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Linux Cell Phones Coming Q1 2007 181

eldavojohn writes, "Prepare to salivate. D-Link has announced plans to put an unlocked Linux phone on the market in early 2007. Some features: Dual-mode WiFi and GSM/GPRS. Up to 24 MB of memory for user file storage, such as music and videos. 2-inch, 176 x 220-pixel color display. Opera browser. Email client. 3.4 ounces (95 grams). Tri-band (900/1800/1900) GSM radio — meaning it should work with any GSM-GPRS SIM card, including pre-paid SIM cards as well as those from traditional GSM service providers. Will it really be this easy to wean myself from the Microsoft mobile teat?" The phone is expected to list for $600.
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Linux Cell Phones Coming Q1 2007

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  • Wow! (Score:4, Funny)

    by commisaro ( 1007549 ) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @02:08AM (#16301717) Homepage
    Only $600? I bet that's pocket change for your average Linux enthusiast!
    • Agreed.. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Animaether ( 411575 ) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @02:14AM (#16301761) Journal
      ..for that price, it would have to deliver a significantly better bang.

      Dual-mode WiFi - what is that? B/G? cool, but nothing new.
      GSM/GPRS - where's EDGE? Where's UMTS? Where's HSDPA?
      24 MB of memory - okay
      - for storage - not okay. 24 MB? That's expandable by SD/MiniSD/MicroSD, right? And how much working memory is there? Or is this the same memory and do you lose everything when you power down? (a la pre Windows Mobile 5)
      2" screen - not too bad on that
      176 x 220-pixel - wtf is that? Where's 240x320 or even 480x640?
      color display - 4096? 16k?
      Opera browser - pre-installed, they mean, I hope. Can you replace it? (not that I can think of a reason to)
      3.4 ounces (95 grams) - that *is* nice, however.
      Tri-band - quad band, please?

      Now to RTFA because the summary was silly in listing features without detail. Be better if it had been a more generic blurb.
      • by Animaether ( 411575 ) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @02:21AM (#16301791) Journal
        Read the article, and it hardly has any further information, other than a picture (welcome) and dimensions (also welcome - and not too bad).

        But a bit more info is in the actual Press Release from D-Link;
        http://www.dlink.com/press/pr/?prid=299 [dlink.com]
        Talk time - up to 5 hours GSM, 2 hours 802.11 wireless mode
        Messages - up to 30 messages can be stored at 459 characters each
        Can't say I'm impressed with that - but it explains why it's a bit lighter, smaller battery. The number of messages stored however is just pathetic.

        Had to still google for Dual-Mode; it actually just means it has a phone radio and another form of wireless communications. Lame terminology comes to mind; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dual-Mode_Mobile_Phon es [wikipedia.org]

        As for the rest of the info - not in the PR either.

        But for those of you who have been whining about "I don't want a camera in my phone!" - there you go.. Linux, WiFi, no camera.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by MrNaz ( 730548 )
        All the extra feaures are coming in the second iteration, after they've finished suckering in the following:

        SELECT * FROM users WHERE money > bains;
        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward
          ERROR: Identifier 'bains' not defined (0xDEADBEEF)
      • by nobodyman ( 90587 ) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @02:37AM (#16301873) Homepage
        In the USA, a $300 phone is probably subsidized by your upwards of %50. That's why they lock you into multi-year contracts and sell you the first 10 seconds of a Blink-182 song for $2.50 a pop. I'm not sure if this is as big of an issue in Europe because I believe SIM cards are portable across service providers by law.

        Don't think that this $600 phone is any more expensive than equivalent piece of hardware from T-mobile or Verizon. Considering that I'll be able to install whatever the hell I want on it I'd say it's a steal.

        This phone is the last thing service providers want on the market -- the only thing they'd have left to differentiate themselves from the competition is rates and service (the horror!!). I predict they'll try to kill it.
        • by PCM2 ( 4486 )
          In the USA, a $300 phone is probably subsidized by your upwards of %50. That's why they lock you into multi-year contracts and sell you the first 10 seconds of a Blink-182 song for $2.50 a pop.

          Uh, no. A BlackBerry 8100, brand new, retails for about $400, maybe a little less. Subsidized upwards of 50 percent (like mine was, because I signed the contract), it goes for $200. No contract, it's list price.

          $600 is expensive for a phone.

          • by b0r1s ( 170449 )
            Sidekick III was over $300 with contract (24months).

            $600 is definitely pricey, and those features don't seem to match up favorably with the other high end units out there...
            • The SK3 doesn't have WiFi, it's basically nothing but a regular phone with a QWERTY keyboard and email/IM software. Not a particularly fair comparison. A better one would be something like the Nokia N80, which has WiFi and retails for around $520, MSRP $900. (source [myworldphone.com])

              But even just looking at the Sidekick, it'll run you $400+ if you can find an unlocked one from a legitimate retailer.

              The phone is expensive, sure, but if you want the features it offers, it's basically on par with other similar devices. The que
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          Don't think that this $600 phone is any more expensive than equivalent piece of hardware from T-mobile or Verizon. Considering that I'll be able to install whatever the hell I want on it I'd say it's a steal.

          To my knowledge, you can install whatever you want on the pda/smartphones from the bignames. The only difference here is you won't have anything to install because its running Linux. Linux is nice and all, but unless you feel like writing your own software don't expect this phone to be very useful. The

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by StarKruzr ( 74642 )
            To my knowledge, you can install whatever you want on the pda/smartphones from the bignames.

            Not on a Sidekick, that's for damn sure. And the phone's software is always crippleware -- crippled Bluetooth, no wifi, no provisions for wifi. Extra software is always absurdly expensive.

            But this is Linux, which gives you control of the phone's hardware and the ability to run anything you damn well please on it.

            I kind of can't believe someone has actually done this. If D-Link actually gets this thing out the door
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            Linux is nice and all, but unless you feel like writing your own software don't expect this phone to be very useful.

            Yeah, that's the problem with Linux and open source embedded systems; nobody ever writes software for that stuff.....

          • Linux on anything means you can run any Linux program that fits within memory on it. You can run fuckin' firefox/abiword/gnumeric, full applications not watered down PDcApable software.
        • by cyberon22 ( 456844 ) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @05:55AM (#16302671)
          Hmmmm.... I paid about $40 USD for the last phone I purchased here in China. This was a low-market Motorola with a black and white screen. While slightly cheaper phones were available they weren't much cheaper. Most of the market here involves sales of pre-paid phones that retail for around $100 USD. No-one was taking a loss selling me that phone -- the phone service uses pre-paid cards and can be used with either the China Telecom or China Unicom networks.

          Assume you will get lower costs because this stuff is all being manufactured in China. And then add a 100% markup for stuff sold through American retail outlets. But your average phone should still not cost over $150 USD retail. So I highly doubt that anyone is subsidizing your phone. You are simply being ripped off because of a lack of competition in regional US cellular markets.
      • I read somewhere that it comes pre-loaded with ringtones taken from the movie "Revenge of the Nerds". So you can assign Ogre yelling "Neeeerds!" to your best friends ring.
      • by LuYu ( 519260 )

        That's expandable by SD/MiniSD/MicroSD, right? And how much working memory is there? Or is this the same memory and do you lose everything when you power down?

        Yeah, that was my first reaction, too. When I first glanced at the article, I figured I would almost be able to forgive D-Link for claiming the GPL was invalid [groklaw.net] . The phone sounded good enough that my convictions would have kept me feeling guilty while I imagined having this thing.

        But without expandable storage (1GB minimum), I really cannot

        • Look at the pictures of the first [linuxdevices.com] and last [linuxdevices.com] devices you mentioned, and then look at the pic of the D-Link one from the article [geekzone.co.nz]. They're all the same phone!

    • by Musrum ( 779646 )
      Sure is. Consider all the money they save not paying the "cargo cult" tax for a crap OS which will be "out of support" in a few years.
    • Are you free to put ring tones on these things? Are you free from the proprietary systems of regular cell phones that make you pay for every little tiny thing you add onto them?

      If so, I will gladly pay $600 for one.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Norailyain ( 967801 )
      You guys don't seem to realize what /*really*/ rocks withe that phone : the Wi-Fi feature that allows you to switch on a cheap VoIP tariff while you're coming back home with a GSM communication going on. (In France, the price of a local communication with GSM vs. VoIP is incomparably more expansive) In fact, this phone has been launched by the French Telecom provider Neuf-Cegetel as the first mobile/VoIP device in France ; and I believe it is sold around 200 ... with a 12 month commitment. By the way, I ha
    • That is what cell phones really cost. The free phone you get when you sign up for a two year plan is not the same thing. This phone may be expensive, but the firmware is unlocked and you can use it with any carrier you please. Also, it's not crippled by the provider. For example, Verizon flashes all of their phones with their own software, limiting it's capabilities. Created a ringtone and want to transfer it to your phone? Sorry, that feature, even though part of the original firmware, is not part of
    • by Greyfox ( 87712 )
      Yah. I saved $600 by not buying Microsoft products.
  • by dohzer ( 867770 ) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @02:10AM (#16301725) Homepage
    Do we need to move the 'M' and 'G' keys further apart, or are we stuck with the low memory?
  • 24MB of Memory? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by aero2600-5 ( 797736 ) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @02:10AM (#16301727)
    Up to 24 MB of memory for user file storage, such as music and videos.

    24MB of memory? That's about 4 songs or a 1/3 of a music video.

    That doesn't sound too appealing.

    • Generally, the Windows smart phones have little memory on board but are expandable. Mine (PPC6700) has 40MB total storage memory, of which 33.5 is free after the default loadout (that's not an OS store, that's stored in a separate location). However I can drop an MiniSD card in and get 2GB of storage if I wish. The included storage is mostly useful for apps. You generally want those on the hardware itself rather than a card.

      However if it's limited to 24MB than ya, that makes it kinda worthless for storage o
    • 24MB is good for about four minutes of QVGA H.264 video. So no, it's not really worthwhile. If you are lucky, you might fit about six songs on it.

      The linked "article" mentions no expansion slots.
    • by mnmn ( 145599 )
      I'd sooner rather have a microSD slot in the phone.
      A miniSD card is $25 CAD for a gig. By the time this phone comes out it'll be cheaper still. I hope the 24MB is really the RAM.
  • mmm (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @02:10AM (#16301729)
    Prepare to salivate.

    Preparing to salivate...
    Salivating commencing...
    Salivating complete.
  • Umm... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MrNaz ( 730548 ) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @02:11AM (#16301733) Homepage
    Where on that page does it say anything about Linux?
  • The small screen and form factor with barely-raised keys will be hell for anyone trying to admin their company's servers from this phone.

    While I applaud the attempt to reach out to Linux enthusiasts, I think that many will be turned off because of what they can't do rather than what they can do with this phone.
  • Some things missing (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gsasha ( 550394 ) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @02:14AM (#16301759) Homepage
    Not clear if they are missing from the article or from the phone itself...

    1. Bluetooth - extremely important for connectivity.
    2. Connector. The Qt Greenphone's solution to this is simple and elegant: its only connection is a mini-USB socket.

    On the other hand, D-link does not claim their phone to be an open platform - but if it isn't, think if you will be able to install your own VOIP app? And if not, what's the point?
  • Lame! (Score:3, Funny)

    by AEton ( 654737 ) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @02:17AM (#16301773)
    No wireless. Less space than a Nomad.

    • by RuBLed ( 995686 )
      I doubt the wireless part... but considering the current driver support for wireless devices in linux, it might be possible that all your statement is true :)
    • If a mobile phone doesn't have some sort of wireless communication technology then it probably won't do well in the market place. I'm pretty sure this does have some wireless stuff in it though.
      • These strange abbreviations 'gsm', 'gprs' and 'wifi' actually mean this device can connect in various ways and without cables, yes.
        • Do I have to draw the joke above the head picture for you? Great Grandparent made a joke in reference to the slashdot announcement on the iPod - "Less space than a Nomad, no wireless. Lame." Not very funny or applicable in this situation but hey, he probably liked it. I was making fun of him saying that a mobile phone had no wireless. Now I've wasted about a minute of my life explaining that - I feel silly.
  • I'll give a damn about all those features when I can drop an unconverted xvid file on the phone in less than five minutes. Make that several movies.

    In the meantime, all a phone needs for me to be happy is those little number thingies, a send button, and an alarm. And I'll certainly not be paying $600 for it.
    • And I'll certainly not be paying $600 for it.
      As a person who was looking for a new phone two weeks ago, I must agree. What I really would like to see is free software based cheap phone, without extra features I have PDA for.
  • There's a lot missing here compared to existing competitors. At the very least 850MHz GSM, EDGE, and UMTS. These are standard equipment in established WiFi phones like the Nokia E61 and others. Will this phone be important to anyone who doesn't want to hack it?
  • Will it really be this easy to wean myself from the Microsoft mobile teat?

    Gee, I dunno. Lets check the next sentence: The phone is expected to list for $600.

    There's your answer! "no."
    • I just got a PPC6700 and that's what it lists for. Of course the provider gives you a knock down rate if you get a contract, as with all phones, but it's full list price is $600. Phones are always done like that, their list is quite high, you can usually get one for no contract for somewhat less than list, but they are offered for real deals if you get a contract. Often they are actually sold at less than cost, however the company knows they'll make it back up on having you as a customer for a year or two.
    • $600 isn't a particularily high price for a cell phone, usually your network provider will provide a subsidy.
  • Make phone
    Say linux
  • Rediculously crappy. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Atlantis-Rising ( 857278 ) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @02:49AM (#16301943) Homepage
    My phone is almost two years old; it has a 640x480 65K color screen, 192 MB of memory, a 520 Mhz processor, B/G Wifi, Bluetooth, UTMS, and GSM, dual video cameras, and expansion by SD if necessary. It came unlocked, and if you really wanted, you could also put Linux on it- (there's a linux port out there.) For god's sake DLink, get your act together.
    • by talonyx ( 125221 )
      Give us a model number!
  • by wannabgeek ( 323414 ) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @02:56AM (#16301965) Journal
    The headline is misleading.

    I have a Motorola A780 - which is based on Linux too, and it is triband and it's unlocked too (Most of the GSM phones you buy in India are unlocked). IIRC, the whole A-series of Motorola is based on Linux. Yes, my phone does not have Wi-fi, but the plug talks as if it's the first Linux based cellphone.
  • Ahem... (Score:5, Informative)

    by djupedal ( 584558 ) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @03:08AM (#16302029)
    My Motorola E680i & A1200 both run Linux, and I've had the E680i for a year now...

    Of course, living in Asia makes this a bit easier, but hey, anything beats having MS on a phone.
  • T-Mobile's beta trials of GSM plus UMA (Unlicensed Mobile Access) sounds a lot better option than "any old GSM SIM and any old SIP account" If you're going to do it all with one handset you'd probably prefer it didn't act like two different phones with no linkage.

    It's nice and cool to have a single handset, address book and UI, but if you were dealing with 2 phone numbers and 2 voicemails it's not going to be as convenient. I think the options a carrier can provide to make it all look like a single phone
  • Greenphone is 695$ vs D-Link 600$, open platform, SDK (though you seems have to buy Qtopia License for development), have BT, mini-USB, touch-screen, 128Mb flash vs D-Link 24Mb, 240x320 screen resolution vs D-link 176x220. Major advantage of D-link is WiFi
  • Excuse me? My Compag LTE ELITE 4/50CX has that much memory, and it was made well over 14 years ago. WTF is a cell phone doing with that tiny amount of memory when we'll store far more than that with the help of a badly-obfuscated and non-assembler language and a horrible filing system? I mean, Java, and such, are CRAP on phones I've owned. The best were pure logic-circuit/assembler operated, and they were faster to respond (near-instant) than my java-based phone updated from unofficial firmware upgrades tha
  • Tri-band (900/1800/1900) GSM radio -- meaning it should work with any GSM-GPRS SIM card, including pre-paid SIM cards as well as those from traditional GSM service providers.

    Isn't most of Cingular's network 850mhz? This is why there are many separate "U.S." and "European" versions of GSM phones. T-Mobile (last time I looked at new phones) generally offers the "European" version (900/1800/1900) which even when unlocked aren't as useful on Cingular's network (unless you're on a patch of the old AT&T Wirel

  • What a ripoff (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Nightspirit ( 846159 ) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @03:30AM (#16302123)
    First of all you can get equivalent phones for about $300 with no contract here in the US. Maybe not with opera installed, but tack on an extra $30 and you're still way under.

    For that price I would expect it to have 128mb ram, bluetooth (how can it not have bluetooth?!?), miniSD or sd, voiceconnect, speakerphone, and a better screen. And that is what I would expect with a MS phone. One would think a linux phone would be $100 cheaper.
  • Hmm... d-link... would that be the company that recently tried to claim the the GPL was invalid in a german court case? Yeah, can see Linux fans climbing all over each other to buy stuff from this company...

    I also recall D-link being in the press recently for configuring their hardware to synchronise to someone's private timeserver, costing the individual running it several thousand in bandwidth fees.

    At one point I'd have said D-link were a quality brand. Now I'm not so sure...
    • by sopuli ( 459663 )
      Yes, and let's not forget that in relation to that court case D-link stated [gpl-violations.org]:

      "Regardless of the repeatedly-quoted judgement of the district court of Munich
        I, we do not consider the GPL as legally binding."

      So who is going to buy this phone?

  • by Mr Europe ( 657225 ) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @03:56AM (#16302229)
    Will it really be this easy to wean myself from the Microsoft mobile teat?

    Microsoft phone is a rarity. It's the Symbian-OS which is the majority.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symbian_OS [wikipedia.org]

    Microsoft lists ten models with Windows Mobile (in Americas)
    http://www.microsoft.com/windowsmobile/devices/sma rtphone/americas.mspx [microsoft.com]
  • I just got a Nokia 770 with a 4 inch 800x480 screen running Linux WiFi Bluetooth. 64MB internal Mem and upto 1Gig in the postage stamp size SMM (SSM?) memory modules.
    $350 direct from Nokia

    I love the form factor and with a cheep bluetooth phone then for less than $500 you have all this and more.
  • Not having the 850MHz band is a problem for North America. In the cities you might be fine with 1900MHz, but going in the subsurbs or the country side is going to be a problem.
    • Comments about the lack of 850MHz affecting North America are a little sensationalistic. I think T-Mobile is doing just fine without it.

      I believe Cingular is really the only carrier that relies on the 850 range. (although... I am unsure if T-Mobile has roaming agreements with Cingular)
  • Tri-band (900/1800/1900) GSM radio -- meaning it should work with any GSM-GPRS SIM card, including pre-paid SIM cards as well as those from traditional GSM service providers

    Without the 850 band this phone will have poor to no reception in lots of parts of North America.

  • How is this superior to the Qtopia Greenphone [trolltech.com]?
  • If architecture geniuses can work out virtualization so that an app can span two networked CPU nodes (across a very latent network), so eg. the GUI layer objects can run on this phone and the rest of the app can run on hosts across the LAN (or Net), these phones could become the front end to a fantastic network app collection.

    As it is, Web apps and VNC bring us to virtual virtualization. If we can tune the Linux for just GUI and networking, so the GUI is really interactive, we're virtually there.
    • by Psiren ( 6145 )
      I don't see the problem as lack of CPU power. It's the HCI that's the problem. Unless you have something at least the size of a PDA, it's difficult to do anything serious on it because of the small screen and awkward input, so it doesn't matter that the CPU power isn't there. I suspect that smartphones will die out. Those that really need them will just end up using PDA's with phone capabilities, or just use VOIP.
      • What's the difference between a smartphone and a PDA with phone capabilities? And how does VoIP exclude any of those, when the voice is just a feature of the UI of the apps accessed by the "phone"?
        • by Psiren ( 6145 )
          Like I said, HCI is the problem. The difference is a PDA sized device is more or less usable for interactive programs, whereas most smartphones I've seen so far are still phone sized devices. The screen is tiny and the keypad is useless for any significant amount of text input. Couple a wireless headset with a PDA with phone capablities and you have your smart phone, but at a useful PDA size.
          • I'm still not getting you. My Palm Treo 650 is the same form factor size as my nonphone PDAs. So are the Windows versions. Smartphones are basically PDAs with "voice networking".
  • Yeah, good luck with that. I got my 900/1800/1900 tri-band phone yesterday, only to be told by Cingular that they ONLY support 850 MHz in the entire state of Oregon - and that is always roaming and/or finding no service.
  • I've had the misfortune to use two of D-Link's products in my lifetime, and if at all possible, I'd like to avoid ever having to repeat the experience again. First was a USB wireless adapter (I think it was the DWL-122) which claimed Mac OS X compatibility, but delivered an inability to put the machine to sleep and kernel panics instead. Fora suggest that I was not alone. Needless to say I returned it for a refund.

    The other is the ongoing saga of a DSL-G604T ADSL router that a friend uses. It is Linux-bas
  • It is time the Open Source community created portable software for cell phones that allowed an informal zeroconf network to form when any capable phone was in contact with each other. Using p2p technology like BitTorrent, and from stuff like Tor, this ad-hoc network could blanket a large area REGARDLESS of service from cell phone towers, and route messages and data to and from users of the system, and over the internet. For example... Out of a group of a dozen cell phones, two have a WIFI connection at h
  • I want my Oki 900 back! Until then, I guess I'll make due with my Samsung i730. It only locks up once every couple of weeks and wirelessly syncs with the Exchange server back the office so I can keep up to date without having to get to a web browser. The fact that it also works as a modem is pretty convenient too for those random occurances when I'm at a client who doesn't have an internet connection.
  • I have not seen any mention of the fact that this is a rebadged WNC GW1 [engadget.com] and that you can already import it as the Qtopia twin [engadgetmobile.com] for around $250 unlocked.

I've looked at the listing, and it's right! -- Joel Halpern