The Neo1973 is the first mobile phone to be designed to run the open-source operating system OpenMoko. Officially launched to developers on Monday, it is to be made available after released its last year.
The touch-screen GSM phone, made by First International Computer, boasts Bluetooth 2.0, integrated assisted GPS, microSD-based expandable storage and a Samsung Electronics processor. For $300, applications developers can buy a base kit, including the phone and its standard accessories, while the advanced kit--a so-called "Hacker's Dream Box" costing $450--also includes a debug board and cable, tools and a ruggedized case.
In the so-called "mass market" phase of the Neo1973, a new version of the phone will go on sale in some retail stores later this year, adding 3D graphics acceleration, a beefed-up processor and 802.11b/g Wi-Fi to its specification list.
Mobile Linux is, with two industry groups--the LiMo Foundation and the LiPS Forum--banding together operators and manufacturers to . Some manufacturers, such as Motorola, already base the operating systems for some consumer handsets on Linux, but the mobile open-source movement has, however, been criticized by some for being too fragmented to be effective in the higher-end smart phone arena--the market being targeted by the Neo1973 and Greenphone.
David Meyer of ZDNet UK reported from London.