Myth Busting FTW

Daniel Eran danieleran at
Fri Aug 31 20:54:09 CEST 2007

Hi Mike,

On Aug 31, 2007, at 9:48 AM, Mike Hodson wrote:
> Permalink:
> Hello Dan, author of the RoughlyDrafted blog and to the OpenMoko
> community mailinglist as well.
> This is in regard to your recent blog post,
> As you write rather lengthy blog posts on your site, I feel compelled
> to give you an equally long rebuttal to a lot of fear, uncertainty and
> doubt regarding the OpenMoko platform, and FIC's Neo1973 phone.  Not
> to mention an entirely wrong opinion of how the technology behind
> mobile communications works.
> First, some questions. The simple ones first, and the more complex and
> in-depth ones towards the end.
> * Where did you get your totally wrong information about T-Mobile's  
> frequencies?

TMobile only owns 1900 MHz  transponders, which are high enough to be  
problematic. That means subscribers have to roam on AT&T to use 850  
MHz. TMobile also uses/plans to use a non-standard UMTS frequency with  
an even smaller market than AT&T's US version of UMTS. T-Mobile uses  
non-standard frequencies that only a quad band phone could use, and  
then only hitting on one cylinder out of four. I've been a T-Mobile  
customer for years, and experienced the problems of trying to use the  
phone I wanted on their network. It's not good, and that's why TMobile  
has ventured into WiFi VoIP, unlike any other US carrier.

> * Where on any official blogs/websites have you seen the OpenMoko team
> or FIC say that they were making an "iPhone killer" or "anti-iPhone?"

"Sean Moss-Pultz, architect of OpenMoko and product manager of First  
International Computer's mobile communication business unit, in an e- 
mail... Why buy a Neo rather than an iPhone? "While Apple delivers a  
polished experience, it's an experience that is exactly how you they  
want you to have it," said Moss-Pultz. "In other words, users really  
have no freedom to change the device if they don't like the way Apple  
chose to make things. OpenMoko is the anti-iPhone."
Linux-Based OpenMoko 'Anti-iPhone' Debuts -- iPhone -- InformationWeek

Do a google search on Anti iPhone, and the majority of responses are  
all about OpenMoko. That's the kind of phrase you can't retract after  
it's said, even if you realize it wasn't a good thing to say in  

> * What makes you think that these phones as designed by the OpenMoko
> team were initially meant to run windows mobile and that this phone
> was already some mass-produced Chinese-government-backed phone created
> and mass-produced before Sean Moss-Pultz had an idea, and a team of
> approximately 10 people working at FIC decided to create OpenMoko?

I linked to that source in the article. It also is unlikely that a ten  
person team is building its own supply line to accommodate a few  
hundred hobbyists. Are you saying that FIC's hardware is only designed  
to run OpenMoko?

> * What makes you think a newly established grass-roots effort is able
> to -INSTANTLY- be at the same level as companies who have been around
> for decades?  What makes you expect the exact same from a
> multi-billion dollar corporation and a 10 person strong start-up
> division of a company paired with an ad-hoc community effort?  How
> skewed is your view on what Apple and other manufacturers are trying
> to produce in comparison with what OpenMoko wishes to do?

I have no expectations. What I criticized what not your efforts to do  
something you wanted to do (good for you, really), but rather the anti- 
iphone rhetoric and the comments in the OpenMoko FAQ that I quoted,  
which pitted the phone against the iPhone, saying "the FIC Neo1973 is  
'fairly similar' to Apple's iPhone." To anyone who hasn't looked at  
the details, this gives the impression that FIC's phone is  
competitive. It is not. I also pointed out that FIC promised the phone  
back in March, raised the price, then delayed it for months. It  
doesn't matter how small your group is, if you target a goal and can't  
make it, and then say you're doing about the same as Apple, well, you  
may get called on those claims.

> Now I have a lot of facts.
> First and foremost, you are absolutely wrong in your claim that
> T-Mobile uses "non-standard frequencies". I am simply amazed how you
> would brazenly make this claim.
> Please make note of these FCC documents to understand how mobile
> frequencies are assigned today:
> and
> ; also make note that if you see "GSM850" and "800MHz" these
> correspond to the same frequency allocations: 850 is just a better
> term because the frequencies used from 800-900mhz are clustered in the
> middle of this range.
> T-Mobile owns and uses, and has used for the past decade, their
> allocation of the 1900MHz frequency band in each market they cover,
> nationwide.  AT&T digital service back in the late 1990s, when analog
> was the standard technology, also started out in the same 1900MHz
> band, along with a slew of new competition from companies who could
> previously not get past the duopoly imposed by the 800MHz frequency
> band nationwide.  There can be only 2 separate carriers on the 800MHz
> band- thats how analog was set up in 1981.
> Fact: T-Mobile, today, uses the same frequencies they did in 1997 when
> they started as Voicestream, which is in the same 1900MHz band as AT&T
> in a lot of markets.
> In the markets where AT&T does not own a 1900MHz frequency allocation,
> although uncommon, they often do own both of the 800Mhz blocks.  This
> is due to companies that formed Cingular, and AT&T themselves each
> owning one in that area before they merged.  The Cingular/AT&T merger
> makes AT&T advantageous in nearly all markets, as they have often
> combined their own frequency allocations of 1 or 2 blocks, and their
> competition's of 1 or 2 blocks.
> To compare possibilities, AT&T has anywhere between 25MHz of spectrum
> (1 cellular block only, rare as most markets have 2+ blocks in use
> today) and a theoretical maximum of 110mhz total of spectrum(2
> cellular + 2 large 30MHz PCS A/B blocks).  In most markets T-Mobile
> has to fit in between 10 to 30MHz of spectrum. Total. This gives them
> enough for voice, but not any expandability.  This alone does not make
> them unsuited for the OpenMoko, but it is a severe competitive
> disadvantage for T-Mobile.
> AT&T currently owns a lot more spectrum, and therefore in many markets
> is able to provide these 3G/UMTS services where they have more than
> adequate space left for normal GSM traffic.  And, as soon as they
> completely shut off analog and TDMA the extra GSM/3G space will only
> increase from there.
> Now, you can clearly see the disparity between AT&T and T-Mobile, and
> this is why T-Mobile bid in the 2006 AWS frequency auctions and won
> allocations in the 1700MHz band to provide 3G/UMTS services.
> Did you somehow get GSM mixed up with 3G when you were writing?
> Fact: The Neo1973 is a Quad-Band, worldwide GSM handset. (850Mhz(usa),
> 900MHz & 1800MHz(worldwide) and 1900MHz(usa))
> Fact: GSM is a worldwide standard, available in nearly every country
> on the planet.  The OpenMoko can work just about everywhere. (Japan
> and South Korea not withstanding)
> Fact: GSM1900 in the USA is the same for both AT&T and T-Mobile, and
> will not go away any time soon.
> Fact: Both the current iPhone and Neo1973 are still based on GSM  
> technology.
> While the iPhone has EDGE already for moderately faster data, this may
> come in the near future with the Neo.  Similarly, if Apple really
> wants to get their iPhone out worldwide, they will have to think about
> 3G/UMTS for Europe, and CDMA for South Korea and Japan.  As of now,
> because Japanese operators use 3G and CDMA exclusively, no GSM roaming
> is possible there- with either the iPhone or the Neo1973.  FIC and the
> OpenMoko team are also thinking about this same dilemma, and only the
> future will show what will come.

Japan's FOMA is mostly compatible with European UMTS, suggesting that  
Apple might release a UMTS world phone.

> Fact: the iPhone, in its current state, is unable to make use of the
> nearly 20-25x faster 3G-HSDPA download speeds AT&T offers in many
> markets. (Current HSDPA speeds are 3.6megabit, later up to 7.2mbit;
> EDGE maxes out in the upper hundreds of kilobits or about 0.15megabit)
> This makes its promise of "full web browsing" just that much less of
> a reality.

WiFi is also useful.

> Second, "Anti-iPhone" and "iPhone Killer" are MEDIA CONJURED TERMS.
> Nowhere have the company (FIC) or the core developers of OpenMoko used
> that term.  But, as soon as the media and public at large got wind of
> a phone, based on a full face touch screen, and that it was Linux,
> their brains started going haywire to find the "killer buzzword" to
> sensationalize their stories.  Perhaps you may be mistaking the
> COMMUNITY with the actual team behind OpenMoko.  Any member of the
> community is able to say what they wish, and to drum up support
> whatever way they want.  The First Amendment to the US Constitution
> and the openness of communication on the Internet makes this possible.
> Fact: The core team and company have NOT used this term.  You only
> help propagate this myth.  Please stop.

It would appear you are wrong about this, but I understand your point.

> Third: You claim that the "company is a knockoff hardware cloner
> infatuated with Microsoft" and is re-using some mythical Chinese
> government backed phone that was pre-made before they even got the
> idea.
> Incorrect.

I'm sure you don't like this article, but are you saying it was faked?  
Or have you simply changed what you want to be said? Seems like your  
problem is with FIC saying too much:

Moss-Pultz worked for FIC in Taiwan for two years, before founding the  
Neo1973 project in January. He said. "I was able to convince FIC that  
having an open phone makes financial sense for us. Some big company's  
got to stick their neck out there and say we believe in this, and  
we're going to do it."

Consistent with FIC's dual-OS support policy on computing products,  
the Neo1973 can also run Windows Mobile. In fact, the phone was co- 
designed by the Chinese government, for a high-volume Windows-based  
PHS ("Personal Handy Phone") product. FIC has the capacity to ship  
100,000 of the phones per month, Moss-Pultz said, explaining its low  

Cheap, hackable Linux smartphone due soon

> And what about the hardware the phone was designed from?  It isn't
> terribly different from the other smartphone hardware, but only
> because most phones, contrary to your belief, are based from a common
> core: the ARM Processor.  Linux has run on ARM for years.  Almost all
> mobile phones currently are ARM based, not just smartphones.  The
> architecture is the same, but the peripheral hardware is somewhat
> different.  All thats needed then, are device drivers to make it work.

I don't know why you're trying to contradict me on phones being ARM  
based, as I never said any weren't. I've noted that the majority of  
all devices are ARM based.

> This is FAR from your claim of being "merely a version of Linux
> designed to run on a specific vendor's proprietary implementation of
> Windows Mobile."  Your misinformation makes it seem like Linux is
> being forced to run AT THE SAME TIME as Windows Mobile, which this
> phone WAS NOT designed to ever use.  The Windows Mobile reference
> platform is simply a hardware spec, akin to "Centrino" for laptops.
> The laptop does not care what it runs, although monopolistic licensing
> deals give Microsoft more money any time a device is sold preinstalled
> with Windows.

I don't think anyone would reasonably get the impression that FIC's  
phone requires Windows to run Linux. What I said was that it is like  
going to Dell to get a Windows PC to run Linux; it's supporting  
Microsoft, not "taking the company on."

> And in that sense, the Neo1973 hardware was NEVER based on any
> preexisting platform; it rather was assembled from the same parts a
> variety of phones are made from currently, all based on off-the-shelf
> components.  The design was custom and members from the core OpenMoko
> team lead the development.  Surely this was a cost-effective way to
> build what has undoubtedly become the first of a long line of OpenMoko
> devices, phones among other things.  Apple based their iPhone on some
> rather new custom hardware, adding of course to the expense of R&D,
> testing, debugging, coding, and everythig else.

Not according the the team lead at FIC.

> While most smartphone devices nowadays are based upon Windows Mobile,
> they in fact are not terribly different than those running Palm OS, or
> even phones using proprietary RTOS systems running on these ARM cpus.
> How do you think that OpenMoko has been hacked to run on to port to
> the Palm Tungsten, a Palm 650 phone, and a couple of HTC smartphones?
> Because the base hardware nowadays truly is not terribly different.

Well Palm Treos are built by HTC. They are essentially Windows Mobile  
phones now. I see your point, but I don't see how I've misrepresented  
anything, since it was based on comments from FIC.

> As for FIC, do you even know who First International Computer is?
> Perhaps this may enlighten you.  FIC have historically been a
> multi-national-trading OEM/ODM company building computers, consumer
> electronics and communications equipment for companies who have
> designed them.
> (What are these?
> and
> .)
> FIC has been building the physical components and equipment that
> companies in other countries have incorporated into said companies own
> brands for 27 years now.  Look at RCA, Sony, HP/Compaq, Nintendo,
> Apple even.  Very few things they actually sell are made in-house.
> The majority if not virtually all of it nowadays is outsourced.  FIC
> may actually have built the laptop or desktop you are using right now,
> even though the name on its label is different.  Do you think Apple
> builds the iPhone in-house?  No, they contract to OEM builders.

Building and designing are not the same thing. BMWs aren't nice cars  
because they come from a specific factory, but because they are  
designed well.

> Instead of selling their hardware design solely to carriers to brand
> with the carrier's name, with software designated by the carrier for
> the carrier's services and theirs alone, has decided to make something
> entirely different with their own brand on it.

And--not a personal attack--but the FIC phone looks like ass and  
offers the features of a 1995 phone. The fact that they want  
volunteers to complete the software for them is the basic premise of  
the article. It wasn't an attack on open source development, but  
rather a critical look at a hardware manufacturer trying to sell  
garbage by throwing a "Linux" cloak over it and expecting someone else  
to do the work. The only reason I made any deal about it at all is  
because the phone is repeatedly compared against the iPhone, and  
people have asked me how realistic that comparison is. I'm not trying  
to derail your project or sponsor, just trying to balance the report.

> Fact: Just about every "brand" out there uses OEMs to manufacture
> their consumer electronic products. The few that don't outsource
> manufacturing are multinational consumer commodity conglomerates much
> larger than Apple, along with other technology companies which are
> based entirely on intellectual property.
> While you criticize FIC for mentioning "i-pod feature" on a product
> information page, I believe this is acceptable because they are trying
> to make it understandable to the widest range of companies who may
> want to have "something like an ipod" in their product.  Who can
> disagree that Apple is a media powerhouse? Their marketing is some of
> the best in the world.
> What you are not considering, is that this company has not made
> "direct to consumer" devices but rather sells to companies
> exclusively.  They are trying to promote their ability to make an MP3
> capable phone, but some executive making a decision at a foreign
> company may have no idea what "MP3" means.  The company they build the
> custom handset for, perhaps some wireless carrier, might at that point
> decide to license the term "iPod" from Apple, as Cingular did when
> they and Motorola created the iTunes-capable ROKR.  Then everyone is
> happy, even the copyright people.
> Fact: Everyone and their mothers know of iPods.

So are they also going to call the OpenMoko phone "Windows Mobile- 
featured"? Or is that just BS?

> Fourth: You seem to be confused about the concept of Linux, and how it
> fits in relationship with Windows Mobile, Symbian and the customized
> iPhone version of OS X.  Additionally you seem to think that yet
> another Linux distribution for mobiles will create redundancy in the
> market.  Not true, as the current implementations are almost
> completely closed architectures, using security features to disable
> any user ability to expand the platform.

I mentioned several Linux phone distros, including Trolltech's similar  
Greenphone project. I think you are happy to point to Linux' ~15%  
share of the smartphone market, despite knowing that the majority of  
those are closed Motorola phones for China. Can't have it both ways.

> You are trying to compare a paradigm of free thinkers who have new
> ideas and wish to share them with everyone for the greater good, with
> well-established monopoly software that only got where it is because
> it had billions of dollars in corporate funding keeping a group of
> programmers working for years.

No I'm not. I had more to say about FIC than OpenMoko. I'm just  
pointing out that buying an FIC phone isn't sticking it to Microsoft  
in any sense beyond buying a Dell Windows PC and then installing  
Linux. It has no market effect at all.

> Yes, Linux users/coders can be a bit disorganized and sometimes they
> have petty wars between hardheaded individuals.  What you seem to
> forget, is that in corporations the petty bickering takes place behind
> closed doors.  Companies don't want to project a bad "public image."
> If someone were to make one comment outside of company walls, they
> would probably be terminated due to violating a non-disclosure
> agreement.  The entire Linux community and in turn the OpenMoko
> development process, thrive on communication.  While the benefit is
> that everyone can make use of the group effort, it also exposes the
> less tasteful side of some people when they make the decision to vent
> in public forums.
> Give the community effort some credit.  They have been working on the
> device user software for 6 months, alongside whatever else they do
> with their lives normally.  Whatever job they work, the effort they
> are putting towards OpenMoko is a secondary effort: they are doing
> this in their spare time because they are dissatisfied with the
> current crop of mobile phones and carrier imposed limitations on
> software, and they want to be part of a change in perspective.
> These are people who have a cellphone with a music player, but are
> unable to play a simple internet shoutcast with the unlimited data
> plan offered by their carrier; people who have Bluetooth but can't
> even send a background wallpaper or custom ringtone song to their
> phone via Bluetooth, and instead must buy a $1 or more wallpaper, a $2
> or more ringer, that they probably don't even really like.
> Conversely, I own a MacBook, and while I love having Bluetooth to use
> my headset with Skype,  I am dismayed that I am unable to utilize my
> stereo Bluetooth headphones I purchased to listen to music wire-free
> from my cellphone.  I am literally confined by a 3 foot cable between
> the laptop in my lap and my head.  The inability for me to add this
> feature and having to wait for Leopard to get it, further reinforces
> the "closed model = lack of consumer choice" paradigm.  Wait...Wasn't
> Leopard delayed...for the iPhone? HEY APPLE, WHERES MY A2DP?!

Yes that is part of why things were delayed, because as you are aware,  
Apple is fighting against the same monopoly. Leopard does do A2DP, and  
should support BT better.

> The standards and ability are there, but the carriers or device
> manufacturers are forcibly limiting their availability and scope to
> produce more profit by limiting your choice to expensive
> carrier-provided applications.  Talk is cheap in this industry, with
> unlimited off-peak calling, My Faves/My Circle, and mobile-to-mobile
> minutes.  Carriers are looking for -any- way possible to make more
> money, and by doing so provide less services to their customer base.
> Then, they lock you in with a nearly unbreakable contract unless you
> are truly dedicated to get out and move on.
> Fact: Every CDMA cellphone since 2003 has come with internal GPS
> capability mandated so 911 operators can can find you if you are
> injured and cannot speak or simply don't know where you are in an
> emergency.
> (GSM phones are now also coming with GPS chips, however, prior to this
> it was still possible to get a rough location by estimating the
> distance from multiple towers due to the way the protocol works.  More
> info at:; this timing
> advance combined with triangulation gives approximately 350-500 meter
> resolution for positioning in urban environments)
> Verizon, Sprint and Alltel (among other smaller regional CDMA
> carriers) have been selling GPS capable phones, with ample CPU
> capability to run a simple GPS mapping application for 2-3 years, or
> simply a coordinate output for the life of the gpsOne platform. (The
> initial phones with this capability did not have enough CPU or
> graphics horsepower to run mapping applications effectively.)
> Fact: Verizon makes you buy a whole new phone, and often re-sign your
> contract, if you want to get 1 extra feature your 2 year old perfectly
> working handset does not have, like GPS powered mapping.
> Even though the V3M RAZR touted with "VZ Navigator" was the first
> phone to offer GPS mapping on their network, the V3C RAZR they had a
> year prior is fully capable of running this software.  But, due to the
> way its marketed, you are forced to buy an entirely new handset they
> have preprogrammed with GPS mapping software if you want that
> capability.  They will not offer it simply as a downloadable update.
> Sprint at least has finally made the software available for a lot of
> current handsets and some even a few years old.  Verizon forced a
> hardware upgrade for something that SOFTWARE could have provided
> utilizing existing hardware.

Yes I fully agree that all of the mobile providers are short sighted  
and greedy.

>        "You can't just ask customers what they want and then try to
> give that to them. By the time you get it built, they'll want
> something new."  - Steve Jobs
> You may argue that extensibility has been provided in the past, but
> J2ME and, in a few cases, BREW in comparison, are extremely limited in
> scope and ability. They are protected from accessing the real "meat"
> of the hardware and operating system.  Symbian provides a bit more
> access to low-level hardware, but still not everything.  Operators
> have claimed that this was so that nobody then would be able to break
> the network or phone, but in reality its because these operators want
> control over what you can do with your phone and often opt for
> features that make them money, at the expense of user freedom.
> As it stands now, due to the security policies imposed by carriers on
> their devices, internal GPS receiver interfaces, cameras, high quality
> stereo audio from the headphone jack, 3d graphics, bluetooth and
> possibly many other features are simply DENIED to any J2ME application
> that the carrier itself not approve and thereby sign with their
> security certificate.
> And for BREW?  Good luck even installing your custom app on a handset,
> because every BREW app must be carrier approved, signed, and installed
> through a carrier provided downloading software, that only talks to
> said carrier's server.
> (Verizon and Alltel are among those who use BREW extensively, as well
> as Telus in Canada and KDDI's "au" service in Japan.  The rest of the
> industry, CDMA and GSM alike are using Java or in some cases (Nokia,
> Sony-Ericsson) Symbian.)

Yes I have reported similar facts on the purportedly open platforms  
that are really mostly useless.

> Fact: Harsh controls stifle innovation and limit choices.
> One of the key concepts behind OpenMoko: the software is completely
> user-upgradeable and if you so dare, customizable.  New concepts for
> using the hardware are no longer limited to waiting for carriers to
> give you them, or force you to buy new hardware with marginal
> differences (the V3M for Verizon also added an audio player. This has
> no bearing on its GPS ability) nor do you have to wait months or years
> or maybe never for your phone manufacturer or operator to fix a bug
> you are having.
> Fact: AT&T does not provide firmware updates for phones they sell.  If
> you have a bug, go to the phone's manufacturer and hope they have a
> fix or update for you.
> Some people have taken this intrinsic GPS ability even further and ask
> "if my phone knows where it is, why can't it automatically turn itself
> to silent mode when I arrive at work, loud when I am at the gym?"
> "Why, when my phone is lost, can't it reply to a text message with its
> current location?"  Hell, if it can do this, it could even email me a
> Google Earth link to its exact coordinates.  "Why, if I know I need
> milk at the store and tell a shopping list app this, can my phone not
> remind to pick up the milk as I drive by in my car on the way home
> from work that evening?"
>        "The opportunity is to go from simple systems to creating
> complex systems, what I'm calling neo-forms," "Simple devices is: us
> learning them. Neo-forms are: them learning us." - Sean Moss-Pultz
> These are a few things I know my OpenMoko based phone will do for me,
> even if I have to make custom scripts to accomplish the tasks.  I then
> will share said scripts with everyone else, where they can be
> prepackaged into easily installable add-on
> packages.  The same way you now are able to click on an album at
> iTunes to download and sync into your iPod, you will be able to
> download a new feature for your OpenMoko phone.
> The sort of "what do I want this to do, that it can't now" questions
> spawn the development of open platforms; finding new ways to use the
> same boring hardware so that it may make our lives a slight bit
> simpler and more productive.
> With the exception of the Nokia Maemo project, there have been rather
> few companies who have wanted to dedicate a large amount of money
> towards this sort of effort.  What effort you ask?  The effort of
> re-thinking and expanding upon the devices Microsoft's Windows Mobile
> and Symbian have made commonplace.  While Maemo and its hardware
> platforms- the Internet Tablets- are not phones, lots of the software
> developed for Maemo has been a stepping stone for OpenMoko.  Nokia's
> Maemo was a major contributor to the GNOME Mobile & Embedded
> Initiative, which in turn is a major building block for the OpenMoko
> frameworks.

Yes, and that's why I defend the iPhone; because I think it will do  
more to open up service plans and change the closed WM/cell providers  
than anything. Actually, beyond open groups (which I think are  
laudable in intention, but won't change anything in the short term),  
there is no other competition. I think once the iPhone rips the system  
open, there will be more opportunities for Linux and other platforms.

On the desktop, Linux has made little progress. But once the dominant  
position of MS is pulled back, I think Linux will be able to rapidly  
expand into low cost PCs and then accelerate gains rapidly. But it's  
never going to make any progress without a commercial backer. Apple  
has the funds/marketing/capacity to make a change.

That's why I find it strange to see Linux OpenMoko users attacking the  
iPhone and suggesting that the Neo1973 is in the same ballpark. It is  
not. It gets idiot sites like Gagmodo to print ridiculous stuff.

> You seem to criticize Sun for taking the OpenMoko base and expanding
> it to suit their needs because "its easy to make something if the
> community is writing it for you"  This could not be further from the
> case.  And yes, I read your full Sun JPhone blog post too.  They are
> taking the base of OpenMoko, which gives an open standardized base,
> hardware control, and a framework to start from, combining it with
> their -now opensourced- (or did you miss this?) Java, and some
> application portfolio from a company they acquired.
> Fact: Open Source fosters this sort of environment where multiple
> companies and groups are able to derive a common benefit from open
> sharing of code.
> In essence, OpenMoko is not just Linux, not just custom code, not just
> people writing whatever they want, but has been helped immensely by
> Nokia- a veteran in mobile design.
> You claim, that Sun is piece-mealing a "pickle" when the iPhone is a
> "sandwich"- a fully developed software/hardware/product.  I say that
> Sun, FIC/OpenMoko, LG (with their Prada) and god knows who else,
> coming out new and exiting phones are going to make the marketplace
> very compelling and competitive.

Sun talks; it has no intention of doing anything. LG's Prada is also a  
great disappointment. I'm all for competition, I just want to see  
better products, not false comparisons. I took the Prada apart as well.

> And why shouldn't it be?  The more competition in the marketplace, the
> more the marketplace thrives!  Look at low-fare airlines beating the
> old, established carriers at their own game.  The larger carriers went
> on about "look, we give you comforts, our competition is so bare-bones
> you're lucky to get some pretzels and a soda."  Then come the low-fare
> competition, who while still giving you pretzels and soda along with
> somewhat more cramped seating, are more and more beginning to offer
> new and exciting services never envisioned by the mainstream
> mega-carriers.  Live satellite TV in every seatback on Frontier and
> JetBlue, some of the highest ranked low-fare airlines.  Virgin
> America, the newest competitor in this huge market has come up with a
> TV, Videogame, Music and Movie-on-demand seatback terminal based
> entirely upon the multi-user abilities and customizable nature of
> Linux.  You can multi-player games/chat with your cabinmates!
>        "Why join the navy if you can be a pirate?" - Steve Jobs
> Sure, there are a few people who want luxurious first class
> accommodation and service, but the vast majority of people love to
> save money and experience cool new things.
> Fact: Fierce competition in a market = more choices for all
> persuasions of people = everyone wins.
> Will the JPhone or OpenMoko "kill" or completely blow the iPhone out
> of the water? NO!  But what they will do, is finally give those of us
> who are rather annoyed at artificial limitations and the "one way of
> doing things" something new and exciting, and allow us to explore, to
> pick what best suits us as an individual.  Granted, many people love
> the iPhone.  But just about as many wish something else were out
> there.  OpenMoko and the Jphone will give these people that choice.
> As for the iPhone, Apple has been planning, programming, refining and
> tweaking this device far longer than the time the OpenMoko community
> has been around, certainly long before Sean Moss-Pultz made his
> breakthrough presentation in November 2006.   As an indication of how
> long they may have been developing it, take for example their patent
> for the multitouch screen:
>  As you can see once
> you scroll down a bit, this patent was applied for on April 26, 2005.
> This is almost 2 full years MORE to work on the user software than the
> OpenMoko community has had.
> While it is possible that Apple may have originally developed this
> multi-touch technology and patent for their computers, they beyond any
> doubt were at that point wanting to expand into portable devices other
> than just the iPod.  I would make the conjecture that they had been
> planning an iPod phone for a few years before that as well. (Something
> they designed, not the horrible 99 song limited iTunes feature inside
> some Motorola handsets Cingular sold.)

I believe Apple said it began work on the iPhone mid 2004.

> OpenMoko opened their notes, bugtracking system, software code, and
> hardware specs to developers on February 14 2007.  In a little more
> than 6 months, I am honestly amazed at just how much HAS been done by
> the community.
> On the other hand, the actual OpenMoko group in charge of this project
> is rather small.  Its a group of dedicated people, all believing in
> Sean Moss-Pultz' idea, of a truly open mobile platform. They are
> slaving their time to try and make one man's dream a reality.  These
> are the people that has been working on the Neo1973, designing the
> custom circuit boards, researching the best hardware for the job,
> writing the GSM chipset firmware and other core bits of the phone
> firmware, and traveling worldwide to present the concept phone at
> multiple trade shows and conferences.
>        "I want to put a ding in the universe." - Steve Jobs
> This group is about 10 actual people.  This group has never claimed
> they will overtake the iPhone.  This group has not promised a fully
> working device for a good while now- they made it very clear upon
> inception that the first ones will be for developers to write whatever
> software they think will help and contribute to a fully working phone.
>  After the software base has been written, it will be usable by
> consumers, but only with time will the true potential be realized, as
> software can continually be updated.
> Yet you wish to compare compare a 10 person core-team and a large yet
> mostly spare-time community of coders with much larger divisions of a
> multi-national multi-billion dollar company that spends millions on
> the -design- of their products alone. I can't even guess how much they
> spend on the people that work at Apple on these projects full-time,
> and in cases like the iPhone, undoubtedly OVER-time...
> This huge backing is a lot more than a grass-roots effort will see, at
> least at the beginning.  People at Apple write software, or design
> products because Apple pays them to do it exactly one way.  Then they
> contract companies in China, Taiwan, and other places to build the
> phones for them.  Had the sands shifted a bit differently, FIC may
> very well have been the OEM manufacturing the iPhone for Apple!
> God knows 10 people cannot make magic happen overnight, and I dare say
> that neither did Apple.   Apple's flagship Leopard release of OSX had
> to be sidelined for HALF A YEAR just to get the iPhone out the door
> meeting schedules.  What does that tell us?  Apple has a buffer for
> unforeseen problems yet is still is unable to make everyone happy on
> schedule.  This also means that Apple -was- behind schedule.
> Honestly, when have you ever seen a "schedule" that did not have
> sacrifices or take longer than expected?
> FIC, a business-to-business company, deals with much different
> business methods and daily circumstances than a business-to-consumer
> company like Apple.  Apple is in business to market to consumers, and
> promote products through their well established distribution channels.
> FIC is coming from a supplier standpoint, trying to enter the market
> on their own with a device based upon similar concepts yet different
> principles.
> The very small software R&D team, the core OpenMoko development team,
> are now an individual entity working with FIC to produce the Neo1973
> and related devices.  They are trying to get their idea off the
> drawing board and into peoples hands, just as fast as is feasible for
> such a small group.
> I will leave you now, with what I feel is the most importang quote of
> the entire essay:
> "I challenge you to think of a single [mobile phone] innovation except
> viruses in the last 10 years," "The phone is maladaptive. Don't follow
> the phone. Leapfrog it." - Sean Moss-Pultz, OpenMoko Program Manager,
> OpenMoko Inc.
> Every company has baby steps, and stumbles along the way.
> FACT: Apple was started by 2 people, in Steve Jobs' garage.
> "'s all just a little bit of history repeating..." -  
> Propellerheads

I appreciate your comments.

Let me know whether you refute the quotes from Sean about the "anti- 
iPhone" and "dual bootable WM phone," or have just changed positions,  
and I can write a followup clarification.


Daniel Eran Dilger
RoughlyDrafted Magazine

> Regards,
> Mike Hodson
> Linux Enthusiast, MacBook User and Cellular phone Geek
> (I was a lead salesman at RadioShack for 4 years. I have an inside
> view of how wireless has evolved in that time.)
> (All Steve Jobs quotes from
> (Sean Moss-Pultz quotes from
> (Propellerheads quote from
> (C)2007 Mike Hodson under the Creative Commons Attribution v3.0
> License. (

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