Earlier this week, FIC and OpenMoko announced their first consumer product - the Neo FreeRunner. The FreeRunner is to be the follow-up to the for-developers-only Neo1973, a linux-based phone that's meant to put an open source mobile platform in the hands of the would-be community of developers around the globe ready to make it sing.
I had the chance to try out the Neo1973 on Monday, and frankly it's a ways from being ready for prime time - so I can't really imagine when the FreeRunner will start shipping. I love the idea behind the Neo and fully support the OpenMoko effort, but the OpenMoko rep showing me the Neo1973 started telling me about how it's nowhere near being ready for consumers before I even had a chance to ask.
The hardware itself is pretty cool - it's smaller and curvier than your average smartphone - and open source is obviously a powerful model, but with the big G backing Android this year, OpenMoko's got their work cut out for them. The Neo1973 I saw was all kinds of buggy, both in my hands and those of the man from Moko. The guys at Engadget got their hands on an early FreeRunner prototype and apparently had a similar experience. Still, keep at it FIC & OpenMoko - it's a great thing you're trying to do here!