On Tuesday, Madrid-based online retailer Geeksphone unveiled the sale of two new Firefox OS developer smartphones, called Keon and Peak. Unfortunately, due to a limited stock, those eager to get their hands on the open source-based phones will have to wait.
Introduced in January 2013, Firefox OS is a new mobile, Linux-based open source operating system for smartphones from Mozilla, a free software community also known as the creators of the Firefox Web browser. Firefox OS aims to support HTML5 apps that are written using new Open Web APIs technologies; apps built for this platform will have also have the ability to run on other smartphone platforms.
"In Firefox OS, HTML5 apps can do 'phone things' -- they can make the phone vibrate, make a phone call or send a text message," said Stormy Peters, director of websites and developer engagement at Mozilla, in a blog post. "We are announcing our new Firefox OS developer preview phones because we believe that developers will help bring the power of the web to mobile."
According to Geeksphone's Web page, "this product is no longer in stock," and its online shop has shut down temporarily because the products are sold out. It is unclear how many units were available; Geeksphone could not be reached for comment by press time.
The cheaper of the two phones, the Keon is priced at $119, while the Peak is priced at $195 excluding taxes. Both will be shipped worldwide. The Keon is equipped with a 3.5-inch 480-x-320-pixel screen, 3-megapixel camera and 1GHz Snapdragon processor. With slightly enhanced features, the Peak has a larger 4.30-inch 960-x-540-pixel multitouch screen, 1.2GHz dual-core processor, 8-megapixel rear camera and 2-megapixel front camera.
Not tailored for consumers just yet, these phones are targeted at developers, who will be able to see a preview of Firefox OS and test their apps on a Firefox OS handset.
"With early access to hardware, developers can test the capabilities of Firefox OS in a real environment with a mobile network and true hardware characteristics like the accelerometer and camera that are not easily tested on the Firefox OS Simulator," wrote Peters in the blog post. "Plus, new hardware is fun to play with!"
New features as well as performance and stability enhancements are expected to be added in the future.
Manufacturers including Alcatel, Huawei, LG Electronics and Sony are expected to have consumer-targeted Firefox OS phones by 2014.
PUBLISHED APRIL 23, 2013