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Forget iPhone, hail OpenMoko, the true revolution

This 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.

The current situation in the mobile phone market isn't very flattering if you care about standardization and openness. Basically every manufacturer has their own proprietary platform. If you want to extend your mobile phone with new features and software you are generally dependable solely on the phone manufacturer itself. The vision behind OpenMoko describes a completely different world. It is a world where there is a common standard platform for mobile phones which is open and therefore friendly to developers. It is a world where once you buy your phone you can install or remove software from it as you wish, customizing the phone and its capabilities in much the similar manner you can customize your PC. It is a world which is, thanks to the visionaries and enthusiasts behind the OpenMoko project, near.

This is the real mobile communications revolution we should be expecting. It is not merely about creating a technologically superior mobile phone that looks good. It is about creating an open common environment which welcomes innovators of all kinds to converge and create technological superiority not dependable on one vendor. It is the mirror of the Free Software ecosystem that produced things like GNU/Linux, Mozilla Firefox, Apache, PHP, Drupal and other impressive software technologies. It is the concept which we may, in the trendy "web 2.0" jargon, rightfully call "Mobile 2.0"—reinventing the mobile communications industry. Smiling

This said, I would rather wait for OpenMoko to become available for purchase than shell out high bucks for iPhone. Just like with any Apple product, it is like an awesome looking golden cage. I always preferred freedom to control my own digital devices than to be mostly dependent on one vendor for everything.

I refer you to this presentation PDF for an attractive summary of the revolutionary OpenMoko concept. You can see a feature comparison here. In the true open fashion, you can talk about and ask questions about OpenMoko in an #openmoko IRC channel at irc.freenode.net.

Thank you
Danijel Orsolic


Digg!

UPDATE: Libervis Network has launched a new web site on open mobile devices: MobiLiberty.com.

Comments

Quote: So this phone isn't

Quote:

So this phone isn't free? WTF, why should anybody get paid for any cool ideas? They can so easily be copied--cheaply--within the country they'll be manufactured?

I'm just guessing, but if you're alluding to Free Software as a movement to make everything free of cost you're wrong. It's about freedom and not cost meaning that you can still charge for it, just not restrict what people can do with it. And this does not apply to hardware which is by definition made out of a completely different kind of "matter". It is not information. It is *matter*.

Quote:

Who should I contact when my OpenMoko device is besiged with "Phone-ware"; sending all my contacts to random recipients, exposing my most private thoughts/dreams/media, and transferring funds to l33t PayPal accounts?

Again, if you're alluding to the Open and Free way being less secure than the closed restricted way I can only say that security by obscurity has been proven quite fallible, and even more fallible than the open way where everyone can improve security and make sure no-one hijacks your computer or a phone and starts sending private stuff or money where it's not supposed to.

Thanks

DePro gives great head

 

and this will never have the marketing money required to "beat the hell out of Apple's iPhone"

LOL

 

So it's not better than the iPod, but it's opeeeeeeeeeen.
I get it, just like Open Source software totally blew away Microsoft and other Closed Source demons, this one will banish the Evil iPod into the pits of hell. Cute.

Betamax died

 
Anonymous wrote:

So it's not better than the iPod, but it's opeeeeeeeeeen.
I get it, just like Open Source software totally blew away Microsoft and other Closed Source demons, this one will banish the Evil iPod into the pits of hell. Cute.

Better != Winner
Unfortunately.

Nokia N800

 

The Nokia N800 is built with open-source software. You can even build your own kernel for it. Granted, its not a phone.... Eye

Simple Neo1973 v. iPhone comparison

 

There is a simple comparison of the Neo1973 and the iPhone hardware specs in the temporary wiki:
http://www.linuxtogo.org/gowiki/OpenMoko/iPhone

More info and potential software ideas for the Neo1973 and future open phones (more versions are coming, confirmed by FIC) are found if you browse the wiki (an official wiki will be launched at February 11).

The phone will be purchasable world-wide from March 11 (for hackers and testers, software not yet 100% final) and retail sales starts September 11 (for grandmas and Bob the cat, mainstream software should be sleek by then).

Youtube video of phone: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jRvtAAXTIlg

The OpenMoko guy Mickey

The OpenMoko guy Mickey Lauer was on Lugradio this week, listen to him here. Quite an interesting interview.

Cool, thanks. I'm

Cool, thanks. I'm downloading (gonna take a bit) and will probably listen to it tonight.

i know but...

 

the iphone has that map and you can touch to call, i need that feature, im not sure if openmoko is as advanced as iphone, no offense.

say it

 

So tell the OpenMoko developers and they might make it.

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