Lazyweb: Best cell phone for Python hacking?

My cell phone's charger wound up left in St. Maarten, and since it was a piece of junk anyway I'm thinking I'll replace it with a reasonably "hackable" cell phone.  I'd particularly like something that can run Python, which I *think* limits me to Nokia S60-based devices.  So, what does the lazy-web suggest, what's the best Python-hackable handset available (I'll be on the Rogers/Fido network in Toronto mostly, GSM)?  I'm hoping to keep the cost non-stratospheric, but it'll be my primary handset for a few years.  I'm thinking of writing software on a computer to run on the phone, incidentally, not writing software on the phone itself.

Of course, who knows if I'll get enough time to really program in Python for it, but still, I'd like the option.


  1. Cory

    Cory on 02/11/2009 9:54 p.m. #

    I don't know if it's the "best" (I haven't tried to hack mine yet) but Android-based handsets, of which there is currently one instance: the G1, at least are gaining support for Jython.

    The platform is fully open source and promises to be an *awesome* development environment eventually. If you're thinking of developing apps, rather than just hacking your phone, Android is looking like a better and better target every day.

  2. Rene Dudfield

    Rene Dudfield on 02/11/2009 10:33 p.m. #


    Also, note... you can run CPython on windows mobile devices... I have a windows mobile phone with python on it. But I haven't really done much with it. It's up to version 2.5.

    However... I think there's a lot more going on in the nokia scene... since nokia itself writes python for their phone (with lots of community support).

    Also pygame is available for nokia pys60 phones now :) The nokia api is quite nice, and fairly pythonic. There is just recently a python2.5 on nokia... up until a few months ago it was a python2.2.


  3. PN

    PN on 02/11/2009 10:47 p.m. #

    iPhone gives you CPython 2.51 currently although on jailbroken phones. That means if you have commercial interests in selling a Python application on iPhone you do it through Cydia + Paypal instead of through Apple's AppStore --this business model is used by many developers to bypass AppStore limitations.

    It definitely cuts down your commercial userbase to Jailbroken iPhone's but the market penetration of iPhone is so large you will find re Jailbroken subset of the market will be more sizeable than other altenatives.

    From a programming standpoint the device is like a standalone computer so you don't need custom APIs to access most things and the rest is PyObjC which gives you full access to SDK items but it is the same as writing desktop OSX apps using PyObjC so the skillset there go cross platform.

  4. ignacio

    ignacio on 02/12/2009 12:09 a.m. #

    > I'll be on the Rogers/Fido network


    You're so pooched. Good luck getting something programmable.

  5. Anders

    Anders on 02/12/2009 2:29 a.m. #

    There is the OpenMoko FreeRunner of course.

    I have one, and I can't recommend it as an actual full-time-phone, but as a programmable gadget it should be quite alright.


  6. Kai

    Kai on 02/12/2009 2:43 a.m. #

    I have a Nokia E71. It's a great phone, has all the bells and whistles and Python runs on it just fine. If you look at there's the new Python development version based on Python 2.5 and with much improved tools to distribute Python based apps to other S60 phones.


  7. Ron Stephens

    Ron Stephens on 02/12/2009 9:44 a.m. #

    Check out my web page

    "Python for Mobile Systems"

  8. Mike Fletcher

    Mike Fletcher on 02/12/2009 10:33 a.m. #

    Hmm, this does need to be my full-time phone. Simon has an OpenMoko, so I could borrow that and see if it worked for me (he doesn't really use it much any more), but I'm guessing it's a non-starter. This will be my primary business contact point.

  9. Mike Fletcher

    Mike Fletcher on 02/12/2009 12:01 p.m. #

    So far this sounds like the most appropriate solution.

    I have a mental block on buying an iPhone, and I don't really want to be fighting to keep the phone jail-broken just to use it.

    I'd rather use cPython than Jython, but other than that Android is probably the next most likely candidate from this list.

    Thanks all.

  10. Benno Dielmann

    Benno Dielmann on 02/12/2009 1:12 p.m. #

    I've programmed a small gui application using PythonCE and Tkinter on a Windows Mobile 2003 phone. Actually, it is a vocabulary training application. Works quite well, but the gui "doesn't look very at home" in the device - it just looks like Tkinter on a windows pc...

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