing* people. To reach the masses, you need a clear message, a clear brand and a clean hyped up release.

iPhone, by Apple, at 6PM, in all Apple and AT&T stores. Clear enough, right?
What does it do? iPod, Browser, Phone, Maps, YouTube.

Neo1912324, running OpenMoko, released just for developers for now and later for I don't know who and later maybe for everyone. For sale now in some places, if you can find it. What does it do? It's got advanced features running on Linux and is unlocked.

Normal people will see absolutely nothing in that phone, never mind how we, geeks, are salivating at it, if the marketing and branding effort is so weak. Sorry.

Re:Ha. Ha. Ha. (1)

nanosquid (1074949) | more than 6 years ago | (#19796249)

Well, if your view that it's all marketing is true, we might as well roll over and let Jobs and Gates and all the other non-innovative companies do it to us while they grab our wallets, which is just what those companies are trying to do.

OpenMoko is trying to compete, and I think they have a good chance. Apple's development speed seems like it's glacial, and the feature set on the iPhone will be fairly easy to replicate on the OpenMoko. It's the hundreds of additional apps that will make the phone attractive.

Of course, there is a good chance that OpenMoko and the Neo will fail, but it's certainly worth a try, given the kind of overpriced p.o.s. that the major phone vendors are putting out.

Re:Ha. Ha. Ha. (1)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 6 years ago | (#19796305)

Well, if your view that it's all marketing is true, we might as well roll over and let Jobs and Gates and all the other non-innovative companies do it to us while they grab our wallets, which is just what those companies are trying to do.

So what on Earth do you think has been going on so far? Windows has 85% market share. Hello!?

OpenMoko is trying to compete, and I think they have a good chance. Apple's development speed seems like it's glacial, and the feature set on the iPhone will be fairly easy to replicate on the OpenMoko. It's the hundreds of additional apps that will make the phone attractive.

Hundreds of apps doesn't make me buy. I buy because someone communicates to me the ONE (or few) apps I specifically need. I don't buy Windows PC-s to use hundreds of possible software products. I buy it specifically to run, Office, 3DSMax and Adobe software, for example. I have a specific goal in mind.

OpenMoko just seems to say "tons of possibilities and it's open", but for people who have no clue about development, "tons of possibilities" just means "this is not for me".

And let me tell you - it's a vicious cycle. If the phone isn't attractive to mainstream, developers won't develop mainstream apps for it, and mainstream won't buy it.

To think of it, it'll be a direct extension of Linux on the mobile platform. And we keep getting "200x - Year of Linux Desktop" every year, and it doesn't happen. Guess why.

Of course, there is a good chance that OpenMoko and the Neo will fail, but it's certainly worth a try, given the kind of overpriced p.o.s. that the major phone vendors are putting out.

OpenMoko costs $450/$600. You can get a Symbian/WinMobile smart phone with open API for less than that.

Re:Ha. Ha. Ha. (5, Insightful)

nanosquid (1074949) | more than 6 years ago | (#19796507)

Hundreds of apps doesn't make me buy. I buy because someone communicates to me the ONE (or few) apps

Everybody does. And everybody has different apps that matter to them. That's why having lots of apps matters.

And let me tell you - it's a vicious cycle. If the phone isn't attractive to mainstream, developers won't develop mainstream apps for it, and mainstream won't buy it.

Ah, yes, and Linux will never work because nobody will develop software for it, right? Current phones (including the iPhone) come with so little software that is so limited that the bar is really low. Most of the so-called mainstream developers are fixing bugs and omissions in the base OS, something OpenMoko doesn't need.

OpenMoko costs $450/$600. You can get a Symbian/WinMobile smart phone with open API for less than that.

OpenMoko costs $300 with a 640x480 screen and GPS (the $450 and $600 include development hardware, something that costs thousands of dollars from other vendors). There is no Symbian or WinMobile that comes even close. In fact, the only other 640x480 phone is a brick. $300 will barely get you the lowest end Symbian phone unlocked (the E50). And Symbian is not exactly open or standard and a pain to develop for (I've tried).

Re:Ha. Ha. Ha. (1)

pturing (162145) | more than 6 years ago | (#19796505)

Watch this video through to the end and tell me Jobs doesn't innovate.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j02b8Fuz73A [youtube.com]

There are some things in there we still can't do today that he had working over 15 years ago on 33mhz hardware.

But still, more than the cool features, I'd like to actually own my own phone. You see right now, I don't have any control over the way my phone works. If there's some little thing I want to be different, I can't even pay someone to change it. I don't have the final say on what's on my phone; the manufacturer and service provider do. So it's not really my phone, is it?

great screen, too (4, Insightful)

nanosquid (1074949) | more than 6 years ago | (#19796169)

Note that the screen is 640x480 pixels; this may be the first phone with good enough pixel density and resolution for decent handheld reading. And the fact that it's open source means that you aren't locked into an ebook reader.

Re:great screen, too (1)

dfghjk (711126) | more than 6 years ago | (#19796451)

and then again, it may not be the first.

VGA smartphones: http://www.pdadb.net/index.php?m=pdalist&list=vga [pdadb.net]

even higher res smartphones: http://www.pdadb.net/index.php?m=pdalist&list=vgap lus [pdadb.net]

Of course, being open source there's no promise that you'll ever have any decent reader to get locked into.

Re:great screen, too (1)

nanosquid (1074949) | more than 6 years ago | (#19796535)

Look at the release dates. Also, many of those devices just can't be called "phones"; they are mini-laptops with SIM slots.

iPhonekiller? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19796183)

Well, in order to be a iPhone-killer, it has to: be able to view YouTube-movies, have advanced widgets and an iPod-like media player.

Or not!

OH God! ROTFL (4, Insightful)

rueger (210566) | more than 6 years ago | (#19796199)

This device could very well stand as a competitor to the more expensive Apple iPhone,

I'm sorry, but can we get just a little reality check here? And I'm someone who thinks the iPhone is 80% hype.

Re:OH God! ROTFL (2, Insightful)

blackicye (760472) | more than 6 years ago | (#19796259)

*boggle* I've been using a Linux based Motorola phone for over 2 years, this model is about 4 years old.

When I last posted about my Motorola e680i (a low priced phone, for the China market) the only responses I got here were that I was elitist and linux phones weren't for everyone..

pfeh..now all of a sudden its cool.

There are a couple on sale on ebay at the moment from $36 to $195.

Re:OH God! ROTFL (1)

pturing (162145) | more than 6 years ago | (#19796583)


Your motorola runs Linux, huh? Well sure, I guess that's cool.

I mean that's great and all, but is there hardware documentation and source code for everything? Is there any possibility of hacking it to record conversations in progress? Can I install a instant messenger program that supports the protocol my coworkers use, and integrates with the phone's existing UI? What about deleting all the pre-installed themes and ringtones to free up memory for the stuff I actually want? If I want to pay someone to write a plug-in to sync it to my favorite PIM, will I be able to provide them with the needed information to do it?

Linux phones are a novelty. Open source, open design phones, Linux or otherwise, are a godsend.

#1 Feature not in article summary (1)

ari_j (90255) | more than 6 years ago | (#19796287)

It's not surprising that it was missed in the summary, but the Neo1973 is a GSM phone. There doesn't seem to be any public word on whether a CDMA version is in the works or if it's even practicable (it's definitely possible, but getting a CDMA carrier to activate it may not be). Too bad I'm one of the many unlucky Americans to live and breathe outside GSM coverage.

/.'ed (3, Funny)

pturing (162145) | more than 6 years ago | (#19796307)

I'm on their mailing list.
I get the announcement e-mail.
Maybe I'll get one and get in on the dev action.
That's weird, the site's not responding.
I wonder what killed their web server;
I don't think there's that many people on the list.
Oh well, I wonder what's on slashdot...

Open Source? (0, Troll)

Phroggy (441) | more than 6 years ago | (#19796359)

So uhh.. where's the source code? I didn't see any mention of source code or documentation on their web site; did I miss it?

Obviously the GPL doesn't compel them to release the code publicly; they're only required to make any GPL-derived source code available to people who buy the phone (and those people may redistribute it). Still, the best way of complying with the license is to make the source code freely downloadable on their web site (like this [apple.com] ).

Re:Open Source? (4, Informative)

mmontour (2208) | more than 6 years ago | (#19796429)

So uhh.. where's the source code? I didn't see any mention of source code or documentation on their web site; did I miss it?
Look on the Wiki [openmoko.org] and on projects.openmoko.org [openmoko.org] .

Symbian vs. Linux (2, Interesting)

MBHkewl (807459) | more than 6 years ago | (#19796369)

The only mobile phones that I ever owned were the Nokia Communicator series (9110i, 9250 & 9500), and I am SICK of Symbian. Yes, the keyboard is very nice, but the crappy OS which crashes on very inconvenient times is just too much. When I pay $900 for a phone, I expect it to work for at least 3 years before crapping on me.

Nokia has moved away from reliability long time ago and got on the fancy-wagon. Their new E90 phone (new communicator) is very sexy, especially with the built-in GPS chip, but I guess I'll make a sacrifice for a phone that is willing to give what I had paid for.

I've been waiting for a very long time for a Linux phone, 3 more months won't make much of a difference.

Nokia: UP YOURS!

Re:Symbian vs. Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19796503)

I am currently using iPhone (duck). but I would love to get neo1973. I am long time linux user. I can do some development on it. But GTA02 look way better than GTA01. the only concern is the CPU speed. can S3C2410 266MHz can handle both radio and other feature well ?

no vendor lock-in? (1)

The Nipponese (875458) | more than 6 years ago | (#19796413)

Other parts of the US aside, here in the Bay Area, T-Mobile is complete garbage. So, that only leaves the OTHER gsm provider in the game... the hated AT&T. Might as well spend the extra cash get the iPhone, if you ask me.

How to make money (1)

mach1980 (1114097) | more than 6 years ago | (#19796485)

This is a great tool for startups that want to develop some new interesting features for mobile communication devices without going through the hassle of developing hardware and mechanics.

Sign me up for one of those!

This sounds awesome.... (1)

martin_henry (1032656) | more than 6 years ago | (#19796595)

...but my carrier (Verizon) told me I wouldn't be able to use my GSM/sim card based Sony Ericsson t610 in america when I moved from Australia. Where will this OpenMoko phone work?

Sadly, no buttons again... (1)

Athrun Zala (1071446) | more than 6 years ago | (#19796609)

With a few REAL buttons here and there, it could be an amazing platform to run every imaginable Gameboy/Gamegear/Lynx/InsertYourFavourite handheld console emulator that already exist for Linux. AND a cell phone as a bonus, of course.

I'd buy THAT in a heartbeat.

Without a bunch of buttons, well... It's just yet another cellphone and ebook reader. You can forget games (except mine sweeper!), you can forget any application that needs more control than "drag up, drag down, clicky, next page, clicky, yawn". Hardly every others geek's dream. But hey, I can wait a few more years, even if it's like waiting for a miracle.
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