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Openmoko Neo Freerunner

26th June 2008

 Openmoko Neo Freerunner

The Openmoko Neo Freerunner is the production version of the Neo 1973 that was announced last year. Designed from the outset to be modified, in both software and hardware, the Neo Freerunner takes a very different approach to phone design from most other handsets.

 Openmoko Neo CAD Sitting somewhere between a traditional smartphone and a Nokia Internet tablet, the Neo Freerunner is a Linux-based handset with a 2.8" 480 x 640 pixel touchscreen, Bluetooth, WiFi and built-in GPS. The Neo Freerunner has a USB port, SD memory card slot, plus a built-in 3D accelerometer which can sense the orientation of the device. Underneath is a 400 MHz Samsung 2442B processor with 128MB RAM.

The operating system is designed to be customised, or if you want you can completely rewrite it. Many developers will be interested in porting other Linux-based applications over to it, and we should imagine that ordinary end users will be able to find a variety of software from the Openmoko.org site if the platform catches on.

 Openmoko Neo Debug What's more, you can take the hardware apart and modify it by tinkering with the board, and Openmoko also supply CAD files to help you build your own case or special mounts for the Neo Freerunner. So, you could integrate the Freerunner into an industrial control system, a retail environment, monitoring systems, vehicle tracking or just about anything else you can think of. An optional debug board is also available to help developers create custom applications.

It isn't just for developers - the Openmoko Neo Freerunner seems to have all the usual features that you'd expect in a smartphone, and the VGA resolution screen looks like one of the best on the market.

There are a couple of drawbacks with the device - the main one is that this is only a tri-band GSM handset supporting GPRS data, not EDGE and certainly not 3G. This means that network access will be slow if you are not using WiFi. There's no camera (probably not a big issue for most users), and it is quite large at 121 x 61 x 19mm and 185 grams.

This kind of thing isn't for everyone, but there does seem to be a surprising amount of interest in the Openmoko platform. The Neo Freerunner should be available in selected retail outlets very soon for around $400 plus tax. You can find more information at the Openmoko website.

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Openmoko Neo Freerunner


Q3 2008


GSM 850 / 1800 / 1900 (US)
GSM 900 / 1800 / 1900 (World)




480 x 640 pixels, 65k colours




PDA-style device
121 x 62 x 19mm / 185 grams



Memory card:










Battery life:

Approx 4 hours talk / 6 days standby


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