Spanish company debuts handsets

Developer preview Firefox OS phones revealed

Elliot Bentley

The first dedicated hardware for Mozilla’s web-based OS is unveiled, albeit without release dates or price tags.

Having appeared in a near-complete form at CES earlier this month, Firefox OS has become one step closer to commercial reality with the announcement of dedicated hardware for the open source operating system.

Spanish manufacturer Geeksphone is to produce two “developer preview devices” designed specifically for building Firefox OS apps. Currently, Firefox OS app developers have to choose between hacking an Android phone or using a desktop simulator.

Mozilla’s first ever operating system, like Chrome OS, consists of nothing but a browser, with even the lock and home screens coded in HTML and JavaScript. It was conceived as a response to the not-entirely-open natures of iOS and Android and the shift to single-platform native apps.

Mozilla’s partnership with an obscure European company makes sense in the context of their work with Telefonica. The Spanish cellphone network has a majority stake in Vivo, the second-largest mobile operator in Firefox OS’s initial target market of Brazil. It seems likely that Geeksphone are using these preview devices as a dry run for consumer devices promised (by Mozilla) later this year.

The lower-end model, ‘Keon’, has a 1Ghz CPU, 512Mb RAM and 3.5” screen, while the higher-end ‘Peak’ has two 1.2Ghz CPUs and a higher-quality 4.3” qHD IPS screen. With Firefox OS supposedly aimed at the developing markets such as Brazil, Keon may be the more important of the two.

Unfortunately, Geeksphone’s announcement is lacking a few crucial details: so far, no pricing information has been announced (although in promotional materials Peak is promised to be “at a price you could never have imagined”) nor when the phones will be available to pre order.

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