FreeRunner first impressions

OpenMoko's FreeRunner went on sale on July 3. I ordered early that day and my FreeRunner arrived today.

This is the only product I've ever felt compelled to take unboxing photos of:

Click for FreeRunner unboxing photos

First of all, this thing is a lot tinier than I was expecting. It is not significantly larger or heavier than my current phone, a Razr. I suppose I should not be surprised because the last smaller-than-laptop device I purchased was a PDA back in the year 2001 or so. (I've never insisted on being at the cutting edge of mobile technology.)

The texture is a lot like that on the outside of a Thinkpad.

I haven't had much time to play with it except for charging it up and making a phone call (which worked, well). The screen is amazing, by the way— higher resolution than that of pretty much any other phone-like or PDA-like device you can buy today.

The software utilities that come with the phone are still in a state of churn, and it is not yet in a state where it can exercise all parts of the hardware reliably (GPS, etc.). As far as I am concerned, none of these things are deal-breakers. If you want to make the phone the best thing it can be, you had better start by removing all the man-made problems so people can work on solving real problems. I wanted a phone with freedom, and that's what I am getting.

One of my favorite things about OpenMoko is the people and the community spirit. You can really tell that this is not only a different kind of phone but also a different kind of company. Witness this exchange from the last week:

Michael <simarillion>: can somebody tell me if I will lose my warranty when I open my Freerunner.
Sean Moss-Pultz <>: [...] Do you really think we could get away with that kind of policy?! This is Openmoko. If you don't open your Neo, you should probably have your warranty voided ;-)


  1. I can't wait until I get my hands on my Freerunner!
    If possible, could you post some more pictures of the Freerunner's screen in action? It really looks awesome!

  2. Great post, thanks a lot. I've been waiting to order one until I heard a review along these lines. I'm extremely excited to get my hands on one - as soon as I happen to find one available on I'm getting it. I'd love to see any more details if you feel compelled to post them.

  3. In all likelihood, pictures would not do the screen justice. :)

    I've been playing around with the software, will make another post shortly.