Taiwanese electronics company First International Computer hopes to replicate the open nature of the PC in mobile phones with the debut of a smartphone running an open Linux-based mobile software platform developed by one of its product managers.
Details of the FIC's Neo1973 smartphone were released on 7 November. It is expected to go on sale in January, The phone runs on OpenMoko, a new open-source mobile phone software platform aimed at spurring mobile application development.
OpenMoko comes with a software development kit and libraries designed to make it easier for developers to build new applications for the phones. OpenMoko also includes a software manager so that users can easily add, remove and update applications.
Sean Moss-Multz, OpenMoko's developer and a product manager at FIC, plans to facilitate the sharing of the applications that users create through community and commercial resources.
OpenMoko is based on the OpenEmbedded project, a development environment to enable applications to work across various Linux embedded systems giving users access to many existing open-source applications.
The phone will operate on Global System for Mobile Communications networks in most regions of the world and will also include Global Positioning System technology for location and navigation services. It will also come with push e-mail and contact and calendar synchronisation from Funambol.