OpenMoko's Neo 1973 Open-Source Smartphone Ships In October at $450 to $600

Illustration for article titled OpenMoko's Neo 1973 Open-Source Smartphone Ships In October at $450 to $600

With all of the hullabaloo last week surround the iPhone, we nearly missed an update on the anti-iPhone, the world's first open-sourced Linux mobile phone known as the FIC/OpenMoko Neo 1973. The phone has more internal flash memory and integrated Wi-Fi. It will be ready for customers in October, available in $450 and $600 configs (a bit higher than the $350 we quoted you in February). On July 9th, 1,000 development kits will be comin' straight outta China, with more on the way. The hardware specs have been jacked up, too.


The unlocked GSM phone Neo 1973 will be sold on the mass market with the model number GTA02. It will be $450 for the Neo Base and $600 for Neo Advanced.

Here are the original specs:

• 120.7 x 62 x 18.5 (mm)

• 2.8" VGA (480x640) TFT Screen

• Samsung s3c2410 SoC @ 266 MHz

• Global Locate AGPS chip

• Ti GPRS (2.5G not EDGE)

• Unpowered USB 1.1

• Touchscreen

• MicroSD slot

• 2.5mm audio jack

• 2 additional buttons

• 1200 mAh battery (charged over USB)

• 128 MB SDRAM

• 64 MB NAND Flash

• Bluetooth (2.0)

The update includes b/g Wi-Fi, 2 3D acceleromters, a SMedia 3362 G graphics accelerator ad four times the internal NAND flash (256MB). The processor has been jacked up to a Samsung 2442 @ 400MHz SoC.

Developers can buy in early, starting July 9. Here's what you get with each dev kit:

Neo Base ($300) — everything the mobile application developer needs to enjoy the benefits of the first freed phone, the Neo 1973:

• Neo 1973 (GTA01B_v4)

• Battery

• Stylus

• Headset• AC Charger

• Phone Pouch

• Lanyard

• SanDisk 512MB MicroSD Card

• Mini USB Connectivity Cable


Neo Advanced ($450) — everything the mobile device hacker wants to get down and dirty with the first freed phone, the Neo 1973:

• Neo 1973 (GTA01B_v4)

• Battery (2x)

• Stylus

• Headset

• AC Charger

• Phone Pouch

• Lanyard• SanDisk 512MB MicroSD Card (2x)

• Mini USB Connectivity Cable (2x)

• USB Host Mode Cable

• Debug Flex Cable

• Debug Board v2 (JTAG and serial console)• Ruggedized Toolbox with shoulder strap

• Guitar Pick (for opening case)

• Torx T6 screwdriver

And as promised, OpenMoko is planning three additional devices for next year. In the meantime, the goal is to turn the Neo into "mass marketable device that proves, once and for all, the power of an open phone." Hear that, Apple?


Product Page [OpenMoko]



Ok, I have stuff to get off my chest. First of, let me say that I am not an Apple fanboy. Neither am I a Zune fanboy, nor Sony nor Creative nor any sort of fanboy whatsoever. I think that any "fanboyism" is just stupid. I judge a product on its merits, not by who makes it or what it represents.

Having said that, I really like the iPhone. I love the interface, I love the design, I love the size and weight. However, it has plenty of flaws as well, chief among them being that it's a closed platform. I enjoy products that have vibrant user communities, that's why I bought a Neuros OSD and why I eventually decided the iPhone wasn't the right phone for me.

So, this Neo1973 looks really interesting to me. Even though I'm a big fan of sexy industrial design and this thing is ugly as all get out, a good featureset goes a long way. However, this thing has some major flaws too.

1) GPRS. Are you freaking kidding me?! Completely useless. No, seriously, you can barely check email on a text-only WAP page.

2) No keyboard. Not only that, but it probably won't even have "corrective typing". So we'll be reduced to pecking at a tiny screen keyboard with a stylus. Or worse yet, since there is no holder for the stylus, most of the time you will be fat-fingering the keyboard.

3) No memory. 256MB? Come on. Sure, it has a microSD slot, but 2GB will cost you $40, raising the total cost.

4) $450 for a base production version?! And if you get a 2GB flash card, that brings it to almost $500. The same price as the 4GB iPhone. Yeah, the same iPhone that everyone is complaining is ridiculously overpriced but with half the memory.

So, my rant is this... why is no one whining about all the flaws in this thing? Not that I think it sucks, it looks pretty nice overall. But all you people who are super excited about this thing are the same ones who are on all the iPhone posts saying "iPhone sucks" and "Apple fanboys are idiots and mindless sheep" and breaking down every single minute flaw about the iPhone.

The three main arguments people have against the iPhone are no keyboard/too expensive/no 3rd party software. The Neo 1973 retains two of these critical flaws and yet no one here says a thing.

So that's all I have to say. I'm tired of iPhone-haters taking the moral high-ground while they're drinking the Kool Aid just as much as the Apple fanboys.