Firefox OS developer preview phones coming in February from Geeksphone

22 Jan 2013

The first handsets carrying Mozilla’s open-source operating system for the mobile web are coming in February, for developers to play around with and help the company to build and improve on Firefox OS.

The first Firefox OS phones don’t come from Alcatel or ZTE, but are being developed by Spanish open-source smartphone manufacturer Geeksphone in partnership with Telefónica. However, these are not consumer handsets; they’re developer preview phones, aimed at hooking developers into developing and building on Mozilla’s mobile web platform using open web standards.

There are two models available: the orange Keon or white Peak. Specs for the Keon are very basic, with a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S1 processor, 3MP camera, micro-SD slot, light and proximity sensor, G-sensor, GPS, micro-USB port, 1,580mAh battery, 512MB RAM, 4GB storage and a 3.5-inch HVGA multitouch display built into the 2G, 3G and Wi-Fi-enabled smartphone.

The Peak is more powerful with two 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processors, a 4.3-inch qHD IPS multitouch display, 8MP rear camera with flash, 2MP front-facing camera, 4GB storage, and 1,800mAh battery. Other than that, its specifications mirror the Keon and both handsets come unlocked and will receive over-the-air updates.

The Peak is perhaps closer to what could be released onto the market from Mozilla, though I do hope they stick with the distinctive orange colour option.

The phones will become available in February and until then developers (or curious users) can try out Firefox OS by installing Firefox Aurora for Android on an Android phone, using the browser-based simulator, or by installing Firefox OS on their own hardware.

Mozilla is also arranging more than 20 hack days worldwide this week (most of which are taking place on 26 January), to inform developers about the new operating system and show them how to access APIs and create apps based on HTML.

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.