Mozilla, the company behind the popular Firefox browser, has announced the availability of two developer preview phones for its upcoming Firefox OS platform. The devices are designed to get developers better acquainted with the OS, which faces an uphill battle against the dominant iOS and Android platforms.
Firefox OS is based on Boot to Gecko technology, is an open source platform, and will run HTML5 apps. Mozilla announced last summer that it intended to introduce budget Firefox OS smartphones in Brazil in early 2013, though these new devices are the first hardware we've seen for the platform.
The handsets have been developed by Geeksphone in partnership with Telefonica, and offer two distinct flavors. The low-end Keon model (orange) features a Qualcomm Snapdragon 1GHz S1 CPU, 512 MB RAM, 4 GB of storage, a 3-megapixel camera, 1580 mAh battery and a 3.5-inch HVGA multitouch display.
The Peak model (white) boasts a more powerful Snapdragon S4 1.2 GHz dual-core CPU, a larger 4.3-inch IPS display, and a 1800 mAh battery. The Peak also offers better optics in the form of front-facing 2-megapixel and rear-facing 8-megapixel cameras. Both devices feature microSD card slots for expandable memory.
In terms of specs, both models fall short of flagship devices such as the iPhone 5 or Galaxy S3, lacking high-end features such as LTE and NFC. However, these handsets are solely for developer use and won't see commercial release, meaning that they're unlikely to represent the finished product.
Apple's iOS and Google's Android platforms currently dominate the mobile space and rely heavily on developers to produce high-quality apps that increase and augment the functionality of their platforms. It seems that Mozilla understands that the quality (and to some extent, quantity) of a platform's application offering can be the defining factor in its success, and is hosting a series of App Days to aid developers in their efforts to build apps for the open source OS.
There is no concrete release date for the Keon and Peak handsets, but the first units are expected to head out to developers next month.
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