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back to article Neo1973: long-distance contender to Apple and Google?

If you're a developer working with mobile devices few decisions will be more critical than the platform you choose to focus on. With the correct choice, your skills and creativity may pay off both financially and personally when thousands of users enjoy something that you brought into the world. This being the month of the …


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You Cannot Be Serious!

Neo1973: any-distance contender to Apple and Google? - in your dreams.

And sadly, the article gives no clue as to why you think it's up there with the big boys.

Do you have a personal interest, or is it just whimsy?

Gold badge

It's a largely open platform

It's a largely open platform, there's two platforms that run on it. OpenMoko and Qtopia.

Qtopia has been around for quite some time, the fact that it's been ported across with relative ease shows you the advantage of having as much documentation and open hardware as possible.

Google's platform looks fairly ordinary and it's only there because Google generates a lot of hype, it's a well known brand.


*Serial port*

What you fail to realize is that neither Android powered Phones nor the iPhone will give you any full access / code for the GSM/GPRS part. At most they will do the same as the Neo - give you serial port access. This is due to legal reasons (FCC compliance etc.). And this is not a SIGNIFICANT portion of the OS, what a load of rubbish. Nothing to see here.

As for a small install base - you do realize that the currently available model is/was only intended for developers and people who like to tinker?

Anonymous Coward

erm... anyone rich from Symbian yet?

I believe "Symbian" is an open platform... and I hear they've sold about two hundred million more units than Neo/iPhone have (or Android ever will).

Indeed, truckloads of developers (a few of whom I know personally) have developed apps for Symbian over the (almost) 10 years that Symbian's been out there.

And if all of the developers who have made any noticeable amount of money developing for Symbian were laid end to end, it still wouldn't be enough for group sex.

I've seen some truly amazing apps, but the reason they don't sell is dirt simple to understand: normal people don't want "apps" on their phone, thanks. It's a device with a tiny screen and an awful keyboard, that does phone calls (important!) really well, and short messages (really nice!) tolerably well. *Even if* they make it easy to install and purchase apps, normal people have no further needs thankyou, are scared of the process of installing new software (Not Broke Dont Fix), are scared of the payment process, and don't want to pay for anything anyway.

Sure, develop stuff for other techies, but don't kid yourself you're going to get rich developing in the mobile world. It's a king-sized con.

[Anonymous Doubter]

Silver badge

2008 .... The Year of the AIdDriver.?!

Actually, the proprietary nature of any code ..."The license terms are very open but a significant portion of the operating system - the part that runs the GSM/GPRS module - is a proprietary operating system called Nucleus, which is bad news for the developer that wants access to the full code base." .... allows the company and allied companies/private interests to render IT Special Services to those of ITs Agents/Customers who would not necessarily wish for every Tom, Dick and Harry Spook type to be privy to Innovative Beta InterNetworking dDevelopments.

There are Operating Systems and there are Operating Systems and just as in an analogy with the motor car, one will be a Veyron whilst the others will be something else but all presumably aspiring to the best of their class. And it is not really anything at all to do with the Operating System as to how well or badly they performs, as it is all down to the Driver/User and what IT does and where IT goes, using the System. And that is where fortunes are made in every case.

And just as in the case of automobiles, the likes of a Nokia or Google or Apple or an Openmoko contracting with FI type XXXXCellent Drivers/Users who are making their Fortunes with their Joint Mutually Beneficial Applications, is where IT is at.

Some will be into the loftiest of Control and Power Realms in New World Order Programming Applications and would therefore appreciate a refined, sophisticated small volume System for the Simplest of Security Reasons. A valuable hidden asset in its own right.

And quite what one would mean by refined and sophisticated in such a sensitive application would be inappropriate for any to comment on surely, as it would all just be speculation amongst phish.

"making it all that much more risky an intellectual investment." ..... not whenever that is what you inputting into the platform to make parallelling fortunes.


Accessing the phone - no surprise that it's proprietary

With all the talk around new phone platforms, this is the first time that I've seen it confirmed that there wouldn't be direct access to the phone module in any of the forthcoming products. I assumed that this was the case when Android was announced. Whatever the response of the FOSS mavens, this is a price worth paying for entry into the big wide world of mobile telecoms as it will make open systems possible up to the point where the call is being made.

However, I am increasingly convinced that the Neo1973 will never make consumer production. It's a proof of concept rather than a fully fledged mobile telephony platform, and will have to convince the FCC and other communications authorities before it even gets near the phone companies themselves, who also have their vested interests to consider, many of which don't include open source software. So what about Android? Google's might will push it through, as will concessions to the design to appease the communications gods. Most Android applications will be more like a widget running in a sandbox. It might not be as restricted as the iPhone, so you will be able to run ssh in a terminal over your GPRS connection, but restricted it will be. Mobile telephony has worked hard to build its walled gardens and won't give them up that easily



The Neo doesnt have to convince the FCC - it already has.

I dont know if you're from the US or not but anyway if a phone complies with the GSM standard and to local regulations (FCC in USA for ex.) - then one can sell and use it.

The Neo 1973 is approved by the FCC so you can use it with any telco using GSM and in fact with QTopia running on it you can use it as a phone, make and receive calls etc. (though being a dev-preview there are still some bugs to iron out). Walled garden or not.

I predict apps for the iPhone will come over iTunes ;-) and Apple will take a nice cut from the price. The only true open/free platform is the OpenMoko platform and it will remain open/free.


android isn't open, and it's not vapourware

open, when it comes to smartphones can mean two things; the device itself is open and all source code to make it work can be downloaded and built, or the SDK to develop application is available for building from source.

android runtime is closed and not all the SDK is open, so it's really just a free SDK. Symbian likewise! OpenMoko and the NEO are truly open, you can get pretty much every line of source excepting where regulators control it.

people have assumed that android is largely vapourware. well, it's not, you can download the virtual machine (arm processor) and run it on a PC (linux or windows) using the QEMU virtual machine container. Even better, you can extract the files and copy them to an Arm processor handheld such as a Zaurus and run it - even now, people are working on improving the hosting of android on top of either the Debian or Angstrom distros.

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