OpenMoko issues first open-source handset

OpenMoko, Taiwan-based First International Computer's initiative to develop an open mobile smartphone, released to developers its first handset, the Linux-based Neo 1973. The smartphone includes:

  • A 2.8-inch VGA touch screen
  • A-GPS for location and navigation services
  • GSM850/900/1800/1900 compatibility for network support across Europe, Asia-Pacific, Japan, Africa, and the U.S.
  • Application management for adding, updating, and removing applications
  • Push e-mail, contacts, and calendar synchronization via open source software company Funambol; and
  • The OpenMoko SDK

First International Computer plans to release two consumer versions of the Neo in October, one with a price tag of $450 and the other retailing at $300. Support for 3G networks is on deck for next year; while OpenMoko said it will promote some certified applications on its devices, more niche-oriented programs will be left to the discretion of individual consumers.

"OpenMoko is an open source mobile communications movement on a mission to create a platform that empowers people to customize their phone, much like a computer, in any way they see fit," OpenMoko architect and First International Computer mobile communication business unit product manager Sean Moss-Pultz stated in an e-mail to InformationWeek. "While [Apple's iPhone] delivers a polished experience, it's an experience that is exactly how you they want you to have it. In other words, users really have no freedom to change the device if they don't like the way Apple chose to make things. OpenMoko is the anti-iPhone."

For more on the Neo 1973:
- read this InformationWeek article