OpenMoko – The iPhone Alternative?

5 06 2007

Recently I have been following the development of OpenMoko – the world’s first open source communication mobile communications platform. OpenMoko runs the Linux kernel, and everything from the operating system to the firmware to the actual software is completely open-source.

The main reasons why I would support OpenMoko over the iPhone are:

1. $350 vs $600

Lets face it, the iPhone is $600+2yr contract with Cingular. OpenMoko is unlocked and will cost you only $350. This is even cheaper than most Windows Mobile smartphones.

2. Integrated GPS

From the iPhone commercials, the Google Maps application looks great. However, you need to get on EDGE or wi-fi to use it. OpenMoko comes with a built in GPS chipset which will pinpoint your exact location.

3. User Replaceable Battery

If you’ve ever used an iPod you will see that it becomes dead weight in about two years. Batteries have a specific life-cycle and deteriorate over time. The iPhone will not let you swap out your battery, so it will either die in two years, or with its estimated 5 hour battery life you won’t have the option of using a backup battery.

4. Open Platform

The iPhone currently has a list of 12 applications that will ship on the phone. Only Apple/Authorized developers can provide software for the phone, and has closed off the platform to 3rd party developers. Current rumors speculate an iChat application is not available yet for the iPhone so IM-generation kids will have to wait. With OpenMoko any piece of software written for it, can be installed without having big brother breathing down your neck.

5. No Carrier Lock-In

Though the iPhone is a GSM phone, Apple/Cingular will not give you access to the SIM. This means you can’t enjoy the benefits of switching phones, or switching providers for that matter. Plain simple, you are limiting your freedom. Say you wanted to travel overseas, your iPhone won’t work because your SIM will not work in another country. If it were unlocked like OpenMoko you could swap in another SIM that works in the country you are in and do business as usual.

6. Corporate E-Mail Support

Yahoo POP access doesn’t cut it when it comes to the business professional. The iPhone does not support synchronization with an Exchange server which almost EVERY business uses for their corporate mail system. OpenMoko will ship with Evolution which allows you to not only connect to an Exchange server – but is also FREE.

7. Availability

The iPhone is limiting its sales in certain volumes. Remember when you stood in line for your XBox360 when it launched only to find they ran out of shipment, and more will come in the next quarter? This is a mobile phone not a toy. OpenMoko will be available worldwide 9/11/2007.