Openmoko will publish the schematics for its Neo 1973 and Neo FreeRunner mobile phones, further opening its mobile platform to the development community. Unlike other mobile phone manufacturers, the company already includes a free and open-source (FOSS) operating system and open applications with these phones.
Developers can take advantage of the schematics and the FOSS to modify Openmoko’s phones, taking their functionality beyond the limited applications that commercial mobile phones typically handle. They also could add external instruments or sensors or even help Openmoko debug potential problems. This information includes the schematics for the phones’ GPS chip, which is manufactured by u-blox AG of Switzerland.
“We fully support Openmoko’s decision to publish the schematics of the u-blox GPS receivers,” said u-blox CEO Thomas Seiler. “It is vitally important that developers have access to this data, and it improves product quality. Going forward, we think that more manufacturers and more consumers will demand open-architecture products with optimum performance.”
Previously, Openmoko published the CAD files for the Neo FreeRunner under a Creative Commons license, so designers can alter the look and feel of the phone case to fit fashion, science, medical, industrial, enterprise, or other vertical markets. Designers also can choose other materials for the case to meet style or performance demands.
“Why should industry be afraid of opening up its design?” asked Openmoko CEO Sean Moss-Pultz. “Schematics are simply another form of documentation and vital to future success, service, and satisfaction in the market. We believe our products would be incomplete without them.”
The release of the schematics will be covered under a Creative Commons license. Files will be posted on openmoko.com and www.openmoko.org. The Neo FreeRunner was selected as a finalist in the LinuxWorld Product Excellence Awards, which took place as part of this month’s LinuxWorld Conference and Expo in San Francisco. It has a suggested retail price of $399.