Last night I went along to the Canberra Linux User Group meeting and saw a FIC Neo1973 running OpenMoko. I got to touch it, play with it, listen to it, drool at it, and the end result was basically a mixture of raw excitement and desire.
Not long ago I first heard about OpenMoko and liked the concept. The Phase 1 phones (still in the development stage) were released in July and Dr Shayne Flint had his here in Canberra by early August.
There are some remarkable differences between the Neo1973 (shown on the left) and the Iphone (click on image to enlarge). The Neo1973 has a full vga display of 640×480 pixels, which is twice the Iphone’s 320×480. It also has an SD slot for expandable storage, which the Iphone does not. Although not in the Phase 1 development version, the user version of the Neo1973 will have a GPS built in (yet to come for the Iphone). The Iphone has an accelerometer which allows the screen to automatically switch between portrait and landscape modes depending on how it is being held. The user Neo1973 will have two accelerometers, allowing game action like the Wii.
But the best difference is that while opening up the Iphone voids the warranty, the Neo1973 comes with a screwdriver!
As Dr Flint discussed at the CLUG meeting last night, the fully free (as in freedom) phone is driving innovation into a frenzy. Imagine being able to call a taxi simply by browsing OpenStreetMap and clicking on the screen where you want to go. The phone’s GPS knows where you are, and sends the appropriate information to the taxi service. One-click call-a-cab!
Or what about having your phone automatically switch to silent mode when it knows you are in or near a library or lecture theatre. How about having it remotely disabled by you when you loose it? Even better – get it to tell you where it is!
Everything that you thought was Sci-Fi will be one step closer to reality when the Neo1973 lands OpenMoko in userland a few months from now. Are you ready?