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OpenMoko In Stores On July 4 212

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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  • Damn, that was quick (Score:2, Informative)

    by Planky ( 761118 ) on Friday July 04, 2008 @03:14AM (#24055933) Homepage
    The online store has already run out of the GSM 850 model.
  • Re:No GSM 1800? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Bob54321 ( 911744 ) on Friday July 04, 2008 @03:25AM (#24055973)
    They are triband 850 or 900 /1800/1900
  • Woops, My Bad (Score:5, Informative)

    by msgmonkey ( 599753 ) on Friday July 04, 2008 @03:25AM (#24055979)

    Sorry, I went straight to the BUY NOW section, where it offers "GSM 850" & "GSM 900" which what they mean is 850/1800/1900 & 900/1800/1900.

    Note to OpenMoko: You could make this a bit clearer.

    Note to Moderators: Please be gentle :)

    Although I stand by the EDGE comment.

  • by comm2k ( 961394 ) on Friday July 04, 2008 @03:32AM (#24056009)
    It is not sold out - it's just not in stock yet.

    Dear All, Sorry for delay long time!!! So far, only GSM850 Freerunner is available in stock, Debug board and spare also!!! []

  • Re:What network? (Score:2, Informative)

    by oldhack ( 1037484 ) on Friday July 04, 2008 @04:01AM (#24056175)
    AT&T and T-Mobile run GSM networks. There may also be regional ones using GSM service.
  • Re:What network? (Score:3, Informative)

    by CopaceticOpus ( 965603 ) on Friday July 04, 2008 @04:02AM (#24056179)

    Hear, hear! I'd like to see the breakdown of what it would actually cost to use this on a U.S. network and what kind of service to expect.

    I did find this list of U.S. GSM providers [] by following a link from OpenMoko's Q&A page, but it's not all that helpful.

    Since this device has wi-fi, what I'd really like to do is to use it as a Skype-like phone over wi-fi when I'm at home, and then have it switch to regular cellular when I'm on the road. Since I make most of my phone calls from home, I should theoretically save a lot of money this way. Realistically, I don't know if this is possible.

  • by Ungrounded Lightning ( 62228 ) on Friday July 04, 2008 @05:15AM (#24056545) Journal

    I just had to bite the bullet a few months ago, retire my AMPS/TDMA phone and switch to GSM. (AT&T is the only cell carrier that covers my vacation/eventual-retirement home and they're shutting down the TDMA option.) Had hoped OpenMoko would be in time for me but they missed by about 9 months.

    With them in mind I got one of the "free" locked phones - and checked what the unlocking and phone switching policies were. AT&T claimed:
      - The PHONE is locked to the CARD, but,
      - The CARD isn't locked to the PHONE (either by the card or by the network refusing to accept calls with that card and any other phone.)

    Story is likely the same for any other GSM carrier. So just pull the GSM smartcard from any and shove it into your OpenMoko phone.

    If you're signing up for new service, ask them if they'll credit you with the phone allowance if you bring your own phone rather than making them give you one of the "free" ones. Might not work but won't hurt to ask. (And if there's another GSM carrier in your service area, you might try hinting that you'll see if THEY'll credit you for the phone...

      Of course don't tell them that it's an OpenMoko phone. I bet they're scared you - and thousands of others - will download some hack that lets you bypass some part of their service model. B-)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 04, 2008 @05:24AM (#24056599)

    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] []

    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?

    Some more precision

    GSM is the 2G standard, and still used in so called 3G networks. In fact when making a phone on your 3G phone, most of the time you use the 2G network. In fact if your phone allows you to select which network takes the priority, you'd better choose GSM than 3G: better quality, and less drain to your battery.

    Now, 3G (UMTS) is actually a CDMA based technology, so not very efficient. It is funny that 3G+ (HSDPA) is in fact a going back to TDMA type technology (like GSM).

    4G (LTE or even WiMax) are definitely based on OFDM

  • by shani ( 1674 ) <> on Friday July 04, 2008 @06:23AM (#24056915) Homepage

    If you clicked on "gallery" then you would have seen screenshots: []

    A list of applications is a bit harder to find, but it is on the wiki: []

    Of course, this is just the "core applications". Since it is an open platform, there are quite a few more, in the usual mixed states of maturity. :)

    And since this phone is targeted at developers, if you don't want to write apps then no reason you should get one.

  • by shani ( 1674 ) <> on Friday July 04, 2008 @06:27AM (#24056931) Homepage

    Go to the Wiki: []

    And all will be revealed.

  • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Friday July 04, 2008 @07:28AM (#24057223) Journal
    You don't need to modify the GSM stack to make calls, you just need to use the top layers. To answer the grandparent's question, yes you can. You are the user, you are in control. That's what Free Software means. You can run any program you want and it can do anything you allow it to. If you don't want it to be able to make calls, don't run it with permissions to access the GSM hardware.
  • GSM is really only of use for making calls. Using it for data is insane - you won't get more than 9.6Kb/s

    Not true - GSM allows for HSCSD [], which is basically bonding of up to 4 GSM channels, giving you 38.4Kbps.

    Also, depending on your application, using GSM CSD instead of GPRS may be very beneficial - GPRS has really high latency, which makes interactive stuff like SSH really painful (also makes establishing SSL connections terminally slow because of the number of round-trips needed for the handshake), whereas CSD is significantly lower latency. The upshot of this is that if you need to do something like administer a server over SSH, you want CSD, not GPRS.

    GPRS gives you a maximum of about 5KB/s with 2 second latency in the real world

    This is _really_ variable and depends on how busy the cell you are in is. If you're using CSD then once the circuit is established you are guaranteed the bandwidth, whereas the bandwidth available on GPRS will vary. I use GPRS a lot on Orange's network, and I can tell you that it'll go from "reasonable" to "shockingly bad" (~300 bytes per second, 5-45 seconds latency, over 50% packet loss) to "no connection at all" at a moment's notice - I certainly wouldn't want to rely on it for anything important.

    Also, I see very frequent dropouts within Orange's network itself (i.e. not on the air-interface), but that is down to Orange's incompetence at running an IP network rather than the technology itself.

  • by mmontour ( 2208 ) <> on Friday July 04, 2008 @09:54AM (#24058217)

    How come they write like retards?

    Because English is not their native language (many of the Openmoko people are in .tw or .de).

  • by LarsG ( 31008 ) on Friday July 04, 2008 @11:25AM (#24059073) Journal

    In many phones (including the FreeRunner) the entire GSM stack is handled by a separate chip. As you say, it is required for type approval in a handset that is as open as this one.

    Writing software to talk to one of those is quite deja vu if you were into modem stuff in the bbs days. Serial link, AT command set. From the point of view of the Linux software running on the phone, it is pretty much identical to an old PC connected to a serial modem. Retro-computing in your pocket. ;-p

  • Re:What network? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Yogiz ( 1123127 ) on Friday July 04, 2008 @03:59PM (#24061379) Journal

    Why is parent rated funny. This is actually possible with this phone. The cad files are freely available and can be changed and produced.

To do two things at once is to do neither. -- Publilius Syrus