i need a google account to use gphone
i need itunes to use iphone
i have to buy apps from approved channels
it favors the vendors apps
wake me when i can buy a device that runs apps i choose, connects to the network i want. i realize this is a pipe dream. the wireless world is a world of shit
i might as well look for the smallest flash-based linux notebook possible that runs skype and just hold it up to my ear old-skule style like gordon gecko and that giant cell phone from wall street
It costs $399 direct from Openmoko and is available through multiple worldwide resellers ( http://openmoko.com/distributors.html ).
Because the software stack is a community effort, there are still a few niggling issues:
- problems with suspend (just like Linux on "real" computers) killing the sound driver (mostly fixed) or not waking back up (rare)
- there's no software yet for the device to wake itself at a specified time, so alarms are not possible when using suspend
- WiFi and GPRS is not yet straightforward when using the UI, but work perfectly fine when you can get things set up from a terminal/shell script
However, it's not all bad:
- The diversity of applications is already growing fast, and there are multiple choices for phone software, from Qtopia apps to Gtk or the latest FSO apps.
- GPS works great, and the mapping tools are really nifty and useful, especially TangoGPS: http://www.tangogps.org/
- Once you set up the "good" touch keyboards, using an Xterm is really nice for on-the-go ssh access to servers and such
- There's a great app available that will run in the background and auto-rotate the screen based on accelerometer data, which works great for terminals to get a wider screen: http://wiki.openmoko.org/wiki/Rotate
I'm glad to hear that there have been improvements though!
Do you use the phone as your "daily driver" yet?
I don't yet use it as my only phone; because of the suspend issues, I have to have a more reliable method of being reached, so I still carry my Razr with me, and have my calls forwarded whenever my Neo decides not to come out of suspend, but the Neo is still my primary phone otherwise.
From the video, it looks like the FreeRunner is a long way from a usable open phone. And not all the issues are with the horrible software it ships with. The hardware looks like it sucks, too.
Have you tried an iPhone? They're awesome.
edit: Other reviews I've found of the FreeRunner are absolutely frightening as well. It looks more like a $400 toy to hack on than a phone one might actually use.
For the most part, the hardware is not "horrible", but by the fact that Openmoko is a tiny company, they don't have the purchasing power that Apple has to get newer hardware components at an inexpensive price point, hence the older ARM CPU and TI Calypso GSM chipsets. It's still plenty peppy enough and has enough RAM that I can run numerous applications at the same time without degrading performance of the entire system.
Certainly it's not as polished as the iPhone, but for people who actually care about their freedoms, it's fantastic. Even if for the simple reasons that I can flash my Neo at will, and that I have no limitations from the manufacturer as to what I can do with my phone, or how it can be used, it's the best smartphone/PDA I have ever purchased or used.
If you NEED to have a backup phone, then it is still just an expensive toy.
The biggest problem with Openmoko is that nobody knows about them, and nobody realizes why they matter. Everybody sees the horrors going on between Apple, the App Store, and developers' applications being rejected for competing with Apple, and then they complain about it, but that's just the way it is.
Yet that's not how it should be, and if everyone could find out about Openmoko, and actually realize and know why their freedoms truly matter, and that Openmoko makes the most freedoms-loving phone on the planet, then I wouldn't have anything more to talk about.
But we all know that even Openmoko's unexpectedly high sales amounts for the FreeRunner is still only a drop in the ocean compared to even only the iPhone, and even less compared to the entire smartphone industry. And that's why it matters to me and others to get the word out, to let people know that there really is another option that doesn't squelch your freedoms, and that if freedom truly matters to you, then you do have a choice.
Freedom is Your Choice. I choose Freedom.
An OMAP3 sells for somewhere around $50 in quantity (I think).
From my understanding, Openmoko was very limited in choices for SoC, because they needed to stick with open chipset, low power, ARM systems; the crucial point is open chipset systems, which most manufacturers won't give you for anything cutting edge. When your primary goal is freedom, and you insist on getting parts with open specs and chipsets, you eliminate a lot of your potential choices.
 - http://wiki.openmoko.org/wiki/Om2008.9_Update
 - http://wiki.openmoko.org/wiki/FSO
yes. okay you have sold me on the hardware. can i get one, then contact a wireless vendor and get a service plan? or will they tell me that i have to use a authorized device? astoundingly i have never owned a cell phone
And you have heard about OpenMoko, right?
I wonder how long this will last. All you need is one malicious app and the party will be over. If not Google, then the carriers themselves will demand the locking up of the store... all in the name of security.
And Blackberry, Windows Mobile, and Palm devices (and PCs) allow users to install arbitrary applications that they get off the internet, and their world has not collapsed yet. The Android Market might even be considered an improvement over these software ecosystems because it provides a de facto central location for flagging problem apps.
AAPL is positioned to be a barrier from the headaches of open computing. And that's what I love about them.
If Apple or Microsoft tried to pull this shit on the desktop they would be massacred. I would stop using OS X immediately.
I feel they do nothing but demonstrate why a tightly integrated solution is better than a highly flexible one.
His mission statement for Openmoko: http://lists.openmoko.org/pipermail/announce/2008-June/00002...