July 9, 2007 7:33 AM PDT

Second open Linux phone goes on sale

Another fully open-source-based phone went on sale on Monday, offering developers the chance to build their own mobile Linux applications.

The Neo1973 is the first mobile phone to be designed to run the open-source operating system OpenMoko. Officially launched to developers on Monday, it is the second fully accessible Linux phone to be made available after Trolltech released its Greenphone last year.

The touch-screen GSM phone, made by First International Computer, boasts Bluetooth 2.0, integrated assisted GPS, microSD-based expandable storage and a Samsung Electronics processor. For $300, applications developers can buy a base kit, including the phone and its standard accessories, while the advanced kit--a so-called "Hacker's Dream Box" costing $450--also includes a debug board and cable, tools and a ruggedized case.

Neo1973 Linux phone

In the so-called "mass market" phase of the Neo1973, a new version of the phone will go on sale in some retail stores later this year, adding 3D graphics acceleration, a beefed-up processor and 802.11b/g Wi-Fi to its specification list.

Mobile Linux is slowly gaining traction, with two industry groups--the LiMo Foundation and the LiPS Forum--banding together operators and manufacturers to organize standards. Some manufacturers, such as Motorola, already base the operating systems for some consumer handsets on Linux, but the mobile open-source movement has, however, been criticized by some for being too fragmented to be effective in the higher-end smart phone arena--the market being targeted by the Neo1973 and Greenphone.

David Meyer of ZDNet UK reported from London.

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2 comments

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MotoMing - another Linux-based, freed phone
If you want a great, small Linux-based consumer PDA-phone that available now, there's the Motorola A1200r (aka the Moto Ming). I've been using it for a few months now and it's a good replacement for my old Treo. The nice thing about this phone is that the UI is very polished and it's open source.
Posted by Bong Dizon (17 comments )
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Nice looking phone
Maybe it'll give the iPhone a run for it's money. I will say it's strange how if you go to FICs main website, they don't appear to have anything about it there. There is plenty at the OpenMoko website.

Charles R. Whealton
Charles Whealton @ pleasedontspam.com
Posted by chuck_whealton (521 comments )
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