OpenMoko has announced that their first handset, the Neo 1973, will begin shipping to developers on July 9th. The first open source phone to come out of the OpenMoko project, a fully polished version of Neo 1973 will be available to consumers in October - but developer kits will go on sale in just a few days, with an eye towards getting a bunch of open source apps ready for that Autumn ship date.
The "Neo Base" dev kit will sell for $300 while the "Neo Advance" package will command $450 - both kits include the first-generation handset and basic accessories for software development and testing, while the advanced pack includes additional cables and other accessories for full-on handset hacking.
Come October, the consumer-ready versions of the phone will add WiFi, more memory, a faster processor, and dual accelerometers to the mix, and sell for $150 over dev kit prices. OpenMoko also announced plans to ship three more handsets during 2008.
Unfamiliar with the OpenMoko project? This bit from a November 2006 press release sums it up nicely:
"For the first time, the mobile ecosystem will be as open as the PC, and mobile applications equally as diverse and more easily accessible," said Sean Moss-Pultz, architect of OpenMoko and Product Manager of FIC's Mobile Communication Business Unit. "Ringtones are already a multi-billion dollar market. We think downloading mobile applications on an open platform will be even bigger.
"Open platform standardization will kick-start an entire ecosystem of mobile phone developers." stated Dr. Ming J. Chien, Chairman of FIC, "I'm excited because I believe carriers will see an increase in revenues from new data traffic. And being able to customize your mobile phone in any way you see fit should be very appealing to end-users."