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iPhone Update Locks Down 3rd Party Apps, Time for a Linux Phone?

With Apple’s recent move to lock down the iPhone and iPod Touch the Linux Phone called OpenMoko is starting to look better all the time.

From the OpenMoko website:

OpenMoko is a GNU / Linux based open software development platform. Developers have full access to OpenMoko source and they can tailor their implementations to underlying hardware platforms.

and

Our company is unconventional, we openly share our roadmap. And your participation, in terms of actual code, hardware features, suggestions, and usage-scenarios will shape product features of our future devices. …The real power of an open phone… emerges from the interaction of all the users of “freed phones.”

While it may not rival the iPhone in terms of design, I might rival the iPhone in terms of function. It has a little way to go yet, but this phone may rise through the horde of silly closed phones to become a true iPod killer. The combination of openness not only of software but also of network (any GSM network anyway) makes the OpenMoko a compelling alternative to what Apple offers, that being a closed software and closed network phone.

Interestingly the OpenMoko uses a microSD and microSDHC cards for it’s storage. Currently microSD cards can go up to 2GB, but microSDHC are up to 4GB with 8GB cards in the works. This would also mean that a person could carry much more than an iPhone if they are willing to carry around extra cards. One the negative side the UI looks dog ugly, however being Linux, I am sure there will be all sorts of themes for folks to use. Another downside is that it looks like it will be more expensive than the iPhone, but if the OpenMoko takes off that could change as mass production always drives price down. Only time will tell if the OpenMoko succeeds but one thing for sure is that it will be worth keeping an eye on this phone.

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