Paul Boddie's Free Software-related blog

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Neo900: And they’re off!

Having mentioned the Neo900 smartphone initiative previously, it seems pertinent to note that it has moved beyond the discussion phase and into the fundraising phase. Compared to the Ubuntu Edge, the goals are fairly modest – 25000 euros versus tens of millions of dollars – but the way this money will be spent has been explained in somewhat more detail than appeared to be the case for the Ubuntu Edge. Indeed, the Neo900 initiative has released a feasibility study document describing the challenges confronting the project: it contains a lot more detail than the typical “we might experience some setbacks” disclaimer on the average Kickstarter campaign page.

It’s also worth noting that as the Neo900 inherits a lot from the GTA04, as the title of the feasibility study document indicates when it refers to the device as the “GTA04b7″, and as the work is likely to be done largely within the auspices of the existing GTA04 endeavour, the fundraising is being done by Golden Delicious (the originators of the GTA04) themselves. From reading the preceding discussion around the project, popular fundraising sites appear to have conditions or restrictions that did not appeal to the project participants: Kickstarter has geographical limitations (coincidentally involving the signatory nations of the increasingly notorious UKUSA Agreement), and most fundraising sites also take a share of the raised funds. Such trade-offs may make sense for campaigns wanting to reach a large audience (and who know how to promote themselves to get prominence on such sites), but if you know who your audience is and how to reach them, and if you already have a functioning business, it could make sense to cut the big campaign sites out of the loop.

It will certainly be interesting to see what happens next. An Openmoko successor coming to the rescue of a product made by the mobile industry’s previously most dominant force: that probably isn’t what some people expected, either at Openmoko or at that once-dominant vendor.

One Response to “Neo900: And they’re off!”

  1. Joerg Reisenweber Says:

    Well, it panned out way better than we hoped for in our wildest dreams. In one way, since we reached the financial goal after 4d14h.
    In another aspect we are still not even there, needing at least 200 customers who demonstrate their willingness to buy a device, by donating >=100EUR. We are at less than half of that right now. Since we’re not going to produce for the shelf, we need at least 200 to start mass production eventually, so I hope this campaign will continue to thrive like it did during the last 6 days.
    A big THANKYOU to all those who put their trust and support on us.