Preview Firefox OS smartphones released to developers

James is editor in chief of TechForge Media, with a passion for how technologies influence business and several Mobile World Congress events under his belt. James has interviewed a variety of leading figures in his career, from former Mafia boss Michael Franzese, to Steve Wozniak, and Jean Michel Jarre. James can be found tweeting at @James_T_Bourne.

Mozilla has announced that its long-awaited Firefox OS smartphones are available as a preview to developers, ramping up the open source evangelist’s mobile push.

As reported by DeveloperTech in July, the Firefox OS replaced the ‘Boot 2 Gecko’ project and utilises HTML5, and is being developed by Geeksphone in partnership with Telefonica.

Mozilla outlines three reasons why developers should build apps on its nascent OS:

  • Keeping the web open – particularly on mobile
  • Simplicity – advocating the ‘write once, deploy anywhere’ philosophy on HTML5, CSS, JavaScript or new WebAPIs
  • Freedom – being allowed to distribute apps through any store based on Mozilla’s open app store technology

The two new developer handsets (pictured below) are called Keon and Peak, with Mozilla expecting the full operation to be available by February.










“Developer preview phones will help make the mobile web more accessible to more people,” wrote Stormy Peters, Mozilla director of developer engagement in a blog post.

“Developers are critical to the web and to Mozilla’s mission to make the web accessible to everyone. We couldn’t have done this without web developers,” Peters added, extending an invitation to developers to write apps for the OS working “on bringing the power of the web to mobile”.

Of course, the big OS unveiling this month will undoubtedly be BlackBerry 10, with RIM rolling out the highly-awaited system on January 30. Mozilla is of course exerting plans of its own, and Samsung has recently announced it will begin selling smartphones running on the Tizen OS, based on Linux and supported by Intel.

So with all these new players entering the OS game, should Google, whose Android system continues to forge ahead as the market leader, be worried?

Perhaps not – the two companies maintain a working partnership, with Google paying $300m per year to be the default choice in Firefox through a royalty search deal.

Which of the new OS launches excites you the most?

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