Sunday, March 23, 2008

SSC #58 OpenMoko - The Open Source phone.

Nowadays just about everyone carries a cell-phone. And why not? You can buy them anywhere, they are practically a step away from putting them in cereal boxes.
Perhaps you have a good monthly plan, and a nice phone... Or perhaps you just keep a cheap prepaid phone in the glove-box for emergencies. They are virtually everywhere. So much in fact that they have pretty much put an end to public payphones.
Today I would like to tell you about a phone that you're likely going to own some day. Its called the OpenMoko and it is the world's first open-source phone.
Everything about the OpenMoko phone (called the Neo Freerunner) is open for everyone to see. The phone runs on a very slimmed down version of Linux, so you know that's completely open source and will have lots of features, but what's more the hardware specifications have been open to the public since the beginning of its inception. And just recently, OpenMoko has released the CAD/engineering files for the case. What this essentially means is that anyone who wants to build an OpenMoko phone and who has the capability, can feel free to do so without fear of legal reprisals.
And what THIS essentially means is that they will be very very very cheap! Maybe not at first, so if you're an early adopter, be prepared to pay through the nose, but eventually they will become a gold standard for cellphone technology that will be manufactured by multiple companies around the world. You might not get a Neo Freerunner, but chances are, since anyone can make them, eventually, you'll own a phone with OpenMoko technology inside of it.
Keep in mind that when I say cheap, I do not mean "basic". The Neo Freerunner (due out later this year) will have enough processing power to play music and full motion video like an Ipod or Zune, has a touch-screen interface for easy navigation, has built in WiFi for instant messaging or talking on a web-based phone service, as well as your normal cellphone functions. What? You say that isn't enough? Well how about a free GPS system that links directly to the satellites (instead of your cellphone carrier for a monthly fee) and a built in accelerometer that lets the phone know when it is in freefall so it can prepare for impact?
Perhaps you don't like its shape... rest assured, the open source CAD files will ensure that companies will put them out in all shapes, colors, and sizes. And it will have more accessories than you could ever dream possible.
OpenMoko is a promise of coming freedom, and a much needed breath of fresh air amidst companies vying for control over you and me.

Needless to say, I want one really really bad!

Added to the open-source beer called FreeBeer, the open-source softdrink called OpenCola, and the open-source car, I think the open-source movement just hit a grand slam.

Hey folks, keep in mind that I'm here to answer your technical questions. If you're having trouble with your computer, feel free to write to me at the email address below and I'll do my best to help you solve it. Who knows? It may even get printed in here!

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