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Openmoko's Open Source Phone Goes Mass-Market 247

nerdyH writes "Openmoko has begun shipping its Linux-based, open source Neo Freerunner phone to five newly announced distributors, in Germany, France, and India, says the company. The Neo Freerunner features an open hardware design, and a Linux-based operating system that users are free to modify. The project originally hoped to produce a mass-market offering last October. The $400 Freerunner will remain available direct, online, too. A 2.5G GPRS/GSM phone like the original iPhone, it boasts a 500MHz processor, WiFi, 3D accelerometers, a 4.3-inch VGA touchscreen, Bluetooth, and built-in GPS."
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Openmoko's Open Source Phone Goes Mass-Market

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  • 2.5G (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sglewis100 ( 916818 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @02:08PM (#23938105)
    That's about all I have to say... 2.5G... if not for that I'd keep my existing iPhone but because of it I'm upgrading next month.
  • Re:2.5G (Score:2, Interesting)

    by terevos ( 148651 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @02:17PM (#23938237)

    except, it's not EDGE, so I don't know how it's 2.5G, it's GPRS with boost, but I don't know that all the stuff with GPRS will be compatible with the EDGE network for speed. I'm doubting it will, which will leave you with speeds back at 2G GPRS.

  • by comm2k ( 961394 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @02:21PM (#23938279)
    3G was never planned for this version and even subsequent versions only may get it thy can get buy it in low volume and can write/publish it with GPL'ed driver (if necessary for 3G module). Same goes for a lot of other things that your run-of-the-mill phone boasts. Most chip-makers wont even talk to you if you want low volume + open specs/drivers.
    WIFI wouldn't have been included if they didn't find an appropriate chip (for mobile phones) with open drivers etc. or at least the possibility to write an open driver with NDA'ed docs.
  • by OglinTatas ( 710589 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @02:26PM (#23938357)

    I can't wait, I've developed _serious_ blueballs waiting for this thing. Lets see... store...

    Invalid security certificate? D'oh!

    Hope that gets fixed soon too. wasn't there a discussion [] about that recently?

  • by oever ( 233119 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @02:33PM (#23938477) Homepage

    I'm really considering buying a Neo Freerunner. At 300 euros it's reasonably priced.

    Some improvements I'd like to perform to it that a normal phone does not have:
      - depending on who's calling perform any of these behaviors:
          * ring, vibrate or ignore the call
          * answer the call with a dynamic or static message for example where i am (coordinates or city name), why i'm not answering (eating, sleeping, meeting)
          * install an operator menu ("Jos is in a meeting, i'm openmoko his assistant. do you want to make an appointment for him to call you back?"
      - record my accelleration and position all day (because i can)
      - switch an annoying caller to a signal of strange noises or a helpfully scripted assistant or a nice song to put them on hold with
      - put a filter on incoming and outgoing sounds to give them echo or change the pitch
      - record every call i make


  • Re:2.5G (Score:2, Interesting)

    by sglewis100 ( 916818 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @02:49PM (#23938757)
    I'm not aware of any hardware features being removed, so I guess nothing was sacrificed. I suppose in the last year they were able to miniaturize other components to free up physical space inside the case. Here's a link: []. You mentioned removing a speaker to squeeze in WiFi. iPhone has just one speaker too if I recall, although the bottom of the phone looks like there are two. The other one is a microphone.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @03:11PM (#23939117)

    Well this phone isnt the greatest, I would rather have the sony xperia as it has a real keyboard, 800x480 display, etc.

    However you gave me an idea that is easier to do when you have the code for the dialer app, and that would be voicemail on the phone. The caller pays to call you and leave a voicemail, why pay to retrieve it (at least you pay in europe generally to call your voicemail).

    Recording calls is possible through a variety of apps for windows mobile, however again that would be easier to do again when you already have some base to just stick that feature in.

    You missed an app though, VSA, voice stress analyzer. Basically there is a frequency that when mixed will pass through the phone network. Its generally low about 9-11Hz, by picking that out (the gsm codec may ruin that, especially AMR) you can tell relative stress in someones voice, which would be present if they are lying and afraid of being caught but also if they are emotional over something unrelated (be context aware). By displaying this realtime on the phone it can be amusing (although not entirely accurate).

    What you are wanting though is generally not going to be that good, for example if you do TTS stuff, good stuff takes up a lot of space (unless its limited domain which would work for your apps) and to make it sound good takes a lot of work (why festival doesnt sound as good as it could - work equates to time, which equates to money). TTS stuff can also be a bit cpu expensive.

    Pitch shifting and other things also can be cpu intensive. It really depends on the amount of audio mangling that is acceptable.

  • Re:Neo 1973 (Score:3, Interesting)

    by legirons ( 809082 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @04:32PM (#23940459)

    Article is kinda short on web shop links - anyone know where you can buy this already?

  • Re:2.5G (Score:5, Interesting)

    by intangible ( 252848 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @04:34PM (#23940509) Homepage

    These are the things I'm under the impression that the Neo phone will support that the iPhone does not have:
    A2DP (Bluetooth Stereo)
    Replaceable Battery
    Expandable Flash Memory
    Cut and Paste
    Voice Dialing
    Bluetooth Tether / Modem support
    Flash Support

  • Re:Some Experience (Score:2, Interesting)

    by andyfrommk ( 1021405 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @05:12PM (#23941021) Homepage

    As I already have a Freerunner, here are my experiences:
    Where did you get it? whats your email on the lists? are there any good points about it? You seem to have just registered on slashdot, was it to troll on the neo freerunner? I call BS on that post
  • Re:Kind of expensive (Score:2, Interesting)

    by lindi ( 634828 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @05:19PM (#23941105)
    You can't really expect custom hardware design for a small number of customers to be cheap?
  • by berating ( 1314335 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @07:26PM (#23942729)

    I know internal tests have indicated a week of battery life is possible when the Freerunner is suspended.
    Yes, you are right. If I take the battery out it will last for weeks even. But I have *four* Neos and three of them go to nirvana after two hours. Being suspended. But talking every minute to the cell tower. Chief Software Architect Dr. Michael Lauer called it a "Heisenbug"(just search the bugzilla). Ah. okay.

    I'm pretty sure you're using a Nokia compatible headset instead of the Motorola compatible one that the FR plug actually matches.
    Thanks god for your telepathic analysis. In case that Openmoko shipped their phone with Nokia headsets you are right. But let me tell you that Nokia never ever would ship saw such cheap crap as these headphones. For 1$ you get better stuff on ebay. But hey wurpy-fanboi, just shell out your money.

    The neo supports *full* bluetooth
    What is that fscking good for if the X server doesn't support /dev/input/event5 ? Dear wurpy-fanboi, maybe you should just start X and see that on stderr it says that this is not implemented? Geez fscking Christ, in November 2006 Master Mosko-Pultz said they are delivering in March 2007 and now I have to start programming kinput.c in the X-.server to get an external keyboard to run? Man, what are you smoking? Bluetooth is uselees if the drivers don't support it!

    There are known graphics issues, which will probably only allow video playback of mpeg4 format in 320x200 at reasonable (20+) framerates. I haven't heard of general issues with normal GUI use.
    Just search the bugzilla (or now trac) for the CTO's (Wolfgang Spraul) comments. They are trying to *remove* it in order to extend the product life-cycle. And let me tell you: despite 50% more CPU power it is only half as fast as the Neo1973.

    That GPS fix time was an issue early on, and still isn't as good as it could be, but I thought the production Freerunners had The last discussion on the mailing list was just a few days ago and the conclusion is that TTFF is >10min. It is 8 min under perfect conditions (on a hill and blue sky) and 20 minutes in a city - and only if you don't move at all. Oh, and you can't connect an external antenna due to missing shielding.

    I chat with Mickey Laurer and Raster (and other OpenMoko developers) fairly often on freenode #openmoko, and I have yet to hear anyone issue anything other than the normal low-grade grousing that you'll hear about anyone.
    No comment on Dr. fresh from Ivory Tower without industry experience Michael Lauer

    The ASU is currently a piece of crap, and is mostly reinventing the wheel from the mostly working GTK release. Don't use it; use Qtopia for now.
    Duuhh? GTK was mostly working as you admit. The industry (Garmin, Moblin, Limo, Texas Instruments, Intel, Ubuntu, Firefox, Openoffice, Motorola,... everybody going GTK) you tell me to switch to Qtopia???
    Okay, thank you for your fanboi insight's. There are 1500 more of your kind on the mailing list. But last not least: how many developers have jumped your train? The answer is: zero. Nada. Even a developer who worked for Openmoko said on his blog -ironically being spread via he would never buy it.

    Now go and spend your fanboi money if you really have to.
  • Re:2.5G (Score:3, Interesting)

    by VValdo ( 10446 ) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @02:44PM (#23953545)

    I don't think that's right... I remember reading in the mailing lists that people couldn't overclock (or in this case, normalclock) the CPU because of timing/sync issues with other components...


The trouble with the rat-race is that even if you win, you're still a rat. -- Lily Tomlin