I wrote a longish comment on Android, OpenMoko, and GNU/Linux on phones as a response to an LWN article on Android (the linked article is viewable by paid subscribers only until around March 11th I think, after which it's free for all to read). As a quick summary, the article is disappointed that the unlocked development version of the Android G1 phone doesn't allow installation of most of the applications from Google App Store (due to DRM enforcement being impossible with the unlocked phone, perish the thought…), and problems getting updated firmware delivered for it (while the locked version does get updates). Anyway, I decided to extend my reply into a blog article as well since it ended up being a nice update on my views and hopes on these matters.
I'm of the opinion that both Android and OpenMoko are good for one thing: getting commodity Linux-supporting phones out there on the market, hopefully some of them working with wholly free software on the Linux system side (like the OpenMoko Freerunner, for all its other lackings [it being my current phone by the way, though no, I still don't recommend it for the normal user], and unlike the G1). I would sincerely hope OpenMoko, as the pioneer in this respect, will make it at least as a hardware company with the abovementioned focus. Failing that, one hopes some of the future Android hardware manufacturers will come out with products that meet this criteria.
Hell, I wouldn't terribly mind it if OpenMoko became an Android phone developer (in fact, a port of Android for their current phones is well underway). Like other Android sellers, they'd probably have to sell locked versions to gain access to those consumers not wanting to be shut out from the majority of the (oppressive…) App Store, but as long as there'd be a choice to get an unlocked phone with its freedom unimpaired (be it under the "developer version" moniker like with the G1 or not), I'd be sufficiently okay with that.
In the end, if any of these scenarios work out, we won't be unwillingly limited to that wholly non-Linuxy Android thing that just happens to run on the Linux kernel, or even OpenMoko's OpenEmbedded derivative which I personally find somewhat inconvenient as well (though it at least uses standard components such as X). Rather, those of us who want a truly flexible GNU/Linux system with no silly restrictions and good app compatibility on our phone could run something like Debian with the more-GNU/Linuxy-than-Android freesmartphone.org phone stack (once that matures, which wasn't quite yet when I tried it last fall). And incidentally, props to OpenMoko for spurring the development of said stack. I might not like their distro a great deal, but that doesn't mean I don't appreciate their free software development efforts in general — even if things go more slowly and erratically than one would like.
So here's hoping for commoditization of phone hardware and more free Linux drivers for the embedded space as well. And sure, why not that Android VM's port to X so we can run apps written for it, at least those of the non-DRM'd variety, on our generic GNU/Linux/X11 phones ;)
PS: To be fair to the G1 and the Google team, it does seem surprisingly low on proprietary stuff considering the earlier Open Handset Alliance PR about everything being able to be closed up, "yay". The biggest (and most problematic) piece is of course — tah-dah — the OpenGL driver (which can be done without in a pinch, but one then wouldn't rather pay for the GPU either), and there were a couple of others as well. Taking an Android dev at his word on an IRC conversation on #openmoko, apparently the dev team do try to influence openness in the actual implementations as well, which is good, even if the success is limited. At least it gives hope for more free future Android phones — or what with the DRM Store issue, "developer versions" thereof…
PPS: Yeah, the Freerunner has a GPU with no OpenGL drivers so far at least, but to be fair, the chip isn't so capable on that front that this would be a big deal ;/ "Looked better on paper." It does do some stuff, like mpeg-4 decoding with a patched mplayer, though all and all, it ended up being more trouble than worth and is ditched in the next generation of OM hardware. I just mention it so nobody else feels obligated to after my G1 GPU comment ;)