Linux phone to call in down under

Community effort trumps multinationals

Multinational mobile handset makers may be dabbling with Linux-powered phones for Asia and the US, but the Australian market has been largely ignored, that is until OpenMoko arrives later this year.

The brainchild of Sean Moss-Pultz, OpenMoko is a Linux-based mobile phone operating system which allows open application development, in contrast to the proprietary nature of many of today's mobile handsets.

The first phone to ship with OpenMoko will be the Neo1973 by Taiwanese manufacturer First International Computer (FIC).

Worldwide sales of the Neo1973 will begin from the e-commerce site in March for $US350. Moss-Pultz assured Computerworld the device can be purchased by Australians.

In addition to global sales directly from OpenMoko, the company is in discussions with local mobile carriers for possible resale agreements.

When asked if OpenMoko has had interest from Australia's mobile operators, including the big names like Telstra, Optus, Vodafone, and Virgin Mobile, Moss-Pultz said "quite a bit".

"We're talking with the big ones now," he said, but could not elaborate on which carriers, only saying "right now, no. It's all under NDA."

Only time will tell Australian consumers will get the option of buying a non-proprietary phone from their local Telstra or Optus reseller.

The OpenMoko release cycle will be divided into three "phases" which will repeat annually.

The first phase will be the developer preview in early February when free phones will be given to selected members of the developer community. The full source code to the OpenMoko Linux distribution will also become publicly available, and the Web site will go live.

In March the next phase will begin with the official developer launch and the Neo1973 will be sold worldwide directly from In September, the third phase will be the mass market sale where the Neo1973 will be available in a retail stores and selected carriers around the world.

The second generation OpenMoko device will also be introduced at the third phase.

The device itself features a 2.8 inch VGA TFT touch screen, a Samsung 266MHz chip, Global Locate GPS, USB 1.1, microSD slot, 128MB SDRAM, 64MB flash, and Bluetooth 2.0.

Recharging via USB is also supported.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Rodney Gedda

Show Comments

Cool Tech

D-Link TAIPAN AC3200 Ultra Wi-Fi Modem Router (DSL-4320L)

Learn more >

ASUS ROG Swift PG279Q – Reign beyond virtual world

Learn more >

D-Link PowerLine AV2 2000 Gigabit Network Kit

Learn more >

Crucial® BX200 SATA 2.5” 7mm (with 9.5mm adapter) Internal Solid State Drive

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Gadgets & Things

Lexar Professional 2000x SDHC™/SDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >


Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Family Friendly

ASUS VivoPC VM62 - Incredibly Powerful, Unbelievably Small

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Lexar Professional 2000x SDHC™/SDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Lexar Professional 2000x SDHC™/SDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Best Deals on PC World

Latest News Articles


GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy


First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni


For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell


The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi


The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott


My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.


Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?