Open Source Mobile Phone Initiatives

“If you can’t open it, you don’t own it” is the motto of the MAKEculture. A Do-IT-Yourself movement of people – championed by the community around the MAKEzine – who are dedicated to re-create and re-purpose (especially high-tech) products. One sub-group is motivated to change the way mobile phones and mobile phone software services are produced. So they started to tinker and program, de- and re-construct. This began long before google announced its open-source mobile phone Operating System project Android, but google’s move shows that these guys are up to something. An open platform always allows new actors to reinvent the game.

Here are three examples of initiatives that attempt to create and exploit these opportunities:
OpenMoko – is a project that has set out to create the first component based phone: “Our first key unlocked the software, unleashing the community to recraft the code. Now, we free the case and share the keys to Industrial Design.”

Funambol – is developing and allowing everyone to setup open source push-email servers, a.k.a. Blackberry killers.

And last but not least, there is a group of tinkering entrepreneursh, engineers and innovators named the Homebrew Mobile Phone Club. They meet periodically to re-write the rules of the game: “A lot of companies have tried to create a secure wireless device that handles data as well as a computer can, but they’ve all failed,” he says. “We’re the ones who are finally going to do it, because we don’t have to play by the rules.” (Wired )

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