They've already released the CAD files for modding the case into a lobster phone (please, someone?), and now the OpenMoko folks are going all the way with their Neo Freerunner Linux smartphone, opening up the schematics for all to see and use under a Creative Commons license. This includes not only the full schematics for the phone's PCBs, but also for the individual chips inside, for seeing exactly how the GPS ties into the system, for instance. The Freerunner phone itself is still mostly a developer's tool, so this move makes a lot of sense for that crowd. Full details follow.
Aug 06, 2008 08:01 Openmoko Declares Another Freedom: Publishes Schematics for Neo Phones Openmoko Shows Beauty Is More Than Skin Deep SAN FRANCISCO —(Business Wire)— Aug. 6, 2008 Openmoko, maker of open source mobile products, today announced that it has taken another step in opening its mobile platform to the development community by announcing it will publish the schematics for the Neo 1973 and Neo FreeRunner mobile phones. Openmoko broke with traditional mobile phone manufacturers by shipping its Neo 1973 and Neo FreeRunner mobile phones with a free and open source (FOSS) operating system and open applications, enabling developers to take the functionality of the phone well beyond the limited applications that commercial mobile phones can handle. The Neo FreeRunner went on sale July 4, 2008. In less than a week the initial Neo FreeRunner allocation had sold out. Openmoko has previously published the CAD files for the product under a Creative Commons license so product designers can alter the look and feel of the phone case and craft it to suit such vertical markets as fashion, science, medical, industrial, or enterprise. Developers can also choose other materials for manufacturing the case, making more appealing to fashion tastes or enabling the phone to withstand rugged environments and harsh use. Now, Openmoko announced it will publish the schematics of the phone, giving engineers free reign to modify Neo phones. Just as Free and Open Source Software provides source code information, open schematics provide vital information to engineers who may want to add functionality, external instruments or sensors, or assist the company in debugging problems, ultimately creating a better product for the entire mobile community. GPS Schematics Available Most recently, u-blox AG, Switzerland, maker of the GPS chip in the Openmoko phones, endorsed Openmoko's publishing the complete schematics for the GPS chip in the Neo FreeRunner phones. The schematics now document how the GPS chip is wired into the system, providing vital information for developers who want to leverage the GPS functionality for new designs involving the Openmoko phones. "We fully support Openmoko's decision to publish the schematics of the u-blox GPS receivers," said u-blox CEO, Thomas Seiler. "It is vitally important that developers have access to this data and it improves product quality. Going forward we think that more manufactures and more consumers will demand open architecture products with optimum performance." "Why should industry be afraid of opening up its design?" asked Openmoko CEO, Sean Moss-Pultz. "Schematics are simply another form of documentation and vital to future success, service and satisfaction in the market. We believe our products would be incomplete without them." "One of the freedoms we value the most is the freedom to explore. To fully understand the details of complex systems, to adapt and enhance them," said Openmoko Architect, Werner Almesberger. "We now take our commitment to openness to the next level by releasing our schematics to the public, allowing anyone to find out how the system works and how to improve it." The release of the schematics will covered under a Creative Commons license and files will be posted in due course on openmoko.com and openmoko.org Openmoko will show the Neo FreeRunner at LinuxWorld Expo, Moscone Center, San Francisco August 5-7 at booth 1625 and at the LinuxWorld Garage 1234. The Openmoko Neo FreeRunner has been selected as a finalist the LinuxWorld Product Excellence Awards, to be presented at LinuxWorld Conference & Expo(R) this week in San Francisco. Judged by a group of respected industry experts managed by LinuxWorld.com, the LinuxWorld Product Excellence Awards recognize product and service innovations by LinuxWorld(R) and NGDC exhibitors in 12 different categories. Open Mobile Free Openmoko frees developers from constraints of closed mobile architectures so they can apply the power of mobility and a flexible development platform to create mobile applications for specialized markets. Using the Openmoko mobile platform, the Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) community and developers can create unique versions of the FreeRunner phone, modifying the way the phone operates and even the way it looks. CAD files publicly available under a Creative Commons license make it easy for industrial designers to change the appearance of the Openmoko Neo FreeRunner and select alternate materials and finishes to tailor the phone's look and feel. Distributors in the EU have already received shipments of the Openmoko Neo FreeRunner. Pricing and availability The Openmoko Neo FreeRunner has a suggested retail price of $399. Openmoko will restock and sell the phone directly from it its webshop http://www.Openmoko.com and via distributors in the EU, India and North America. About Openmoko Openmoko is the commercial and community driven effort with a mission to create open mobile products that empower developers and consumers to personalize their devices, much like a computer, in any way they see fit. Openmoko is dedicated to helping innovators bring freedom and flexibility to consumer electronics and vertical market devices. For the latest information about Openmoko, visit http://www.Openmoko.com.