updated 11:05 am EDT, Wed July 2, 2008
OpenMoko Ships Friday
OpenMoko today said that it will start selling the Neo FreeRunner to the US on July 4th, marking its first phone release in the country. The touchscreen device is positioned as an unusual competitor to the iPhone whose strength is in its open access: based on a strictly open-source version of Linux, the device includes just the basic software for calling and SMS but is freely modifiable down to its core functions. Users can write or install apps that extend the phone's features without paying royalties.
Although the initial software is limited, OpenMoko gives the FreeRunner hardware that can take advantage of future code from either OpenMoko or outside developers, including 802.11g Wi-Fi, assisted GPS, and an iPhone-like accelerometer that lets it respond to motion; 128MB of RAM lets it multitask, while 256MB of flash provides permanent storage.
Features will be added to the phone over time through software updates, OpenMoko promises, including an August update with location-based services.
The Neo FreeRunner will be priced at $399 in unlocked, tri-band GSM versions that support either 850MHz North American networks (including AT&T and T-Mobile) as well as 900MHz networks in Europe and elsewhere. Sales take place both through the company's website on Friday and will see the handset show up at a handful of early resellers on July 7th.