Mozilla Intros Firefox-Based Smartphones to Stir Dev Support
Mozilla has introduced two developer preview smartphones running on its open-source Firefox operating system. The phones, called Keon and Peak, run HTML5 apps and were developed by Geeksphone in partnership with carrier Telefonica in Spain.
The phones are expected to be available in early February, and pricing information is likewise still to come.
Mozilla is introducing the phones early for developers, wrote Stormy Peters, Mozilla's director or Websites and Developer Engagement, in a Jan. 22 blog post, because "developers are critical to the Web and to Mozilla's mission to make the Web accessible to everyone."
Millions of people, she said, already use Firefox to connect to the Web.
"[It's a] Web based on open standards and open technologies. We couldn't have done this without Web developers. Now we are working on bringing the power of the Web to mobile, through Firefox OS, along with all the power of open standards and an open community, and once again, we'd like to invite Web developers to join us," Peters wrote.
The Keon is the more affordable and smaller of the two. It features a 3.5-inch HVGA Multi-touch display, a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S1 processor, a 3-megapixel camera, 4GB of ROM and 512 of RAM, WiFi, a microSD slot, GPS, a micro-USB port and a 1,580-milliamp-hour battery, among other features.
The Peak features a 4.3-inch qHD IPS multi-touch display, a 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor, an 8-megapixel camera on the back and a 2-megapixel camera up front. It also comes with 4GB of ROM, 512 of RAM and an 1800mAh battery, as well as the same ports and perks of the Keon.
Geeksphone calls the Peak a "powerful device" with "cutting-edge features" for "those who like to be one step beyond."
The Keon is bright orange with light-orange details, while the Peak is white with bright orange accents. Neither phone supports LTE, but both will be offered unlocked, with users able to add their own SIM cards.
On Jan. 19 Mozilla kicked off its Firefox OS App Days event, which will run through Feb. 2, with the majority of the events taking place on Jan. 26.
"Come learn how easy it is to create an app based on HTML that has access to all of the APIs on your device. Using the same Web technologies you are used to, you can make your app give alerts by vibrating the phone, take picture with the camera or more. Play with it, experiment, try out your Website, create an app," Peters wrote.
Why support Firefox OS?
Geeksphone calls it powerful, open and innovative. Powerful because "the Web is the platform, which means not only taking down barriers, but also a lighter system that makes your apps run smoothly and [have] an optimal battery life"; open because open source means "full control on your apps and how you distribute them"; and innovative because the latest Web standards are the core of the OS. A true multiplatform system means "the developer can take his applications to their full potential."
Google's Android currently dominates the smartphone market—during the third quarter of 2012 it was on 72 percent of the devices that shipped worldwide, according to Gartner, and Apple's iOS holds the majority share of what's left over. Still, analysts have been expecting more platforms to find steady footing in the wireless marketplace.
Research In Motion will introduce BlackBerry 10 later this month, Microsoft is making a push with Windows Phone 8, and Samsung has said it will begin selling phones running Tizen this year. Tizen is the Intel-backed, Linux-based OS with roots in Nokia's homegrown MeeGo OS.
U.K.-based Canonical early this year announced plans to introduce smartphones running the Linux-based Ubuntu operating system. Like Firefox, Ubuntu already has a user base—approximately 20 million people currently use it as their enterprise desktop OS.
Mozilla said its Peak and Keon phones will be available to developers in limited numbers, with more details to come.