Sun Microsystems and Samsung are working together on a Java-based mobile phone that will cost less and do more than Apple's iPhone, according to a report published in "JoongAng Ilbo, "a South Korean newspaper. The report, cited in the International Herald Tribune online, quotes Sun Chairman Scott McNealy talking about the "Java phone," though no further confirmation from Sun has been obtained. A Samsung rep apparently confirmed that a meeting between the two companies to discuss the idea has taken place, but that's as far as things have gotten thus far.
This isn't the first time Sun's involvement in a potentially open source, Java-based handset has been tossed around, and the flurry of hacking, unlocking, and third-party development around iPhone has made it clear that the open source community is interested in developing for mobile devices. Additionally, the recently released Neo1973 is a handset that runs on an open source platform - the GNU/Linux-based OpenMoko. While OpenMoko hasn't exactly caught fire, it's still in Developer Preview mode and has potential.
With rumors of gPhones coming and going, and many an "iPhone Killer" still not having made it out of concept and mockup stage, I'll believe in a Sun-backed Java phone when I see one. That being said, given Apple's closed stance towards third-party software development for iPhone, any open source mobile is a good open source mobile so far as I'm concerned.
Read another article on the Java phone from the International Herald Tribune.
See OpenMoko and Neo 1973 online.