Linux phone to (finally) call down under

Develop apps with familiar desktop tools

Linux nuts longing for a mobile phone that runs their favourite open source operating system needn't wait much longer with the much-delayed OpenMoko Neo FreeRunner to be available for purchase this month.

A Computerworld report last year anticipated the OpenMoko would be available towards the end of 2007, but a production delay ended that hope.

This time it's for real with the second-generation Neo FreeRunner scheduled to go on sale on OpenMoko's online store from the second week of July, according to the project's founder Sean Moss-Pultz.

Moss-Pultz told TechWorld when the store opens it will ship orders to Australia, but there will be an additional shipping expense.

No indication of shipping expense has been provided by OpenMoko.

The phone will retail for $US399, and at today's exchange rate Aussies can expect to pay around $A415. Yay for a strong Aussie dollar!

Moss-Pultz said there are no resellers "in your part of the world yet", but "I know we have many people using the Neo from Australia".

Australia's three main GSM networks are operated by SingTel Optus, Telstra and Vodafone and operate in the 900/1800MHz spectrum.

"Your network should be fine," he said. "Make sure you buy the Neo in the 900MHz variant."

The Neo is an open source phone, including the mobile Linux platform and application software, and as such is sold "unlocked" and can be used with any 900MHz GSM network.

Since the first-generation Neo 1973, the mass-production Neo FreeRunner has had its hardware improved and now sports the following specs.

Size and weight
- 4.75 x 2.44 x 0.73 inches
- 6.5 ounces (185 grams)

CPU and display
- ARM9 @ 400MHz
- 2.8" VGA (480x640) touch screen
- 2D/3D graphics acceleration

Power
- Removable 1200 mAh battery

Memory
- 128MB SDRAM
- 256MB NAND Flash
- microSD Slot

Input and output
- 2.5mm audio jack
- GPS external connector

Connectivity
- Tri band 900/1800/1900MHz GSM
- Wi-Fi (802.1 1b/g)
- AGPS
- GPRS (2.5G not EDGE)
- Bluetooth 2.0

The device also includes two 3axis motion sensors.

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Rodney Gedda

Techworld Australia

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