According to the latest news on the Web, a beta developer version of the Neo FreeRunner mobile phone powered by Google's Android 1.5 "Cupcake" operating system should make its way into the wild in the following few weeks. In addition, it seems that full consumer versions are expected to come to the market as soon as mid-July.
The news comes from the open-phone specialist Koolu Chief Technology Officer Jon Hall, who talked to ZDNet UK at Cloud Expo Europe conference in London, and stated that the handset
was targeted at small and medium businesses, as well as at developing countries, and that it was expected to become available all around the globe.
“We're targeting businesses that want functionality in their phone that they can't get from Apple, RIM, or any of the proprietary companies,” Hall said. The company uses the GTA02 version of the Neo FreeRunner from Openmoko, which is open-phone standard based.
According to Hall, software developers and providers will be offered a beta version to give them the possibility to port applications to the phone
by June. He also stated that the device came to the market as a response to all the limitations imposed by telephone companies.
“They say, 'Sure, we'll sell you a telephone, but you have to use these services for this period of time and we're going to be your carrier and your ISP and don't you dare use voice over IP because we don't make any money that way.' And the customers say, 'Wait a minute, I paid for the freaking phone and it's mine, so why can't I use it as I want to?'” Hall said.
It seems that the company thinks that all mobile phone
users are entitled to benefit from their handsets the way they want to, and that they should be able to choose what operating systems they would like to use on a certain phone, as well as the carrier they would like to work with. “This is a very open concept,” Hall said, “and it gives you control all the way from your handset to your data center for the first time.”