Matt Jones

Neo 1973: Free Your Phone

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In 1973, standing on a pavement in Manhattan, Marty Cooper made the first mobile phone call. Inspired by the communications devices used in Star Trek, Cooper developed a device that allowed phone calls to be made to anywhere in the world without being connected to the recipient by wires.

Today, OpenMoko and FIC have launched the first phone to run on a Free and Open Source Software platform, and as a tribute to that first mobile call, they've named it the Neo 1973.

Apple's iPhone may be the slickest piece of consumer tech ever released, but what you can do with your iPhone - and the price you pay for it - is strictly determined by Apple and AT&T.

Conversely, the OpenMoko platform gives the user complete control of the phone's software as well as giving anyone the opportunity to contribute to its ongoing development.

I'll wait for the dust to settle on both the iPhone and OpenMoko launches, but come 2008, I think I know which phone I'll be buying.