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The Neo FreeRunner (internal codename GTA02) is the second phone designed to run Openmoko software and is the direct descendant of the earlier FIC Neo1973. Hardware specs are at Neo FreeRunner GTA02 Hardware.
FreeRunner is released!
The FreeRunner can be purchased from the Online Store as of July 3, 2008. The software available on the phone makes it suitable for power users and developers only, it is not ready for the general consumer yet. Email announcements and found on the announce mailing list. For frequently asked questions please check FAQ and GTA02 FAQ. Approximately twice a month an Openmoko team member writes an update to the project at Community Updates.
Intended use and users
The Neo FreeRunner is a Linux-based touch screen smart phone ultimately aimed at general consumer use as well as Linux desktop users and software developers.
Linux users and software developers will appreciate the total freedom they have to use and design software for the FreeRunner.
General phone users will eventually appreciate the high spec and performance of the phone and the wide range of free software packages expected to emerge. These will allow users to make the maximum use of the hardware and tailor it to their particular needs. Since launch, the pace of software tweaks and improvements has increased as both the Openmoko team developers and the wider community work together.
The specs share some features with the previous Neo1973 such as:
- A very high resolution touch screen (1.7" x 2.27" - 43mm x 58mm) 480x640 pixels
- 128MB SDRAM memory to allow operation of many applications at once
- Internal GPS module for map and tracking programs
- Bluetooth for local data exchange
- Physical appearance will be the same as the Neo1973. See openmoko.com for more.
With the following additional features:
- 802.11 b/g WiFi for fast web browsing and data transfer
- A faster 400Mhz processor (up from 266MHz)
- 2 3D accelerometers so that the phone can know its orientation for example switching to landscape mode automatically
- 2 LEDs illuminating the two buttons on the rim of the case (one bi color [blue|orange] behind the power button, 1 uni color [red] behind the aux button)
- Tri-band GSM and GPRS for North America (850/1800/1900 Mhz) and the rest of the world (900/1800/1900 Mhz)
- USB Host function with 500mA power allowing you to power USB devices for short periods (will drain the FreeRunner battery faster)
What is the price?
The device is being sold through multiple channels (including Openmoko.com), the official price has been set to 399$ but it could slightly vary in some countries (due to taxes).
How usable is it?
As the hacker's dream toy: it is fully functional. As a GSM phone: some people have been using it to receive and place phone calls and SMS for months, but with currently shipping software the battery life is only one day. As a GPS device: critical bugs have been ironed out and there is nice software to know where you are using OpenStreetMap. As an alarm clock, media player, internet browser, game console, email reader and contacts manager: software is not stable yet.
If you want fully functional smart phone, then download the Qtopia distribution. If you want to help OM develop it's end user applications, then download 2008.8. It's still "Alpha", which means its not feature complete, but it will give you an idea of the direction we are headed. Read more about these and other distributions, then choose for yourself.