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Handhelds Linux Business Hardware

OpenMoko In Stores On July 4 212

Posted by timothy
from the 20080704 dept.
ruphus13 writes "July 4 will be day when OpenMoko's Neo FreeRunner will be available to US consumers. Being Open Source, it is modifiable down to the core. From the article: 'The FreeRunner is based on a GNU/Linux, and it will initially ship with basic software to make calls, send and receive SMS, and manage contacts. But the company is encouraging users to write and install their own applications. Software updates will add features to the phone over time, and the company said an August update will enable location-based services.'"
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OpenMoko In Stores On July 4

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  • by giorgist (1208992) on Friday July 04, 2008 @03:15AM (#24055943)
    Can I ask the powers that be ...

    Could I run a program that can make calls the world over and charge to my account ? ... if so, we have a problem

    G
  • Availability (Score:2, Interesting)

    by bugg_tb (581786) on Friday July 04, 2008 @03:25AM (#24055983)
    When will UK carriers pick up these open source phones and supply them to contract customers is what I want to know! :)
  • What network? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by davmoo (63521) on Friday July 04, 2008 @03:47AM (#24056087)

    Even though I readily admit I hate the shape of the case they put this thing in, I am otherwise quite interested in this phone from the "open" standpoint.

    But assuming I were to buy one of these, what carriers in the US will let you put it on their network without grief or a number of hoops to jump through?

  • Sweet. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by NaishWS (1263540) on Friday July 04, 2008 @03:48AM (#24056097)
    Though I am not a fan of the appearance, it is quite a powerful phone, with a 500mhz processor, which is not quite as powerful as the 700mhz processor on the iphone, but still decent nevertheless. Ofcourse, the benefiting factor being that it is open source, where as the iphone is not. It will be a great time when we are able to buy a phone, with the basic functionality installed, then choose what particular software we want to add on the phone, for free. The main problem with phones today is that there is really no way that the community can fix or improve the software without complications, but if the company is actually encouraging open source software to be developed they will provide the necessary tools (APIs etc) for the community to do these improvements themselves, saving them money in the process. It also appears that more phone companies are starting to follow this open source trend, but will probably still keep their strangle hold on their customer base by using DRM and SIM locks, you can read the article here [zdnet.co.uk]. Openmoko are definitely in the right direction, I wish them much success.
  • Re:Availability (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kylegordon (159137) on Friday July 04, 2008 @03:51AM (#24056117) Homepage

    Most likely never ;) Unless you want an rather ancient tech phone which is also locked down and crippled to no end by your network provider.

    The UK isn't terribly bad for crippling and locking phones. We have a healthy unlocking market, and some stores (namely CarPhoneWarehouse) insist on selling unlocked phones. Admittedly, sometimes the phone will come with awful branded firmware (I'm thinking P990i and N95 here), but it's quite simple to reflash it with a world generic firmware that has all the features and none of the branding. It's .us that is renowned for ruining phones in the above fashion.

  • by ya really (1257084) on Friday July 04, 2008 @04:06AM (#24056211)

    Oh really?

    Global System for Mobile communications (GSM: originally from Groupe Spécial Mobile) is the most popular standard for mobile phones in the world. Its promoter, the GSM Association, estimates that 82% of the global mobile market uses the standard.[1] GSM is used by over 3 billion people across more than 212 countries and territories.[2][3]wikipedia.org [wikipedia.org]

    Verizon, a CDMA carrier, is starting trials using LTE, a GSM (4G) variant this year, eventually they'll switch over leaving only Sprint as the main provider of CDMA

    I like CDMA, but I'll welcome GSM with Verizon if it means I can try out the OpenMoko. Oh yeah, what were you saying again about GSM?

  • gps software? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Luke_22 (1296823) on Friday July 04, 2008 @04:11AM (#24056247)
    I see it has built-in agps device...
    does anyone know what software it uses? map coverage?

    and... what do you slashdotters suggest as alternative? :)
  • Re:What network? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mrchaotica (681592) * on Friday July 04, 2008 @04:39AM (#24056367)

    Even though I readily admit I hate the shape of the case they put this thing in

    Feel free to download the plans [openmoko.org], modify it however you see fit, and fabricate the result!

  • by soundguy (415780) on Friday July 04, 2008 @04:51AM (#24056417) Homepage

    The website is remarkably information-free. "Basic software" doesn't tell me a damned thing. I'm all about x86 pizzabox servers and CentOS. I don't know anything about these mini-platforms or ARM processors to start with. Does it come with a compiler or does all development have to be done externally? Does it have any shell tools? Does it have a Perl interpreter? SSH? Is there any graphical internet stuff at all yet for the platform (browser, ftp, email?) or is this an entirely new "ground up" environment.

    I'd love to have a Linux phone just on principle, but I don't want to have to build the whole damned thing from scratch.

  • Re:Availability (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 04, 2008 @06:33AM (#24056963)

    But don't forget how Australia came to be, as a British prison colony...

  • Re:Availability (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TheRaven64 (641858) on Friday July 04, 2008 @07:40AM (#24057295) Journal
    3G usually means UMTS, and most UMTS phones will fall back to GSM for voice and fall back to GPRS for data if a UMTS signal is unavailable.

    Most of the UK is covered in GSM signal, and most of the urban areas are covered with UMTS which is increasingly being upgraded to HSPA. From the page you linked to, take a look at this map [gsmworld.com]. Most of the 'middle of nowhere' type places are covered with GSM and all town, cities, and a lot of the 'not quite the middle of nowhere' areas are covered with UMTS.

    Upgrading from GPRS to UMTS was the reason for my last phone upgrade, three years ago, and so a phone that would require a downgrade is simply not interesting to me. I could live without HSPA support, since UMTS gives around 50KB/s real-world speeds (possibly more - that seems to be the peak throughput for my current phone's bluetooth chip), and that's enough for the moment, but it would be nice to have an upgrade path.

    No one is investing in GPRS networks anymore, since anyone who cares about data access has been on UMTS for years and is thinking of moving to HSPA with their next upgrade, so you are likely to have worse coverage in the future, while UMTS and HSPA networks are being upgraded constantly.

  • Doesn't anyone find it kind of funny?

    The Freerunner is about freedom; free software, free hardware designs. Launch date is 4th of July. I hear there was some freedom going on at the 4th of july some 232 years ago.

    (sinister voice) Coincidence? I think not...

"And do you think (fop that I am) that I could be the Scarlet Pumpernickel?" -- Looney Tunes, The Scarlet Pumpernickel (1950, Chuck Jones)

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