Free Firefox Phones For Developers: Get 'Em While They Last

The move is intended to spur development of apps to populate Firefox Marketplace, the organization's app store for apps to run on Firefox OS-based phones expected to hit markets in Europe, South America and elsewhere this summer.

The first hands-on workshop is scheduled for April 20 in Madrid, Spain, followed by another on May 18 in Bogota, Columbia, and a third in Warsaw, Poland, on June 1. Other countries expected to be part of the initial launch include Brazil, Hungary, Mexico and Serbia. Firefox OS-based devices won't begin making their way into U.S. markets until 2014.

[Related: Mozilla Firefox OS Smartphone Details Emerge ]

Ideal developers for the program are those with experience building apps for BlackBerry's WebWorks, ChromeOS, PhoneGap or WebOS or those who otherwise have HTML5 and/or JavaScript know-how. To apply for free hardware, developers must fill out a workshop application form and be ready to provide code samples.

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Also serving to prep developers, Mozilla last week updated its Firefox OS Simulator, an add-on to the Firefox browser that fully simulates the mobile operating system. Major new features include simulation for device push and device rotation and basic support for the geolocation API. Version 3.0 also includes new versions of the Firefox rendering engine and the Gaia UI, as well as stability fixes for installing and updating apps.