Saturday, October 27, 2007

The Neo 1973 linux cellphone

A friend of mine just told me about a new cellphone coming up, and that it would be using Linux as its operating system. Like the Linux fan I am, I just had to check it out.

He pointed me to the OpenMoko website, and I was quite surprised. My first impression was that it looked very fancy, and the design looked very thorough. The front consisted of a 2.8" touchscreen, and as far as I could see, there were no buttons. The design of the actual image on the screen on their main page I thought was a bit ugly, but since this is a Linux operating system, it's gonna be very customizable. Specifications showed integrated GPS and Bluetooth, as well as a Micro SD slot.

The phone is currently in phase 1, which means that it's only usable for developers. You can still order it from them, but you would have limited usability, and you would have to use the terminal to use certain functions, and write specific commands for even the most basic tasks.

When the phone enters phase 2 in December, there will be several improvements, and the producers will have had time to get feedback from those who bought it in phase 1. A list of the different phases can be found here.

The price for the phase 1 version is 350$. This is very cheap, but it also is not completely usable yet, so the price for the phase 2 version will be about 450$. The main thing I think is keeping the price down, is the operating system, as it is free and Open Source.

Linux is well known for its community of developers, and getting programs you currently find running on computers with Linux installed on openmoko, does not require a lot of reprogramming. This means that probably a little while after the phone has been released, there will start to come more and more programs which you can downloads completely free for this phone.

I myself really think this is gonna be a great phone, and if I don't hear a lot of bad criticism, I think I'm gonna buy one myself. I'm just hoping it gets available on stores here in Norway, so I don't have to order it from abroad.

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