Not long ago I attended O’Reilly’s FooCamp and had the opportunity to fiddle with OpenMoko’s FreeRunner. A dozen of these nifty little gems littered a table in the MAKE workspace. I was rushing between events but I managed to squeeze in a few minutes of playtime.
While the FreeRunner has taken some hits for various shortcomings I have to say I was fairly impressed after only a few minutes of messing with it. It has good weight and feel and I had no problem navigating through the screens. While I did not have time to make a call I noticed that a number of participants had managed to do so.
I would love to see the FreeRunner develop into a viable smartphone alternative, much the same way Ubuntu has as an OS, but for right now I think it is pretty much a geek only tool. For more info on this device check out Sam Churchill’s write up over at dailywireless.org. Today Gizmodo announced that OpenMoko is releasing the chip schematics so that you can build your own.