"According to current calculations, the cost of the motherboard should be somewhere around 990 EUR. The cost should go down as more people place pre-orders. The complete device will cost about 150 EUR more, depending on prices and availability of N900 spare parts."
Holy cow, freedom (at least partial freedom) comes at a seriously hefty price. That's five times the cost of a half-decent Samsung Galaxy (S4 or S4 Mini, not network-locked), where I'm from.
That's what it costs when you are unable to mass produce. The cost estimate is based on the production of 500 devices only which in turn was based on the number of donations over 100 EUR. The Neo900 is as close to freedom and privacy as you're going to get at this moment in time. If you're comparing this to a Samsung Galaxy then it looks like you don't understand the reasons for why the Neo900 is being built.
And for 1GHz, 1Gb RAM, 0.5Gb storage. That's not even close to the spec of the above Samsung.
You are incorrect on the 0.5GB storage. The Neo900 will be at least as feature complete as the N900. This means that it will have at least 32GB eMMC storage plus mircoSD expansion. Otherwise it will have 64GB if they are able to source the part. The 512MB refers to the SoC's NAND (double that of the original N900).
Pay five times the cost, get less back, and the possibility of component shortage making repair/replacement impossible.
The cost estimation page (which you appear to have read) indicates that they have considered failure rate and will be sourcing additional components to account for repair/replacement. This contributes to the overall cost of the device.
How do this stack up against the $9 CHIP project, etc. with its processor? I can build a GSM "phone" with Wifi, SD, touchscreen etc. from Arduino shields for way, way, way less than this costs on top of that.
I'd love to see you do that. I'll be the first in line to purchase one.
I mean, for God's sake, they've bothered to put IrDA and FM radio on it!
These are available on the original N900 and I still find them incredibly useful. To remove these would be a regression.
Niche doesn't even begin to cover it. When you're more expensive than Apple, and can't do anywhere near as much, you know that you're onto a loser.
Can't do nearly as much? Are you serious? I'm still using my N900 from 2009 because they is no other mobile phone available that what the N900 can do. Basically it's a full Linux computer in your pocket with a hardware keyboard and stylus for precision. I even have it dual booting with Debian.
Go and buy an Apple if you feel it's appropriate to compare it to one but please stop spreading misinformation on stuff that you are not interested in.
It's no wonder I rarely visit Slashdot these days posts such as yours get modded +5 Insightful.