updated 01:14 pm EST, Tue January 22, 2013
First devices using HTML5-based apps for native app functions
Mozilla has shown off two "developer preview" smartphones running its mobile Firefox OS. Named the Keon and Peak, the pair of unlocked mobile phones have been make in partnership with Geeksphone of Spain, and are designed to give developers a platform to create and test apps for the new mobile operating system.
The Keon houses a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S1 processor, a 3.5-inch screen, 3-megapixel rear camera, and a 1580mAh battery. The higher-specification Peak has a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 dual-core processor running at 1.2GHz, an 8-megapixel rear camera, a 2-megapixel front-facing camera, a 1800mAh battery, and a larger 4.3-inch screen. Both devices have 512MB of RAM and 4GB of storage, with each having a microSD slot to expand the storage further, as well as other standard smartphone features, like Wi-Fi and GPS.
FireFox OS uses apps created using HTML5, with software developed with the operating system in mind being able to access various phone features. Previous demonstrations have shown HTML5 apps making phone calls and sending messages, typically only performed by applications native to the device. Mozilla hopes that this will make the web "accessible to everyone," and allowing developers to work without needing to be part of a vendor-controlled ecosystem, such as via Google Play.
The handsets will be demonstrated and launched in Brazil through Vivo initially, with the first phones going on the market in February. Sprint, Deitsche Telekom and others have also signed up to distribute the handsets, while Alcatel and ZTE will be its first manufacturing partners.