Neo FreeRunner Software Review

A first look from Ars Technica at the newly released Neo FreeRunner phone by OpenMoko reveals some interesting information. There are three different software stacks available to use; the Neo FreeRunner will ship with the GTK-based stack, referred to as om2007.2. It offers conventional smartphone applications, but most importantly, it includes “full root access to a Busybox shell with all of the standard scripting tools like sed and awk”. The ASU stack is what OpenMoko developers are currently working on; there are promises of a more user-friendly experience. The FSO stack, also currently in development, aims to resolve the issues brought up by having different software stacks for the same phone. Since none of the stacks are considered “fully functional”, OpenMoko may have a difficult time attracting a mainstream audience. Hackers may be hampered by the lack of available documentation, although there are resources for OpenMoko enthusiasts, if you just search hard enough. The final conclusion? While OpenMoko may be difficult to use, it compares favorably to competitors such as Google’s Android platform, which is less flexible.

3 thoughts on “Neo FreeRunner Software Review

  1. “Since none of the stacks are considered “fully functional”, OpenMoko may have a difficult time attracting a mainstream audience.”

    Looking at other alternatives, Windows Mobile for instance, I can say that OpenMoko is fairly complete. And unlike proprietary stacks, you don’t have to be years waiting for a new version. You can always grab the latest version from upstream and make your own stack.

    I own a windows mobile based device – the HTC wizard. Windows Mobile is so limited and useless that I’m currently helping in porting Linux to it.
    For now I’m running GPE, but I’ll certainly try openmoko in the near future.

  2. It sounds like a lot of fun to screw around with, and if it were maybe $200 cheaper I’d seriously consider it. But the fact of the matter is, but the price the features just don’t cut it.

  3. I’ve been excited about the Freerunner for a long while now. Had they launched at the start of the year I would have bought one. Right now though, Android isn’t far away at all, and it’ll be launching on hardware with 3G capabilities. I just can’t justify the Freerunner.

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