Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/12/31/android_freerunner/

Android runs (on) free(runner)

Open OS on open hardware

By Bill Ray

Posted in Mobile, 31st December 2008 11:41 GMT

Google's mobile phone platform, Android, has been ported to the OpenMoko's open-sourced hardware platform, though it's not quite the perfect combination as yet.

The OpenMoko Neo is an open source handset - the hardware design is freely available for implementation, or modification, by anyone conforming to the open source licence. It comes with a Linux-based OS and interface, but porting Android was an obvious, and welcome, development.

According to the screen-shots at iMAndroid the OS and user interface are both running on the Freerunner, licensing restrictions prevent the open-source handset from implementing 3G technologies, or even EDGE, so it would probably be best to use wi-fi when running the network-intensive applications bundled with Android.

The Freerunner has been available for a while, and it would be surprising to see OpenMoko selling a version with Android pre-installed given their devotion to customer choice - the whole point is that customers can install an OS of their choice, in the same way that when I buy a PC I can install an OS of my choice: Microsoft bundling not withstanding. Android is simply another choice, and possibly quite a good one.

We now have more platforms for mobile phones than we do for desktop computers, and that's not counting all the proprietary options, some consolidation is no doubt coming, so it makes sense for OpenMoko to demonstrate its hardware can support a range of options.