Well, Corbet did call it a "fully open _Android_" phone.
The most active Android (system) hacking place has always been XDA's "Dream Development" forum. While the forum is mostly user oriented, it is AFAIK the one place where all the developers meet and get their announcements done.
But everyone seems to be running only the Android stack. I think that with the release of Nokia's N900, many people interested in a "GNU/Linux" like system will be targeting the N900.
I am not particularly impressed by the Sapphire as a hardware platform. The big news here IMHO is that the ADP program is giving signs of continuity.