Manuals/Neo 1973

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Overview of the device


The power button is on the lower right-hand side, and the AUX button is on the top-left.

Button functions while the phone is on (as of writing):

  • Power button short press: Close the current application
  • Power button 1 second press: Open the power management menu
  • Power button 10 second press: Last-resort power off
  • AUX button short press: Go to the Today application
  • AUX button 1 second press: Open the functions menu


Right above the power button on the lower right-hand side, there is a USB connector for connecting to computers with the cable shipped with the phone. Further above, the small golden connector (type MMCX) is for enhancing GPS reception with an optional external antenna (not included).

The black headset socket is on the left side of the phone. The plug type is the standard 2.5 mm four-conductor version, which differs from standard 3.5 mm headphones. The last millimeter is somewhat firmer so make sure you push the plug all the way. While a plug is in, the sound is automatically diverted to the headset.

For on-the-ear talking, there's a call speaker right above the display and a microphone in the oval opening at the bottom of the case. At the bottom of the case, there are also stereo speakers.

The display is a touch screen meant to be used with thumb for large items and with stylus when precision is useful. Contents of the screen can be rotated counterclockwise.



The stylus as shipped has three batteries in it, providing for the laser pointer and flashlight LEDs. A set of replacement batteries is also included. The stylus can be twisted open in middle to access the batteries.

To use the ballpoint or stylus head, turn the bottom part of the stylus to either direction.


The Neo ships with a stereo headset including a microphone and a push button. See #Interconnections above for connecting.

Also included are replacement rubber earbud sleaves in various sizes.


The provided lanyard can be attached to the hole in the bottom part of the phone. Put the loose end through the phone, through the two metal loops in the lanyard, between the metal loops and back through the first metal loop.

First steps


A short demonstration is available on Google video: Open the back cover, remove the battery, remove the SIM card, remove the micro-SD card, insert the micro-SD card, insert the SIM card, insert the battery, close the back cover

The micro-SD slot is underneath the SIM slot, which is underneath the battery. To access any of these, you need to open the back cover of the phone.

The SIM card and the micro-SD memory card are optional; SIM is needed only for cell network functionality and memory card for extra storage.

Back cover

Remove the back cover by putting your fingernail or a guitar pick in the small recess on the top of the Neo and pulling gently (see just the first step of Disassembling Neo1973).

When you are done, close the back cover by inserting the pins of the cover into the holes on the bottom of the Neo and pressing the top of the case gently.


To remove the battery, lift its bottom edge with your fingernail.

Before closing the cover, insert the battery by pushing it against the three metal springs with the contacts aligned and pressing the bottom edge of the battery down into the case.

SIM card (optional)

The SIM card is obtained from a cell network operator. The slot for the SIM card is found just under the battery. The metallic card holder has arrows and text indicating which way to push it to lock and unlock it - make sure you don't open it with force when it's locked or it may break.

Click the holder unlocked and open it up. To remove the SIM card, slide it out of the holder.

When you're done with the micro-SD slot, slide the SIM card into its holder so that the pads make contact when you close the holder. Push the holder firmly against the springs, then lock it - otherwise the card will not be detected.

To check in Linux if the SIM card is inserted correctly, you can have a look in gsmd logs or use the instructions detailed in the Manually using GSM page and issue the AT+CIMI command.

Micro-SD card (optional)

You should have received a microSD memory card with your phone. You might want to copy some mp3 (or better Ogg Vorbis) files to it to try media playback.

The micro-SD slot is right under the SIM slot. Gently slide the micro-SD holder toward the battery contacts to unlock it. Lift up the holder. To remove a card, simply slide it out.

To insert a card, slide it into the holder the metal contacts first and away from the holder. Rotate the holder shut, press it firmly against the springs, and gently slide the holder away from the battery contacts to lock it closed.

The card should automatically be available under /media/card the next time you boot. You can test it and your audio drivers at the same time by playing an mp3 or ogg from it (see Neo1973 Audio Subsystem).

Powering up the phone

bootloader splash screen

Just hitting the power button (depending on your u-boot version you have to press for >= 5 seconds) should get the phone first into the bootloader, then boot the kernel, and get into X/Openmoko. The shipped battery typically has enough charge to boot up directly without charging through the usb cable first.

Once you have pressed the power button sufficiently long, the vibrator makes a short pulse and the screen backlight turns on. You can now release the power button and watch the phone booting.

If the battery is not sufficiently charged, the phone will not turn on, even if the usb cable is plugged in.

Flashing the Neo1973 GTA01Bv4

The GTA01Bv4 devices that are currently shipping do not boot out of the box. Flashing the phone with the latest kernel and supporting file system ("rootfs") is required before the phone will successfully boot.

Read more information at about Flashing the Neo 1973. MacOS X users please also refer to MacOS_X.

Powering down the phone

While in bootloader mode, or if the phone has crashed

If you press the power button for 9 seconds, the phone will switch off. You can notice this by the backlight going dark.

While running a full Linux system with userspace

In this mode, a power-button press of 5 seconds will be sufficient. After this, the init process will take care of safely shutting down the phone, which might take up to 20 extra seconds. The X server should get killed, you should drop back to a (garbled) console, and it should finally switch off - much like a regular Linux PC.

Battery charging

See also Neo1973 Battery Charger

The Neo1973 supports two charging modes: One 100mA charge mode (called pre-charge) and 500mA (called fast charge). Charging is always done via the USB socket. You can use any USB-A to USB-mini-B cable to connect the phone to any USB host.

Note: If the Neo1973 battery completely drains it's possible that even after a long recharge you might not be able to power the phone on. To fix that you need to remove the battery, and leave it out for about a minute, then replace the battery and plug the phone back into a usb port. You should be able to power it on after a few minutes of charging.

While in u-boot

While you are in u-boot mode, the phone only charges with 100mA by default. (This will change in one of the future revisions).

However, using the u-boot console you can manually enable fast charging. See U-boot#Battery_charger_related for more information.

While in Linux

As soon as the phone is connected via USB cable, it will charge. However, the default charging current is only 100mA, way too little if you want to operate the phone and charge at the same time.

If your USB upstream port is capable of supplying 500mA, then it will configure the Neo1973 accordingly and use 500mA charging mode. You can notice this by the following line in the kernel log (/var/log/messages) of the Neo1973: usb0: full speed config #1: 500 mA, Ethernet Gadget, using CDC Ethernet

Getting shell access on the phone

By using Ethernet emulation over a USB cable

The standard Neo1973 Linux kernel has support for the "cdc_ether USB gadget", i.e. a standard implementation of how to emulate an Ethernet device over USB.

The following description is for generic *NIX system. For setting up connectivity specifically on a MacOS X machine, refer to MacOS_X. Older Mac OS X versions did not include a CDC Ethernet driver, you might have to install one first. There are also issues with Leopard.

As soon as the kernel is up and running, and you have the phone connected via USB, you should get a usb0 device on your host.

The Phone will have the IPv4 address You can run `ifconfig` in the terminal on the phone to verify this (this is optional, just check it if it doesn't work given the instructions below)

If you plug a USB cable into a laptop running Linux, you'll likely see the "cdc_ether" kernel module being loaded and a usb0 network interface appear. If not, see USB_Networking for more details.

On the host PC, you should then configure your interface to by using

  1. ifconfig usb0 netmask

Then you should be able to

  1. ping

and last, but not least

  1. ssh root@

Once you press 'enter' (empty password), you should now have a root login.

See USB_Networking for more details, including instructions on how to automatically setup masquerading so that your phone can get access to the internet through the host PC.

Note: If you have a power management profile enabled on your device your ssh connection might appear to freeze when your phone tries to sleep. To stop this from occuring you need to hold the power button down for a few seconds until you get the menu with the "Power Off" option at the bottom. Once you do, you should select the "Profile: No PM" option. If your shell died and you want it back, you can do the following:

  1. modprobe -r cdc_ether
  2. modprobe -r cdc_acm

Then unplug the device and plug it back in after turning power-management off.

By using the debug board/serial/JTAG

Please see Debug Board#Usage_Instructions

Getting access to the bootloader console

Please see u-boot#Using_usbtty_from_Linux

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