Ever heard of OpenMoko’s Neo FreeRunner? I have, and I can’t think of any other handset that’s more open than this.
For starters, the Neo FreeRunner is an open-source Linux smartphone that’s going to ship only with basic software to take care of the basic things, which are storing contacts, making calls, and sending/ receiving text messages. And then what happens next is entirely up to the user.
A user can write, load, and run their own applications on the FreeRunner while waiting for future software updates that are going to add all the functionality that it so lacks in its initial release.
The Neo FreeRunner is so open, in fact, that you can even fashion your very own custom case for it by using the downloadable CAD designs provided by OpenMoko. Not a feature for the lazy folk, but notable nonetheless.
Of course, other than the “freedom” you’ll get from this phone when you purchase it, you’ll also be having semi-standard cellphone capabilities like EDGE network support, expandable memory via microSD cards, built-in Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, A-GPS, and even 3-axis motion sensors for automatic screen orientation. Think of it as an iPhone with reduced functionality. And reduced pricing too.
Starting Friday, the Neo FreeRunner will be on sale unlocked for $399. Not as cheap as most people would’ve liked, but it’s feature-packed anyway, so it’s hard to say it won’t be a good buy.
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