That’s exactly how a developer would name a variable or in this case a phone. But apart from the name and the color, I like Trolltech’s “Greenphone”; designed in partnership with Yuhua Teltech it’s a mobile phone specifically designed for – you guessed it – developers. It’s a GSM/GPRS mobile phone with a bootloader that lets you re-flash the phone with Linux-based firmware via a mini-USB port. What’s more it comes with a complete SDK. Beautiful, now only if it were black.I am aware of various alternatives that allow you to write applications for cell phones on top of Windows Mobile or some sort of J2ME stack, but I am not a big fan of those platforms. This phone on the other hand runs the stock Linux kernel 2.4.19 enriched with Qtopia (Qt edition for the mobile platform), which apart from giving developers full control of the hardware allows them to port many of the native open source applications fairly easily. For instance it’s reported that the phone is Wifi enabled and has the SIP stack to make VoIP calls … possibilities are endless.
If you are one of those skeptics who doubt linux phones are commercially viable, allow me to point you to Motorolla Rokr E2; a basic phone and mp3 player with up to 2GB SD memory expansion slot, camera, bluetooth, USB 2.0 connectivity with the PC etc. I hope you noticed – it sports a sexy name “Rokr E2” and does come in black. This one is certainly an end user phone that one wouldn’t want to break apart, but if you are so inclined, you can find the source for E2 here.
I must also point out some people are voicing concerns about developers having such control over the phone hardware, which unlike a PC has a radio regulated by FCC that, and the fact that the carrier networks are designed to trust their phones implicitly could create problems. I for one favour the hacker’s, more good than bad is going to come of this … rock on!!
Trolltech expects to ship the Greenphone sometime in September, hopefully they can price it competitively – keep watching.
Qtopia Phone Edition 4.1.4
Linux kernel 2.4.19
Touch-screen and keypad UI
QVGA® LCD color screen
Intel® XScale® 312 mHz PXA270
64MB RAM & 128MB Flash
Mini-SD™ card slot
Broadcom® BCM2121 GSM/GPRS baseband processor
Greenphone’s user manual.