10 open source companies to watch

10 open source companies to watch

Products range from databases to data integration

Company name: Openmoko

Founded: March 2006

Location: Taipei, Taiwan

What does the company offer? Recently released its Neo FreeRunner, a free and open source mobile platform that enables development of customized mobile devices and applications. It's a computer in the form of a phone.

Why is it worth watching? When Openmoko says open they mean it, even encouraging users to crack the case and have a go at the hardware. Freerunner can be a phone, but users can craft it into any sort of handheld device by developing their own applications or loading ones built by the Openmoko community. Openmoko has published the software, industrial design and most recently published the schematics for its Openmoko Neo 1973 and Neo FreeRunner phones.

How did the company get its start? It all started when Openmoko software engineer and electronics enthusiast, Sean Moss-Pultz, said "I can never upgrade or customize my phone. If I want new features or software, I have to buy a new phone every few months!" Inspiration followed and Moss-Pultz set out to free the mobile phone.

How did the company get its name? Open means developers and consumers have the freedom to contribute value to the platform however they like. Moko is abbreviated for Mobile Kommunikations, with the "K" dedicated to the hacker community who helped create software that powers the Openmoko platform.

CEO and background: Sean Moss-Plutz was raised in San Diego, before joining First International Computer to head up special projects. His fluency in Chinese and understanding of the mobile market led him into the CEO role at OpenMoko.

Funding: Openmoko is wholly owned by First International Computer.

Who's using the product? Corporate customers are all under nondisclosure agreements, but the product currently sells to developers.

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