The truly open smartphone
that cares about your privacy.

Learn more...

Who is working on the Neo900?

The project was initiated by Jörg H.-G. Reisenweber (Openmoko Veteran) and Nikolaus Schaller (OpenPhoenux / GTA04) and is now run by Neo900 UG (haftungsbeschränkt). The electronics are developed with the help of Golden Delicious Computers GmbH & Co. KG in Bavaria, Germany. Werner Almesberger (another Openmoko veteran) assists on technical and related issues. The website is operated by Sebastian Krzyszkowiak (FSO / SHR).

Why are you reusing the N900 case?

Neo900 is a small project targeted at enthusiasts. Our goal is to produce a few hundred devices. With such small production runs, designing and producing new case can easily eat most of the resources. Reusing the case as well as known good and matching LCD, digitizer, camera and so on of already existing device makes this project economically feasible.

The assembled device will differ from standard N900 only by being around 2.8mm thicker to fit the modem inside.

Is it just a motherboard or a complete device?

Both! You will be able to order either the motherboard alone (with all extra parts needed to put it into a N900 case), or a complete device in a refurbished N900 case. You can see what we plan to put inside in our specification and feasibility study.

The complete device will be ready-to-use at arrival, but please take into account that initially your operating system of choice might be in beta state or even not ready at all.

How much will it cost?

According to current calculations, the cost of the motherboard should be somewhere around 990 EUR. The complete device will cost about 150 EUR more, depending on prices and availability of N900 spare parts. Those prices are just recent calculations, are subject to change, and depend heavily on the number of orders. (See also exchange rate effects.)

How much is my donation (above 100 EUR) worth?

If you made a donation greater than 100 EUR early on in the project you were given a voucher equal to the donated amount when we launched our shop.
This amount carry a 2% monthly interest until the day we require the full payment for the device, even if you use the provided voucher before this is asked for.

If you donated 100 EUR 2013-11-01 and we ask for full payment by 2015-11-01, your donation would be worth:
148.00 EUR; 2% monthly interest from original donation * 24 (months)

When and where can I buy it?

You are now encourraged to place a pre-order with down payment in our shop in order to secure your device!

We have reached the stage where we have began to source real hardware for the products (chips, cases, etc.), accept pre-orders and are doing preparations for the production run.
Most of the high level design are completed and have come down to a considerable degree of detail ( Block diagram, IR, NFC, Hackerbus, schematics ) and have also performed a first set of hardware tests.

Which networks will be supported by Neo900?

We're going to provide a few modem variants. Consult your network operator to check which option will be the most suitable for you.

Subject to change without prior notice during design evaluation.

PLS8-E PLS8-US PHS8-P/J/K PXS8
LTE (FDD) 800 MHz (Bd20)
900 MHz (Bd8)
1800 MHz (Bd3)
2100 MHz (Bd1)
2600 MHz (Bd7)
700 MHz (Bd17)
850 MHz (Bd5)
AWS (1700/2100 MHz) (Bd4)
1900 MHz (Bd2)
- -
UMTS 900 MHz (Bd8)
1800 MHz (Bd3)
2100 MHz (Bd1)
850 MHz (Bd5)
AWS (1700/2100 MHz) (Bd4)
1900 MHz (Bd2)
800 MHz (Bd6)
850 MHz (Bd5)
900 MHz (Bd8)
1900 MHz (Bd2)
2100 MHz (Bd1)
800 MHz (Bd6)
850 MHz (Bd5)
900 MHz (Bd8)
1900 MHz (Bd2)
2100 MHz (Bd1)
GSM/GPRS/EDGE 900 MHz
1800 MHz
850 MHz
900 MHz
1800 MHz
1900 MHz
850 MHz
900 MHz
1800 MHz
1900 MHz
850 MHz
900 MHz
1800 MHz
1900 MHz
CDMA2000 - - - 800 MHz
1900 MHz
more details more details more details

Also see: forum discussion, manufacturer Gemalto's product overview (p.16), Wikipedia LTE list and frequency bands as well as Wikipedia UMTS list and frequency bands.

Please note that some CDMA carriers may require special procedures in order to activate the device or may even not allow it at all. Consult your network operator for more details.

Will there be free GFX drivers available?

Unfortunately, not free as in "Free Software" (i.e., Open Source). The Neo900 CPU chip will come with a built-in PowerVR graphics processor, for which no free drivers exist yet. However, closed drivers for the PowerVR are available, e.g., for the N900 and N9 (bundled with Maemo), or from TI (used for example by OpenPandora). Fortunately, Neo900 will still support running a 100% free operating system, as 3D acceleration is not necessary for the device to function. Distributions like SHR or QtMoko already run very smoothly on GTA04 without any non-free blobs.

What happens with the funds if you fail?

If the project can't continue for whatever reasons, remaining funds are paid back fairly and equally. Funds already used won't be returned. However, we promise to do everything (including very open communication) to finish the project.

What do you mean by "100% Free Software stack"?

Not a single line of closed code will have to run on the main CPU to be able to use the Neo900.
Using free telephony stacks like FSO or one from QtMoko, FLOSS Linux drivers will be available for every single component.
In order to get 3D acceleration working, which is not necessary to operate the device, closed drivers would be needed.

What about peripherals?

The WiFi chipset (WL1273L) will require a binary-only firmware file to be loaded. An open-source driver (WL12xx) is part of the Linux mainline kernel.

We unfortunately cannot provide free baseband modem firmware, as there is no option available on the market which would be able to fulfil this requirement. Even if it existed, it would bring very little value to the users, as operating a radio device with modified firmware on public networks without recertification is prohibited in most jurisdictions of the world and privacy concerns in cellular networks are mostly related to what happens on the network side, not inside the device.

Isn't a non-free baseband firmware a privacy issue?

We're going to address privacy concerns of non-free modem firmware by ensuring that the modem has access to no more data than absolutely necessary, so it won't be able to spy on anything that's not already available on carrier side. On Neo900 one can be sure that the modem is actually turned off when requested, not just pretending to be. Users will be notified in case of the modem wanting to do something without their consent.

Unlike some other smartphones do, Neo900 won't share system RAM with the modem and system CPU will always have full control over the microphone signal sent to the modem. You can think of it as a USB dongle connected to the PC, with you in full control over the drivers, with a virtual LED to show any modem activity.

Which operating system will be preinstalled?

The device will ship with Linux BSP and possibly an installer to enable the user to download and install a community OS of their choice.
We won't develop any operating system by ourselves, but we strongly support several community driven software projects like Maemo through the Fremantle Porting Task Force, SHR, FSO, etc.

Can't the screen be made bigger?

No. A key characteristic of this project is to reuse the N900 case, and it's not possible to make the screen bigger without changing the case. See also one of the previous answers.

Why a resistive touchscreen?

For the same reasons as above. However, we truly consider the resistive touch screen from N900 as superior to capacitive screens, thanks to increased precision and exceptionally good sensitiveness, unlike many other resistive screens. This touchscreen enables users to come up with lots of impressive use cases which wouldn't be possible on capacitive screens. We believe that choosing a capacitive one would be considered a regression by current Maemo and Openmoko power users.

Why won't you use that new shiny 16-core CPU with 32 GB RAM?

Our main intention is to use as much as possible from existing hardware and software projects. We're going to base Neo900 on the already working GTA04 board (which in fact is a similar upgrade for Neo Freerunner as Neo900 is for N900) and that allows us to cut costs and reduce project risks. With the usage of similar components to those present in N900 we're also gaining an additional advantage, which is software compatibility with both N900 and GTA04.

Will Neo900 rock?

Absolutely!