A couple of months ago I got a surprise email asking if I would like to be part of the of the OpenMoko Neo1973 development phase 0. Naturally since this involved me being sent a free phone - and one of the first truly open phones at that - I graciously accepted. Thank you very much to FIC and the OpenMoko team!
A week ago my Neo arrived. It's a little larger than I expected, but then that's probably a good thing since it allows for a more readable screen. The software is in the very early stages and there are some issues with charging, but already you can start to see the potential of the device. I've nearly bricked it once already by updating the bootloader incorrectly, but fortunately the USB DFU (Device Firmware Update) was still working and I was able to flash a new working bootloader. Unfortunately though at the moment my desktop system is suffering from problems with USB devices which seems to be triggered by connecting the Neo. It's not nice to plug in a new device and then suddenly find that your mouse has powered down, and won't power up until you reboot. Mousekeys just aren't quite the same.
Hopefully I will be able to find a way to contribute back to OpenMoko soon - perhaps in the area of apps development, which is my forte, although I admit I would prefer to be developing with Qt than GTK. Still, that is the platform they have chosen (and not without good reason), and if it can be polished up to a state where it looks like the mockups on the website it should be quite a nice environment indeed.
Note that this does not affect my commitment to handhelds.org or Opie. In fact, on the latter front I hope that one day I will be able to run Opie on the Neo.