FIC/OpenMoko Neo v1 July 9, v2 October

I’ve been watching this phone like a hawk for some time, because it’s open standards across the board; i.e. both the software and hardware are – generally speaking – open.

This might not solve the horrendous problems mobile power users have to deal with overnight – proprietary connectors, proprietary synchronisation, etc – but in time it might just provoke the Symbians and the Nokias of this world to pull their heads out of their asses and realise that, really, proprietary is a dirty word; and that there’s plenty of money to be made out of compatibility. And, you know, happy customers.

There was always a slight worry that this might be another Optimus Maximus, but it looks now like that might not be the case, as the developers tell us that 400 first generation handsets are ready to ship in China, and another 600 are on the way. The price seems a bit cheeky at $300, and we don’t have much of a spec to go on, but remember this is a SIM-free Linux-based phone. The possibilities are endless.

That’s the first generation phone though, the next generation is slated for October and that currently has a price tag of €450. Ok, it’ll have 802.11b/g WiFi and upgraded hardware, but there’s no mention of a 3G radio – the 1st gen is 2.5G – and again, we still don’t know what the final OS will look like. I’m not sure I’m going to want to lash out that kind of money, after just spending a hefty whack of dosh on a Treo 680.

Hopefully they’ll spot this nasty hole in their spec before the 2nd gen handset is finalised, and I’ll be watching OpenMoko’s YouTube channel for a half-decent video of the handset in the meantime. Hopefully it’ll be pornographic enough for me to be naughty and actually buy one. And hopefully, fingers crossed, it won’t be another Sharp Zaurus.

FIC Neo

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