$350 open Linux mobile phone on target for September launch

The world's first open source mobile phone will be available this September priced at $350, its developers have confirmed. The FIC Neo1973's final printed circuit board design is complete, said OpenMoko staff at the Computex trade show in Taipei, Taiwan, today.

The touch screen 2.5g phone offers WiFi and GPS. CPU and memory are both being improved or expanded from earlier specifications, said William Lai of OpenMoko's community development department. “Early users and the development community have asked us for more power”, he explained.

OpenMoko is a subsidiary of electronics manufacturer, First International Computer (FIC), which itself is a division of the giant Formosa Plastics Group.

Touch screen needs work

FIC_OpenMoko_NEO1973_boots_Linux Like Apple's iPhone, the Neo1973 is controlled entirely by its touch screen. However, given the importance of the touch interface, this is a key area still in need of improvement prior to launch, OpenMoko staff admitted.

In a brief hands on test at Computex, the touch screen proved difficult to use, responding consistently only when tapped or scaped with a fingernail, and often ignoring input with the wider area of the fingertip. The device can also be operated more easily with a supplied stylus, staff said, but the phone does not have a clip or docking bay to hold this.

More open phones on the way

The OpenMoko platform will eventually run on a wide range of phones, and later models are already in development, staff said.

OpenMoko is talking to several mobile carriers in Europe and elsewhere who are interested in offering the phone to their customers, Lai said. The company expects to announce partnerships later this year. The open source platform can help carriers offer a wider range of software without heavy development costs, he said.

Open platform

The phone is based on an almost totally open software platform, with full hardware access. Only the inner workings of the GSM and GPRS module are off-limits, for intellectual property protection reasons, and to avoid radio frequency regulatory problems or interference with mobile carriers' operations.

Despite the openness of the design, FIC and OpenMoko are not concerned about imitators cloning the hardware and selling a cheaper version with the same open source software. “We don't see that happening any time soon, because phone design is really hard,” Lai said, “it's not like cloning a PC”.


Can't Wait

This is the phone I have been following and waiting for for the past six months. Lets see $499-699 for an iphone with no removable battery, no extra memory (how many megs of songs on your ipod), no added software possibilities and a two year Cingular contract or an OPENMOKO phone with potentially thousands of software possibilties, Full PDA, Internet, Firefox browser, and music capabilities for use anywhere in the world with any GSM service (USA T-mobil, Cingular and others)$350. Let me think about that.........

Touchscreen is better (multitouch) on i-phone and speed of connection (EDGE) is a slight increase (although NEO hardware with OPENMOKO software may work faster) but I don't see that as an inducement to spend that amount more for the iphone.

With OPENMOKO (Linux) OS this phone is not limited by i-tunes and the community will quickly supply multiple programs to expand the pallet. Imagine having a program that automatically reads the GPS and puts phone in vibrate mode when you go into a restaurant or theater or turns on message to call you at home or in the office when you are there. Very possible with OPENMOKO but with iphone would have to wait on the gods of Apple.

Hope my sick palm doesn't die before I can get my hands on the NEO.

PS the picture of the phone does not do it justice. this looks as if it was taken with a phone in bad light with poor focus. The screen really looks much better than this. Please post a good picture.

Watch out for FIC's Linux Phones

The founder of this phone's developer, FIC, is the same Lady who founded HTC, the largest Windows Mobile Smartphone vendor. With her proven biz vision, deep pocket and determination, count on FIC to bring Linux Phones to the next billion users.

Formosa Plastics Group founder's daughters

Actually, according to Wikipedia, FIC was founded by Charlene Wang while HTC and Via were founded by Cher Wang.


I wish they'd come out with

I wish they'd come out with a CDMA version


>Touchscreen is better (multitouch)

Wasn't the original plan for this to be multitouch?

The iPhone's touch nav works great but I'm way disappointed with the supposed multitouch of the thing. It only uses it in pinching photos and maps. You can't press two keys at once or even delete two emails at once! People try to tell me that the swiping is because of multitouch but I call BS - that stuff has be available on tablet pcs for years.

does anyone know when this

does anyone know when this product will be availible in the US?


Is there any link to original post? Where did you read about september and price?

Open Source Mobile Phone

This is the "original post", I think

I mean this site spoke to Open Moko and this is what they said

Not everything on the net is a link-jack!

FIC Neo $350

FIC Neo $350 with free shipping.
email us to order.