back to article Is your phone free?

The OpenMoko project has debuted what could be the ultimate geek handset: a Linux-based mobile phone, complete with an open-source operating system and application suite. The Neo 1973 handset, which starts at $300, has been under development for the last six months. OpenMoko encourages developers to get their hands dirty by …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    VGA touchscreen


    USB Host & client

    Nice specifications for that price. Once someone gets Windows Mobile running on this, I'll buy one ;)

  2. Brett Brennan

    Still an iPhone... that it's EDGE only. {SIGH!} When will they release the version with HSDPA (not that it works worth a damn here in at&t land) or, better yet, with CDMA so I can at least get 2.9G service from Sprint's EVDO network?

    Until then, I think I'll make a cardboard cut-out and keep it on my cube a reminder of what might be...

  3. Rodrigo Valenzuela

    What's in a name

    If the phone is good or bad, I don't know... but for the Spanish speaking market, they will need to change the name.

    "moko" sounds exactly like "moco" which is a synonym for "booger".

    Just like that...


  4. Kevin Hall

    Looks quite decent

    Looks quite a good phone with some interesting ideas. The Sharp Zaurus was a great idea - I had one and the quality of the software was really quite good. Unfortunately the developer effort let it down a bit and I was forced back to Palm. I don't think it'll ever be a Nokia-killer but at least it shows some more imaginative thinking beyond adding more cameras/MP3 players and other crap to a phone.

  5. Andrew

    Finally Ordered

    I've been waiting months to get my hands on one. Now they're released I have mine ordered. It's going to be fantastic to finally get hold of one. There's the potential for so much. Imagine being able to set your phone to change ringtone to the mother in law's favourite tune when you visit their house. There are just so many uses available for the blend of integrated devices that this phone will nowt but succeed for the developers. It's just a case of working on the UI to make it a consumer 'must have' when it comes out in October/November.

  6. Corrine


    Of course, there's a decent chance that no phone companies will actually let me use the thing. I don't know of anybody who will let you bring just any phone. I'll bug sprint about it later on.

    And if it had windows mobile, it wouldn't be cheap.

  7. Skavenger

    Unfriendly Touchscreen Input

    Until they STOP putting silly touchscreen keyboards on these things, I will refuse to buy one. I have had 2 touchscreen only phones in the past and both times the onscreen keyboard has turned out to be the biggest pile of dung in the world. Its just the fact there is a total lack of feedback that makes typing any message pretty much impossible.

  8. Mike

    More bad naming...

    @Rodrigo Valenzuela

    Its almost as bad as the Vauxhall Nova, which I'm told beans 'doesn't go' in spanish...

  9. Dillon Pyron


    One of my co-workers is an OpenBSD god. I wonder how long it would take him to get it running on one of these phones.

    Rodrigo, it snot what you think it means. :-)

  10. Doug

    tie touchscreen keyboard to knock/vibe control for feedback(pat pending)

    not sure if the current 'vibe' control is fine tuned enough for just a single knock but a good first step would be as short a buzz as possible on key presses. Then, get FIC to mod the vibe control for a knock pulse before the consumer release and they'll probably win over some customers and maybe the press with a touchscreen keyboard with feedback.

    In the meantime, someone who's got one of these should implement it before Microsoft patents it.

  11. Giles Jones Gold badge


    Been looking for a new phone, nothing takes my fancy. This however looks cool with it's VGA screen and Linux software.

    I mainly use a Windows Smartphone for GPS. If this gets some GPS software it would be useful. If not then I'll get a Tomtom unit.

  12. joe_bruin


    I'm no foaming-at-the-mouth rabid Apple fanboy, and in fact usually put function over form. But why, oh why, could they not have made it look like any other plain, boring, normal phone? That thing is just hideous. And let me tell you, in mixed company, "it runs Linux" will hardly work as an excuse to justify that.

  13. Alexander Hanff

    Re: Still an iPhone

    Actually this release doesn't support 3G it is a limited release aimed only at developers with a very limited number of phones available. The public release will be 3G and will have a camera and wifi.

    You should also note that the Neo1973 has built in GPS.

  14. Simon Harris

    Re: tie touchscreen keyboard to knock/vibe control for feedback(pat pending)

    Something like this perhaps ?

  15. David Leeming


    "I mainly use a Windows Smartphone for GPS. If this gets some GPS software it would be useful. If not then I'll get a Tomtom unit."

    Tomtom one was/is Linux based. In fact Openmoko uses some of the GPL code written and released by Tomtom.

    I give it a week before you can download a version of TT for this beauty.

    I put my order in within hours of the announcement. I can ditch my horrible WM5 device - well the hardware is ok, but the software (TT aside) sucks big time. Let UPS gods deliver my FIC1973 quickly!

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    re:openmoko moko = moco = booger

    In response to moko/moco = booger it may sound better if they renamed the platform to OpenMoJo?

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: More bad naming...

    "Its almost as bad as the Vauxhall Nova, which I'm told beans 'doesn't go' in spanish..."

    But nowhere near as bad as the Mitsubishi Pajero. Apparently, 'Pajero' is Spanish slang for 'wanker'!

  18. Kjetil

    Nothing new here...

    The Trolltech (the guys behind QT which KDE is built on) has had the Greenphone on the market for a while now. I tested one first, and it was scarily fast. Push a button, and it just did what you wanted, no waiting at all.

  19. Dr. Mouse


    I saw these a month ago. Looking at downloading developement emultaor to put decent linux-based handwriting recognition on it.

    The cool thing is that, as it's completely open, it can do whatever you want. The release version will even have 2 3D accelerometers, which could make it usable as a computer mouse. It will also have a 3D graphics chipset, so I'm thinking ports of some decent opensource opengl games will be in the offing. OOh, maybe a port of TuxRacer :D (penguin racing down a snowy hill on its belly)

    It is the essence of open source, with even the hardware specs open (except a few bits they cant), so your realy can do anything with it. And at $450 for the release version with GPS/3G etc, its a bargain.

    And to those that dont like the look, I personaly think its smooth, sleek, and simple, although I would prefer it not being quite so rounded at the ends. May have to build my own case for it :D

  20. Nick Miles

    What's in a name?

    Colgate means "Go hang yourself" in Spanish IIRC, but it's generally cars that go for bad translations; Cortina - Curtain; Sierra - Saw;

    and the MR2 from Toyota if said in French, means "shit" MRDeux / merde.

  21. heystoopid

    It looks kinda cool

    It looks kinda cool! , and I doubt very much it will have much of a battery replacement problem unlike the Jobs Cupertino model

    And since it is a GPL3 license , no hidden unwanted extras or open back windows , since Linux is by it's very nature one of the more secure OS, and the source code is readily available for the curious ones!

    As for car names , why do you think the Paris Dakar rally winning titanium chassis carbon fibre body shell plastic fantastic Mitsubishi Pajero as sold in a number of English speaking countries but is re-badged as a Montero or Shogun in the many countries that speak Spanish (hint it is the Spanish word for wanker)

    Given a choice who indeed wouldn't go for a smart phone with similar features but not locked to some of the less than reliable mobile phone networks and expensive fixed term 2 year contracts and half the price of hidden DRM'd Cupertino units

  22. Jonathan Fitt

    RE: Finally

    The phone is GSM, and so AFAIK Sprint being CDMA, it won't work on them. Try T-mobile or AT&T in the USA.

    Also, don't worry about an operator rejecting it, just take any SIM card from an existing contract, or a PAYG SIM and pop it in and voila!

    AFAIK operators do not do effectively a "User-Agent ID" check on the phone model it's normally the phone that prevents you registering with non-allowed providers which locks the phone. Even if they did do a check, how long do you think it would take someone to change this phone to report itself as a Nokia :P

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why doesn't it come with 3G?

    Telcos offer affordable 3G flat fees in so many countries.. why would i like to buy a brand new phone and still had to suffer from often even more expensive GSM data connection?

    No, i'm sorry, i am soo looking forward having a free phone with linux and the OpenMoko looks just as the right thing to buy, but I won't buy one until it supports 3G.

    Alexander Hanff claimed above that the enduser model should support 3G.. can you prove that? I haven't seen that in the specs for the October release.

  24. Nano nano

    What's in a name III

    Also, SEGA in Italian (I was informed) means 'saw' and is slang for "self-abuse".

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