Linux iPhone Killer!

december 31, 2007

Giggle. Linux is cool, but is it cool enough for the masses? Probably not. I would not stick my wife or mom or sister with a Linux box (even running Ubuntu). I use Linux daily, but I'm a geek, that's understandable. MacOS X, on the other hand, that is cool and really for the masses. I would stick my wife or mom or sister with a Mac -- heck, I have, my sister still uses my old iBook and has had no problems with it. So, I was reading about the Neo1973 phone, which is an Open Source phone, using OpenMoko. I think it's kind of cool that a phone is running Linux, I have always wondered when there would be an extensible platform built on Linux for the mobile market -- and OpenMoko seems to be doing just that. That being said, I would not give one of these to any "normal" phone user -- the kind of user that would love the iPhone. Why? Because, unless it has something radically different -- other than being able to access the source code and make modifications to the software -- than the iPhone, I don't see how the Neo1973 can be an "iPhone killer". The touch screen on the Neo1973 still requires a stylus, instantly that's a step backwards when compared to the finger-friendly iPhone -- though the specs for the screen are quite impressive when compared to the iPhone: 283dpi vs 160dpi. And have you seen the Neo1973?? Compared with the slick iPhone, or even the somewhat clunkier Verizon Voyager, it looks like a toy with its lanyard loop at the bottom and plastic casing. No, I see the Neo1973 being just like boxes running Linux: For the geeks and at that, for the hardcore geeks. Apple stuff has too much polish and shine to it, even (some) geeks love Apple gear (as for Apple's business practices, that's another story). So, while I applaud the Open Source community and FIC for putting together "mobile. free.", I have some serious doubts about the Neo1973. As for the name, Neo1973, it is almost as if FIC let an engineer name the device. Here's the reasoning behind the name:

A subtle retro look lurks behind the modern design to make sure we never forget our roots. In 1973, Marty Cooper invented the mobile phone. This gave birth to an industry. We’re going to revolutionize it again. Only this time, you will write the rules. This will be the New 1973.
That's all cool and stuff, but really I don't want 1973 again -- hell, I wasn't even born then. Why would I want a "New 1973"? Is that like "partying like it's 1999" when it's really 2008? As for consumers, which actually sounds better off the tongue? "Neo 1973" or "iPhone"? And, it is never mentioned, but what kind of synchronization is there going to be between the Neo1973 and Linux, Windows or Macs? The iPhone has truly changed the mobile industry (and maybe even "revolutionized" it), what is the Neo1973 going to bring to the table?