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08 February 2012, 12:24

Upgrade kit for Openmoko smartphones now available

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Zoom The new Openmoko GTA04 motherboard

Although Openmoko Inc. has long since pulled out of manufacturing smartphones, open source smartphone development goes on. Just over one year from unveiling the prototype, German company Golden Delicious has now added the long awaited replacement motherboard for Openmoko smartphones to its online store.

The replacement board updates Openmoko Neo 1973 and Freerunner phones to a more current level of technology. After opening the casing, users have to remove components such as the buttons, display and speaker, then remove the old motherboard and replace it with the new board, which has the same dimensions as the old one. Users who don't fancy doing this themselves can, for an extra €10, get Golden Delicious to do it for them or order a new phone for around €750.

The new PCB includes a GPS receiver, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth adaptors, accelerometer and positional sensors, an electronic compass and a UMTS modem. The processing power is provided by an 800 MHz Texas Instruments OMAP 3730 SoC. This is not quite state of the art – the current trend is for dual-core processors with clock speeds in excess of 1 GHz.

The PCB is available for a price of €666.66 and the company says it will ship immediately if it has stock, though orders from stock are currently being handled as a "request to supply". Golden Delicious is also offering a group buying option, with the aim of reducing production costs by enabling them to undertake a small production run. The first 50 advance orders for just under €450 have already been placed, but order numbers have not yet reached the 100 mark. The planned delivery date for this small production run is late April 2012.

The GTA04 board is open source hardware. Designs, documentation and circuit diagrams are licensed under open source licences and anyone can carry out further development work on them. The CAD files for the GTA01 casing into which the board fits are available in a 3D printing format, meaning that users can print it themselves or have it printed by a third party provider.


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