Fw: [Lugor-discuss] Remember the Neo Freerunner smart-phone? Updated hardware is now available!

Brian bneil at rochester.rr.com
Thu Jan 5 22:10:36 CET 2012

Hi all,

I'm trying to do my part in helping to promote the GTA04 iteration of
the Neo FreeRunner/1973. I don't do marketing very well so it's not a
ringing endorsement of either platform. I love my Neo though and would
like to see the GTA04 become a reality. Getting the word out as
honestly as I can and hope to be able to purchase a GTA04 when I can
afford to.


Begin forwarded message:

Date: Thu, 5 Jan 2012 15:58:14 -0500
From: Brian <bneil at rochester.rr.com>
To: LUGOR discussion list <lugor-discuss at list.xcski.com>
Subject: [Lugor-discuss] Remember the Neo Freerunner smart-phone?
Updated hardware is now available!

Hi All,

Just wanted to spread the word that updated hardware is now available
for the Neo Freerunner[1]. For those of you that aren't familiar with
the phone[2] it came out at the same time as the first iPhone in the
form of it's precursor, the Neo1973, by an upstart company called
OpenMoko[3]. Their goal was to introduce a new type of phone/portable
computer that was open in as many ways as was possible at the time.

It wasn't popular for a number of reasons, chief among them reliability
(mostly software related), cost, and a warning that it was not yet a
consumer device. There were other issues like poor battery performance,
echo/distortion on calls, which have been solved, for the most part, by
both software and kernel improvements. 

Fast forward to 2012 and a dizzying array smart-phones have now become
ubiquitous devices. None of which offer the same freedoms as the Neo
Freerunner does. There have been a few offerings from Nokia which were
promising but the salad days appear to be over now that the Elopaclypse
(offensive perhaps?) is in effect.

Yes, there are a lot of choices but they either consist of 'walled
gardens' like Apple offers, or a myriad of Android devices which may or
may not be rootable (read modified to run what you desire), or other
proprietary offerings from RIM and of course the upstart WP7. All of
which are beholden to the whims and fancies of their prospective
Intellectual Property owners.

I'm not really keen on delving into the whole IP thing. Suffice it to
say that if we don't fight for our rights as consumers in this regard
it will likely mean the death of open phones especially in the US.
Every time I read the latest news in patent fights it only justifies my
perspective on the issues.

I am fortunate enough to have a Neo Freerunner (thanks Justin!) and
despite it's shortcomings I find it reliable enough to use as my
primary cellphone. Granted it's not perfect and the hardware is a bit
dated compared to recent offerings but it does offer the one thing
nothing else does: The ability to run a real linux distro on it with
full control over the hardware out of the box!

The latest Iteration, which is a replacement MoBo which fits inside of
a Neo 1973/Freerunner case, uses some of the existing hardware and is a
big step in the right direction. It's faster, has improved memory, and
is being actively developed by an active community that won't give up
on the ideal of having a phone that is truly free of the constraints
currently imposed by all other manufacturers.

The cost of said freedoms are steep but should eventually go down. I'd
like to see the latest iteration in free phones not flounder so please
have a look at the links provided and pass it on if you think the
idea of free phones deserves more attention.


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