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It’s a Yankee Doodle Linux phone

Jul 2, 2008 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 5 views

OpenMoko will start selling its Linux-based Neo FreeRunner phone online on July 4th, says the company. Billed as a completely open source, hackable hardware platform, the Neo FreeRunner will receive updated software with new location-based applications in August, says OpenMoko.

(Click for larger view of the Neo FreeRunner)

The availability announcement comes a week after OpenMoko announced that it had started shipping the Neo Freerunner to five newly announced distributors, in Germany, France, and India. The timing of the online availability appears to reinforce OpenMoko's message that the open-design phone offers developers and users greater freedom to customize.

Two views of the Neo FreeRunner
(Click any to enlarge)

The shipping specs appear to be identical to those that were originally announced back in January, with two exceptions: The ARM9 Samsung processor is clocked to only 400MHz instead of 500MHz, and the screen is now a considerably smaller 2.8-inch size instead of the prototype's 4.3-inch display.

Neo FreeRunner next to DBoard debug board

The updated spec list for the Neo FreeRunner includes:

  • Processor — Samsung S3C2442 400MHz (ARM9 core)
  • RAM — 128MB WSDRAM
  • Flash — 256MB NAND
  • Display — 2.8-inch diagonal 640 x 480 VGA Color TFT LCD
  • Graphics — SMedia 3362-based 3D graphics acceleration
  • MicroSD — 1 x microSD slot
  • USB — 1 x version 1.1 (with cable)
  • Cellular — 2.5G tri-band GPRS/GSM (900MHz or 850MHz)
  • WiFi — 802.11b/g WiFi
  • Bluetooth — version 2.0
  • GPS — AGPS (assisted global positioning system) receiver
  • Accelerometers — 2 x 3D accelerometers
  • Other features — “high-quality” audio codec; laser stylus pen; optional DBoard debug board
  • Dimensions — 4.75 x 2.44 x 0.73 inches
  • Weight — 6.5 oz (185 grams)
  • Power — removable 1200 mAh battery' AC and travel adapters
  • Operating system — GNU Linux

The Neo FreeRunner is an updated version of Openmoko's earlier Neo 1973. As with the Neo 1973, which shipped last Fall, the Freerunner enables users to install and run new operating system firmware, for example in order to add native Linux software applications.

As with the 1973 model, OpenMoko has published CAD files for the Freerunner. That “open source hardware” approach resulted in the design being adapted for use in Dash Navigation's Dash Express in-car navigation device. OpenMoko phones have proven to be popular development platforms for projects such as the Debian-based We-phone. The company will even offer a “DBoard” with serial and JTAG ports soldered onboard.

optional DBoard debug board

Neo FreeRunner interface


Orders can be made for the $400 Neo FreeRunner on OpenMoko's website on July 4th, with shipments to customers commencing on July 7th, says OpenMoko.

The company will demonstrate the new FreeRunner applications suite at LinuxWorld Expo in San Francisco, on August 5-7, it said. Openmoko will be located at booth 1234 in the Moscone Center North Hall.

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