Mozilla has announced developer preview phones for its mobile operating system, Firefox OS. An open phone using open web technologies is an exciting prospect for developers.
Announcing the Firefox OS Developer Preview devices on Mozilla Hacks, Stormy Peters,Director of Websites and Developer Engagement at Mozilla, explains that they are being launched:
because we believe that developers will help bring the power of the web to mobile ...Developers are critical to the web and to Mozilla’s mission to make the web accessible to everyone.
The phones, being developed by Spanish-based Geeksphone in partnership with Telefonica, are not for end users, they are specifically designed to encourage and enable developers to create web apps that not only run like native apps but are the native apps on this particular OS.
The specifications of the two models are expected to be available next month are:
The Keon model
- CPU Qualcomm Snapdragon S1 1Ghz
- UMTS 2100/1900/900 (3G HSPA)
- GSM 850/900/1800/1900 (2G EDGE)
- Screen 3.5″ HVGA Multitouch
- 3 MP Camera
- 4GB ROM, 512 MB RAM
- MicroSD, Wifi N, Light and proxmity Sensor, G-Sensor, GPS, MicroUSB
- 1580 mAh battery
- Over the air updates
- Unlocked, add your own SIM card
The Peak model
- CPU Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 1.2Ghz x2.
- UMTS 2100/1900/900 (3G HSPA).
- GSM 850/900/1800/1900 (2G EDGE).
- Screen 4.3″ qHD IPS Multitouch.
- Camera 8 MP (back) + 2 MP (front).
- 4 GB (ROM) and 512 (RAM).
- MicroSD, Wifi N, Light and proxmity Sensor, G-Sensor, GPS, MicroUSB, Flash (camera).
- Battery 1800 mAh.
You can of course continue to develop for Firefox OS on the desktop using the simulator and Mozilla is currently running Firefox OS App Days with events in more than 20 locations around the world that are to designed to provide "the opportunity to learn, hack, share and celebrate Firefox OS" .
There is also a new email newsletter, Firefox Apps & Hacks, that will keep you up to date with Firefox OS news, including the availability of the Geeksphone devices.
At the moment the price hasn't been announced but Geekphone is hinting that it will be reasonable and available some time in February.
Any developer with the goal of creating apps that make a profit can't really take Firefox OS seriously, for now, even with developer phones becoming available. You simply have to compare the Firefox OS market with that of Android, iOS, WP8 or RIM. Can you even imagine the Firefox OS user base growing to the same sort of size as Android? It would take quite a shift in the current state of the mobile market. Not impossible but not easy.
At the moment Firefox OS is a big gamble but there is another take.
The offer of an open phone, using any SIM, with open technologies is good enough to make it an attractive proposition, even without a mass market to sell apps into.
This is exciting stuff and there is nothing like exciting new systems that might just have a future to interest a programmer.
No matter how irrational it might seem from an investment point of view - I want one!