There is an intriguing project I heard about recently; Openmoko – the project is interesting as it combines the development of open source software alongside open source hardware and aim together to make an open mobile phone. The project has produced one handset thus far, the Neo FreeRunner (you can see it in3D here). The device is not totally open source as it uses components from other manufacturers (e.g a Samsung 2442 SoC CPU) by the handset does carry the philosophy for much of it’s design.
In addition to this, there is operating system for the phone; based on Linux and the current version is called Om 2008. As the phone is not locked to set software, naturally alternatives have been developed. Openmoko phones now support Debian, Gentoo, Maemo, Qt Extended Improved and Android.
The project has also spun off an intriguing little device; the WikiReader; a portable device that holds a copy of the free open source encyclopaedia Wikipedia on it. Users can update the data by purchase of a new SD memory card or downloading a new copy to their own device’s SD card. While if you own a smart phone that can access the web, you can get Wikipedia on the go, anyway, I think this may have some great applications for developing countries allowing access to a huge mass of information simply, cheaply without the need for net access. It will also be interesting to see what others may do with a open reading device?