The Complete Open Phone

by Bruce Stewart

Matthew Hamrick is the co-founder of the Silicon Valley Homebrew Mobile Phone Club, and while he appreciates the strides we're seeing in openness in telecom with devices like Trolltech's QTopia Greenphone, he makes a plea for a truly open mobile phone platform in this ETel op ed piece.

Let me pitch you on the idea I'm calling "the complete open phone." The goal of the complete open phone is to provide developers a complete platform for innovation. Starting with the mobile phone hardware and ending with the wireless network services. I think we all know that a nice open source operating system is a key component. How 'bout Linux? Add to that the GNU tools and we're well on our way. Just add a good idea and some talented software engineers and you're half-way to changing the world, one handset at a time.

I recently saw a demo of a home-made Linux-based cell phone that was put together with inexpensive off-the-shelf parts at an O'Reilly planning session for our upcoming Emerging Telephony Conference, and I'd like to think this future that Matthew is hoping for is just about upon us. One thing that I know for sure is that the people who are pushing this envelope the hardest will be at next February's ETel conference, and I'm already looking forward to it.