Introducing OpenPhoenux Neo900

openphoenux-logoThe latest device in the OpenPhoenux open hardware familiy is the Neo900, the first true successor to the Nokia N900. The Neo900 is a joint project of the Openmoko veteran Jörg Reisenweber and the creators of the GTA04/Letux2804 open hardware smartphone at Golden Delicious Computers. Furthermore, it is supported by the N900 Maemo5/Fremantle community, the Openmoko community and the OpenPhoenux community, who are working together to get closer to their common goal of providing an open hardware smartphone, which is able to run 100% free and open source software, while being independent of any big hardware manufacturer.

OpenPhoenux Neo900

OpenPhoenux Neo900


With the big ecosystem of free and open Maemo5/Fermantle applications, the hacker friendly N900, which provides an excelent hardware keyboard, the variety of free operating systems of the Openmoko community (SHR, QtMoko, Replicant, …) and the experience in designing and producing open hardware devices of the OpenPhoenux community (e.g. GTA04), they want to bring the best of all worlds together in one single device, the Neo900.

The Neo900 is meant to be an upgraded N900, with a newly designed and more powerfull motherboard, which is based upon the existing and tested OpenPhoenux GTA04 design. Together with the nice housing of the N900 (e.g. slider, hardware keyboard, big screen, …), this is trying to get “the hackers most beloved device”. In the same spirit of the OpenPhoenux community, which created unique cases for their GTA04 devices out of aluminium, wood or 3D printing, there is also an effort to build an aluminium housing for the N900, which might lead to personalized and self-produced cases for the Neo900 in the future and thus the independence of spare parts of N900 smartphones.

n900-cover1 n900-cover2

Due to the fact that the Neo900′s new motherboard is very similar to the GTA04, it is possible to reuse most of the low level software stack like development tools, the Bootloader and the Linux Kernel from the GTA04 project, with just minor modifications applied. This will speed up the software development process of this new open hardware platform a lot!

To fund the development and prototyping of this new open hardware device, which is made in Germany, a crowdfunding campain has been started a few days ago, in order to collect 25.000€ (which is by now already halfway reached!). Depending on the outcome of this fundraising the project might be able to provide better hardware specs than the following minimum keyfeature set:

  • TI DM3730 CPU (OMAP3 ARM Cortex A8) with 1+ GHz
  • 512+ MB RAM, 1+ GB NAND flash, 32+ GB eMMC, Micro-SD-Reader
  • 3.75G module for UMTS/CDMA; 4G (LTE) optional
  • USB 2.0 OTG High Speed
  • GPS, WLAN, Bluetooth
  • Accelerometer, barometric Altimeter, Magnetometer, Gyroscope
  • support of N900 camera module

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If you want to see the N900 to live on, help the independet open hardware community to succeed, or are looking for a new, hacker friendly smartphone, you should consider to support the fundraising with a donation. If you donate 100€ or more, your donation will also serve as a rebate for a finished device, once they are ready.

[Update 2013-11-04] The goal of 25.000€ is now reached, less than a week after the fundraiser started! Thanks to everybody who donated and spread the word and thus helped to make that happen. If you want to qualify for the rebate on the finished device, it is still possible to donate.

Let the OpenPhoenux fly on!

6 thoughts on “Introducing OpenPhoenux Neo900

  1. slyon Post author

    The Neo900 and GTA04 are open hardware in a way, that you can study the schematics, get the documentation of the built in chips without signing any NDA (for a few chips this was not possible, yet), study the PCB placement, to be able to fix smaller problems yourself, if you have some soldering skills and uses software (e.g. the bootloader) which does NOT lock you out of your own device.

    A good document to get into the schematics, PCB placement and chip documentation is the “GTA04 System Manual”, which you can get here: GTA04A4-4_System_Manual_Complete.pdf

    Or you can read up the OpenPhoenux definition of open hardware here: OpenPhoenux and Open Hardware – some thoughts…

    Reply
  2. Josh

    Did I got you right that goldelico simply invented their own definition of “open hardware” and call it “in the spirit of openmoko”?
    Sounds like pure bullshit to me.
    Here are what open hardware really means:
    http://downloads.openmoko.org/developer/schematics/GTA02/
    Where can I get netlist for GTA04? Footprints?
    Will it be published for neo900?
    Hell, even on their own website the only place where you can find “open hardware” are in the links to misleading articles by undereducated journalists!
    Why not cut the crap and be honest right upfront about it?

    Reply
    1. slyon Post author

      No. There is not a single definition of “open hardware” so Goldelico sticks to a definition by Graham Seaman, which was written back in 1999 and distinguishes between “free hardware”, “open source hardware” and “open hardware”, as that is what fits their needs. For details see the referenced post from the above comment.

      I think as a creator of a project everyone is free to choose whatever model he likes, there is no difference to software project, where the creator is free to choose the license which fits his needs. And taking into account that Goldelico’s hardware provides a lot of freedoms, compared to closed hardware of the big Vendors, it can pretty much be called “open hardware”.

      Reply
    2. goldelico

      Yes we know that link where you can download the GTA02 schematics and other informations.
      The only more information compared to the GTA04 you will find there are some gerber files and an incomplete list called “Net List” in a format that you can’ really work with.
      Nobody of those who complained about the wording “open hardware” could tell us so far what he/she really needs *more* information than is made available.
      Therefore we simply reject such requests as being ideologically founded and not based on practical reasons or specific projects they have in mind. Or want to help the project. We only see that they demand something from us, but we do not see any sign of return as an open source community should give. So in this case it is opposite to “make something open source and the community will give you back something”.
      And as we want to be “Independent”, we also want to be independent from aggressive ideologists and don’t really care… We want to do something good for mankind – but voluntarily.

      Reply

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