It’s been a while since I have last posted. In this time probably the most anticipated piece of hardware for this year has been released. You know what it is already. Yes, thats right the iPhone. I must say its a very nice consumer level phone. Will I buy one? Probably not.
I hear you ask.
Well the answer is simple. I believe there are phones that can better suit my purposes than the iPhone. Sure its cool and it maybe great for the average Joe who wants everything all of the trend setters have. But I can’t settle for that. Ever since the release fan boys have been drooling over it. I took a sneak peak into the Apple store after it was released to avoid the mayhem of the release and got to play with it. I thought wow, Apple has actually done a pretty good job here. I was quite happy and saddened at the same time.
In retaliation I had to get at least some ammo before I gave in against the fan boys, so I have been looking at all types of phones recently. Using, looking for and reviewing new gadgets is always fun. I found that most of the more advanced phones that are on the shelves at the major cell phone network stores (with a few exceptions), are Windows Mobile phones and I have some major problems with Windows Mobile Edition but thats another post in its self.
So what choices do I have if I am to upgrade to a new phone to crush the competitors?
I think for a couple of minutes about the potential uses for mobiles. Then I decide that it will have to be a phone that is stylish, flexible in what I can do with and it must also be free to develop for. I want this because I like and believe in the open source software community. I know that developers will create great source code and bleeding edge applications will be released. Free to develop for platforms will be more customizable for a specific purpose then any closed source software will ever be.
There are two phones that I have been recently been looking at in detail which would be good mobile phone candidates for my desired applications.
The Nokia E70 (http://www.nokiausa.com/E70)
I have not had a chance to use or review a E70 but from what I have read about it it seems like a nice little mobile communications device. The sad part is that the E70 doesn’t run Linux it actually runs Symbian OS v9.1. What I like about it is that its not too flashy which means it wont draw too much attention (unlike the iPhone). If I were to be in a dodgy area, I could probably still whip it out to make a quick call without getting shanked over a smart phone. It flips over and has a full split QWERTY keyboard and the screen sits in the middle. One of the more useful things to me is that it has a terminal so that I could in theory do practically anything I need to from it. The Symbian OS, has a development kit available and has some applications which have spawned from open applications (such as a SQL database which is based on an implementation of SQLite). This phone is packed with features.
One feature that stands out to me is bearer mobility. This will allow applications to seamlessly move from one carrier to another (for example, from 3G to WLAN), without having to re-initiate network connections. Since this little device requires little to no initial hacking to work I may consider it since it will basically allow me to show off Linux based applications with a terminal and for a modest 18 Euro’s for graphical applications a VNC Viewer can be used.
The OpenMoko (http://www.openmoko.com/)
All I have to say about this one is wow. I just found out about this yesterday and I don’t know how I went so long without hearing about it from some of my fellow Linux users. Especially with all the iPhone hype going on at the moment. I guess I got tied up in it. To me it looks better than the iPhone. It comes in two colors standard which I point out because you know Apple is going to release a pink, yellow, silver, blue, red and charge a premium for it They may over the years release som other ugly colors such as brown with green lights. Oh wait thats Microsoft (sorry to get off track of the important Linux Phone topic at hand).
The OpenMoko team make it a quite clear that they want people to hack it. They have made it easy for all types of developers and hackers. Open Source code, USB, bluetooth a JTAG port, serial console support, an I2C bus and easy solder contact pads make this device expandable in so many different ways. They even sell a kit which includes equipment needed to modify it.
I don’t think I can explain what potential the OpenMoko Linux based phone has. The many ways it could be used and the never ending possibilities of it blows my mind. In my eyes it can achieve virtually anything.
There you have it, the non Linux based E70 and the Linux based OpenMoko phones. Two cool and more capable out of the box alternatives to that one fashion accessory phone that everybody is raving about. What was the name of it again? I seem to have forgotten already.