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Handhelds Hardware Linux

Golden Delicious Now Shipping Hackable Openmoko GTA04 71

Posted by timothy
from the price-vs-performance dept.
An anonymous reader writes with an update to the updated Openmoko phone that's long been in the works. From the story at Linux For Devices: "German manufacturer Golden Delicious has begun shipping a hackable open source smartphone that runs a variety of Linux software, including a newly optimized Openmoko distro. The Openmoko GTA04 is available as a finished phone or as a board that slips into earlier Openmoko Neo Freerunner GTA01 and GTA02 cases, providing an 800MHz Texas Instruments DM3730 processor and a full range of sensors and wireless features." It's rather expensive for a mid-range Android phone, but far more interesting than fairly ordinary phones decked out with bling.
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Golden Delicious Now Shipping Hackable Openmoko GTA04

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  • by migla (1099771) on Saturday February 11, 2012 @03:54AM (#39003607)

    wiki.openmoko.org/wiki/GTA04

    666.66 â

    That's like devilishly expensive. If I had the extra money, I'd pay it, but dang!

    • by Microlith (54737) on Saturday February 11, 2012 @04:08AM (#39003647)

      It's 666.66 euros, and that's just the an in-stock board. A complete device is likely beyond 750 once paid, assuming they have them. It gets down to 450, but you're still stuck with only a board.

      Sadly, the project is rather late and I get 99% of what I've wanted out of my N900 for less than it would have cost to buy the Freerunner then this on top.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        As a fellow N900 user I agree. I loved that phone but when it dies (mine stopped speaking to the mobile network, so only works over wireless) you are out of luck. I don't want to send it back to Nokia since I hear that they just send back some other Symbian phone; probably a windows phone now.

        What we need is a way of licensing the N900 to either build or be able to repair the ones out there, even if that phone is drastically underpowered in typical Nokia fashion.

        If openmoko becomes the N900 we all loved, th

      • by rtfa-troll (1340807) on Saturday February 11, 2012 @05:52AM (#39003887)

        Sadly, the project is rather late and I get 99% of what I've wanted out of my N900 for less than it would have cost to buy the Freerunner then this on top.

        That's the whole point though. Up till now, if you bought a Nokia N900 or N9, you were worrying what happens when you lose the device in two years time and there isn't anything equivalent on the market. The OpenMoko phone looked like a failure since the company gave up. Now they begin to look visionary and just a little bit too early. We now know for sure that people are going to keep coming out with these hobbyist devices and that they are going to keep getting better and better. That means you can start to take the idea seriously and invest time effort and even money. This is the equivalent moment to the moment when the ISA bus was added to the IBM-PC. Suddenly you realise that you have an open Linux based mobile device architecture which has escaped from the control of the big companies that were initially involved in setting it up.

        • by cthulhu11 (842924)

          That's the whole point though. Up till now, if you bought a Nokia N900 or N9, you were worrying what happens when you lose the device in two years time and there isn't anything equivalent on the market.

          Why would one worry? Two very easy options: 1) eBay 2) Get a normal, widely-available phone and spend the time saved looking for a girlfriend.

      • by root_42 (103434)

        Well, the N900 was a great platform, but you can't buy it anymore (at least here in Germany), since Nokia stopped producing it, I think. And the whole open Linux-based smartphone idea at Nokia died as well.

        • by vyvepe (809573)
          Isn't Nokia N9 (with MeeGo) a good enough successor? It definitely can be bought now (at least in EU).
          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by KiloByte (825081)

            No keyboard makes it useless for any serious use. It's a toy like iStuff.

          • Not really. The meego interface is quite inferior to maemo, al least for power users, and the lack of a hardware keyboard is a killer.
            xterm + virtual keyboard. No thanks (I've tried it, by the way).

      • by migla (1099771)

        Yes, the euro symbol I typed turned into something else when I posted. Then I also noticed the 666 was for the board. Further down the list is indeed "GTA04 Complete", which is the new board in the old case, for 749 euro.

        I too have the n900, which I bought instead of the more open but less functional at the time Freerunner. Not being Stallmannesquely pure, the n900 seemed like a good enough compromise to me.

        I should get a spare n900 or two, while there still are used ones available.

      • by Lumpy (12016)

        Plus with my last experience with OpenMoko, making a phone call was still on their to-do list.

      • by CAIMLAS (41445)

        Short of the GSM modem/voice calling functionality, you can get 200%+ of the embedded computer for less than $200 USD. I can get a used/refurb

        Hell, I can get a new/refurb HTC Sensation for about $250-300 USD on Ebay (not quite as 'open' yet but twice as spec'd and much more functional), or a (used) HTC HD2 for around $100 - still more device, and markedly more capable in terms of what it can do and what's available for it in terms of free software.

        I know comparing a used/refurb device to a new one isn't exa

    • by Anonymous Coward

      666.66 was also the price of the apple I.

  • by slyon (2571845) on Saturday February 11, 2012 @03:55AM (#39003613)
    I reworked the original Openmoko CAD files, to be 3D-printable. Checkout my work here: http://blog.slyon.de/3d-printed-gta04-case/ [slyon.de]
    • by quezz38 (990826)

      I'm going to be 3d printing my next phone body. I hate that the competition to make thin devices has created so many sharp edged phones with forms that have no relationship to the human hand or pocket. Open hardware files are the key, thanks!

  • ....Golden Delicious is a variety of apple. Maybe GD should have marketed the phone under their own name! ;~)

    • Wonder if Apple noticed Golden Delicious is a variety of apple.

      Yeah, but unfortunately it's also one of the most bland and tasteless, at least as far as the modern examples on the UK market are concerned. Not a good association for me.

      That said, if they want to name their product after an Apple, fair enough. Would I be right in assuming that Apple couldn't do anything about this sort of thing unless it was likely to cause confusion with an existing Apple product anyway?

  • by Frosty Piss (770223) * on Saturday February 11, 2012 @04:15AM (#39003667)

    The screen seems kind of small for a Smart Phone, and the case is definitely ugly-ass... Couldn't they have made the case a bit more, er, cool? Or did they have to design it that way to avoid Apple design patents?

    • by jonwil (467024)

      I don't know how the hardware works but I bet its possible to come up with a better looking case that still fits the PCB and I bet it might be possible to use a larger (but still pin compatible) LCD screen (although that depends whether the touchscreen and LCD controllers on the GAT04 PCB are compatible with the newer touchscreen you choose to use)

      • not to mention that you would have to print a custom case to house the new interfaces... GD are apparently trying to be as open as they can but I think they should try a bit more to enable their potential buyers by offering solutions for custom cases or general help on how to get it done efficiently and end up with high quality hw. Maybe they should partner up with some high quality touchscreen, display and battery manufacturers and suggest solutions for generating your own high quality custom components (b

    • by mirix (1649853)

      Yeah, looks like they kept the same ugly case from years ago. For compatibility I suppose?

      You'd think if you have enough cash for the new board, the case isn't really too relevant.
      Upgradable phone aspect is cool, sticking with the same form factor... but that only applies when the original doesn't suck!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I was happy enough with my N800, but the N810 and N900 spoiled me, so now my N9 sucks. If this had a keyboard, I'd have already signed up.

    Still, I wonder if it can be conjoined with one of those bluetooth strap-on keyboards for iPhones...

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Who knew Apple customers used strap-ons?
  • Golden Delicious .. GOLDEN DELICIOUS.. a German company? I see the Japanese culture bomb has been dropped good and proper! Maybe the name sounds tougher in German ;)

    So it costs a bit less than my Galaxy S2 and is way uglier.. pass. Though I'm sure a lot of hardware & software hackers will have a field day with it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 11, 2012 @04:49AM (#39003737)

    It's also 1,000 dollars.

    I'm interested and supportive, but not enough to shell out a grand.

    I'm guessing they're targeting the independently-wealthy geeks sympathetic to open-source and open hardware standards who don't mind having a second phone or don't care about app marketplaces and such.... Wait a second, who is going to buy this phone?

    • by mirix (1649853)

      Well, that's why it's $1000, of course. Economy of scale doesn't really kick in on things like this. Which is sort of.. self... perpetuating.

    • And no free ones for developers. I wish they'd provide an easy-to-install version of the software for some mass-market phone. I just bought an HTC Desire (the original, now two years old), because with a 1GHz GPU, 800x480 AMOLED screen, and 512MB of RAM, it seemed like it has pretty decent specs. I paid £100 (no contract). It has an unlocked bootloader, so I can install something like Cyanogen on it trivially. If I could install the OpenMoko stuff, I'd be tempted to play with it and contribute a
      • by thsths (31372)

        > I wish they'd provide an easy-to-install version of the software for some mass-market phone.

        Why that? You can already install CM in for example ZTE Blade, which has no restrictions in the boot loader or radio. Drivers are a bit of an issue, but the hardware is actually quite ok, if maybe a bit slow. But most of all it only sets you back 100 to 200 currency units.

        • by thsths (31372)

          PS: In case that isn't clear, I wonder what OpenMoko provides that CM doesn't. I am not aware of any advantage, and certainly not one worth hundreds.

  • I can finally play GTA on my Apple computer? Awesome. :p

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I own the previous version of the openmoko phone, and that one doesn't work very well.

  • by BlueLightning (442320) * on Saturday February 11, 2012 @06:29AM (#39003967) Homepage Journal

    After meeting some of the people involved at FOSDEM this year I've joined the group buy for this device. It's a little on the expensive side, to be sure, but I joined not just because I would like the device itself but because I think they deserve support. It's pretty amazing that a small company such as theirs have been able to put together a working phone with most of the features you expect - sure it's not going to be the next iPhone killer, but it does have reasonable specs. I'm sure they had a lot of fun doing it as well, and I look forward to the opportunity to play with the hardware.

    I'd encourage anyone who still has an older Neo1973 / Freerunner and who can spare the money to do the same.

    • by oddtodd (125924)

      I've got 2 FreeRunners, one with a broken screen, and I'm seriously thinking about getting a GTA04 and new screen for some fun.
      But jeez, that's some expensive fun.
      I also switched to an N900 when it became apparent that the OpenMoko wasn't quite ready for dependable everyday use.

  • by sgt scrub (869860) <<moc.oohay> <ta> <muitnias>> on Saturday February 11, 2012 @07:03AM (#39004009)

    Golden Delicious offers a Debian Squeeze for ARMEL distribution featuring the lightweight LXDE desktop environment.

    I wish I had $800 bucks to spend. :(

    • by CAIMLAS (41445)

      For about $100, you can get a used HD2 and put Debian or Ubuntu on it, if you wanted...

  • by Qubit (100461) on Saturday February 11, 2012 @07:17AM (#39004043) Homepage Journal

    Do all of those things first, and for a price under $100, and you can establish a solid community of geeks willing to pay for a phone w/Open Hardware.

    Here's the deal: I really want to encourage and support the OpenMoko folks, but with the original Freerunner I just couldn't justify buying something that didn't have even solid telephony features, didn't have much battery life, and wasn't in a price range I could even afford (as a student).

    Look, all the geeks know that we don't have all of the parts figured out yet, and last I heard Welte is still working on the first fully-FOSS GSM stack, so it's not just as simple as putting the pieces together and selling enough units to hit your $100, 200, or 500 target price. But the thing is that $100 is a small enough number that I and most of the full-time-employed geek crowd out there can probably justify getting a v0.1 TotallyOpenPhone each year for the next 3-5 years. But we've got to convince both ourselves and our significant others (for those of us who have been consed) that this is a good or at least not-bad decision.

    So how do we convince ourselves? Easy -- we say that this 2nd GSM phone can serve as a "backup" for our first phone, you know, if anything happens to it, or if we accidentally drop it down a flight of concrete stairs or drop it into the churn while making fresh butter in the morning (I don't care what Kilgore thinks; the smell of fresh butter is much better than napalm). This logic is excellent; it works even better the less you think about it.

    ARMed with our bullet-proof logic, we can now easily divest our pocketbooks of $100 and hand it over to whoever is brave/smart/crazy enough to make a run of Open-Hardware phones. We give them the money now, and then -- here's the genius part -- we tell them that there's more where that came from, if they make us a better phone next year. If it's a much better phone with many more features, we might consider paying $150 or $200 for it, but we let them know that what will allow us to buy it (remember that part where we lied...umm... convinced ourselves that it was a good idea?) is the requirement that it be a solid, low-cost device.

    $1000 is just way, way too high a price for a product like this. Unless there's a solid strategy to drastically cut the price of the phone each year over the next 3-5 years, I just can't see enough product shipping to make the business sustainable. And we really, REALLY do want it to be sustainable. We don't just want one Open Hardware Phone. We want to see competition and innovation. We want to see a marketplace of Open Hardware.

    • by jonwil (467024)

      The problem is not an open modem stack (in fact, many geeks are happy with phones where the modem is a black box), its convincing someone to sell you a modem chip-set or module at a reasonable price when you aren't making the massive quantity of handsets the big boys are making.

      I think the biggest things the GTA04 team need to do (other than obvious improvements in the omap-side software stack) is to further negotiate with vendors to get more hardware information made public (e.g. finding a way to convince

      • by Qubit (100461)

        The problem is not an open modem stack ...I think the biggest things the GTA04 team need to do ...is to further negotiate with vendors to get more hardware information made public (e.g. finding a way to convince the vendor of the WiFi/Bluetooth chip to let them publish the schematic page for that chip)...

        Is the primary issue that vendors of the miniature-sized versions of all of these chips and integrated boards aren't as open about releasing specs as we see in the desktop/server market?

        There are a lot of different goals that a project like OpenMoko could have -- Open Hardware, a fully FOSS stack, over 2 days battery life, small form factor, etc... so I guess one of the first things to do is to define the goals of any particular device or family of devices.

        For me, I think the idea of a fully-open phone syst

  • It was the only mobile form factor I enjoyed working with. I dropped it and smashed the screen the summer the Droidx came out. And though I've enjoyed the Droid, I hung on the 755p because... well,$1000 is a bit rich, but I'll be holding on to the shell a bit longer now.
  • I don't think there's a single word in the title that means what I thought it meant.

Two is not equal to three, even for large values of two.

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