OpenMoko FreeRunner Runs Android

Everyone wants to know what device will be the next Android Phone. Whatever it is – it won’t be from a major manufacturer. Kogan is already accepting pre-orders for their Agora Pro device which will ship in January but ImAndroid.org has some new pictures of the OpenMoko Neo FreeRunner with Android and they say THAT will be the second Android Phone.

I’m sure the author meant well, but the FreeRunner as the 2nd Android Phone is still very questionable/debatable. Actually, some could say that the NeoFreeRunner is already the 2nd Android Phone because the source code for putting Android on the device is already released as explained in this Koolu Press Release:

São Paulo, Brazil – December 2nd, 2008 – Koolu is proud to announce availability of Google’s Android Platform source code for the Openmoko phone “FreeRunner”.

While Android was released as open source software in late October, a certain amount of work had to be done to get the code to work on other manufacturer’s phones.  The FreeRunner, an open design of phone from Taiwan-based OpenMoko, needed certain changes to the Android code to have it work properly.  The free software community, with the help of people all over the world, was able to change the source code to have it run on the FreeRunner.

We want to thank the Open Handset Alliance, the Openmoko community, the Android community and especially Sean McNeil in their work to bring the code this far.

Koolu is providing the patches necessary to take Google’s Android Platform source code to run on the Openmoko FreeRunner phone, the steps to create a tool chain to build that code, and the instructions on how to build the binary images so more people who have FreeRunners (or want to purchase FreeRunners) can help with finishing the port.

Also announced at IPCOMM was the agreement for iSolve, a Brazilian tele-communications integration firm located in Curitiba, to be the master distributor of the Openmoko FreeRunner in Brazil.

iSolve has been a leader in the free and open source (FOSS) community in Brazil with regards to telecommunications.  Denis Galvão started AsteriskBrazil.org, the portal for the well-known open source Asterisk PBX software, and Koolu feels that iSolve’s expertise and channels in FOSS will help make the FreeRunner a premier phone for business customers.  iSolve will be actively engaging other companies to be VARs, resellers and retailers of the FreeRunner in Brazil, as well as carriers that wish to carry an open phone.

The code will be located in a git repository at git.koolu.org and the instructions and other information will be located in a forum at forum.koolu.org

Sincerely,

The Koolu Team

OpenMoko has a wiki at OpenMoko.org that leads with this sentence, “Openmoko™ is a project dedicated to delivering mobile phones with an open source software stack. Openmoko is currently selling the Neo FreeRunner phone to advanced users and will start selling it to the general public as soon as the software is more developed.”

When will that be? Who knows… chances are sometime after Cupcake has launched so OpenMoko can align their offerings with the latest improvements before pushing soon to be outdated units out the door.

As we’ve always said, the more choices the better. We’re looking forward to the Android based FreeRunner hitting the market in the near future.

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