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Open Source "iPhone"?

3.pngThis may seem like a bold statement. Apple's just released iPhone is not only very attractive as we would expect from an Apple product, but includes some impressive features and specifications. It's probably unrealistic to claim that anything currently available on the market competes with this offering. However, is it really a revolution in mobile communication devices? Maybe not if there still is something that can overshadow it, and do it very soon.

It is something that follows a paradigm painfully different from the one of Apple, pretty much completely opposite of it actually. It is a phone which rivals Apple's iPhone as a technological concept and is yet based on completely open technologies, fully extensible by anyone and fully under control of its user. Enter OpenMoko, an attractive phone which may not currently be much of a competitor in terms of specifications alone, but beats Apple hands down on openness and therefore the disruptive potential.

It is based on open hardware specifications and uses a Free Software operating system platform known as GNU/Linux which means that all the hardware and software code is open to developers, engineers and designers to build on and potentially create things even far more exciting than the current Apple iPhone. So reads the copy on the OpenMoko site.

The initial hardware product supporting OpenMoko is the FIC GSM Neo1973 device. The Neo 1973 boasts the following hardware specifications -

2.8" VGA TFT color display
Touchscreen, usable with stylus or fingers
266MHz Samsung System on a Chip (SOC)
USB 1.1, switchable between Client and Host (unpowered)
Integrated AGPS
2.5G GSM – quad band, voice, CSD, GPRS
Bluetooth 2.0
Micro SD slot
High Quality audio codec

The unit that will ship in October will have wifi and accelerated graphics too.

As OpenMoko say - Free your Phone! Gizmodo reviewed the Neo1973 - BTW the name Neo1973 is a reference to Dr. Martin Cooper, who made the first mobile phone call in 1973.

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