Calling App Writers: Cheap Firefox Smartphone Unveiled
Two models of cheaper, open-source smartphones that Mozilla is making. The devices may allow more people around the world to afford smartphones.
CREDIT: Mozilla, CC BY-SA 3.0
A cheaper smartphone, developed entirely with open-source software and designed for customers in developing countries, is ready for testing, the Mozilla Foundation announced today (Jan. 22).
The Firefox smartphone has less processing power than today's top smartphones, but it calls, texts, knows its location and can access the Internet for a fraction of the price of other phones.
The phones are not available to the public yet and, indeed, aren't ready to ship to developers. Instead, the Mozilla Foundation is trying to drum up excitement among programmers so they'll make apps for the new Firefox OS platform. Firefox phones should be available for sale to programmers in early February, Stormy Peters, Mozilla's director of developer engagement, wrote in a blog post. And the phones will use HTML5, a comparatively easy-to-learn computer language, so would-be Firefox programmers won't need as much expertise as Android or iOS programmers.
Mozilla has two phones, called the Keon and Peak, made in partnership by Spanish companies Geeksphone and Telefónica. Geeksphone lists specifications for both phones. They are far behind current top-of-the-line smartphones. They offer 1 to 1.2 Ghz of processing power, for example, while current iPhones offer 2.4 Ghz. The Firefox phones have only 3-megapixel cameras. These stats should help keep them affordable for more people in the U.S. and around the world.
Neither Mozilla nor Geeksphone have said how much the handsets will cost. In September 2012, Carlos Domingo, director of product development at Telefónica Digital, told the New York Times his company aimed for a price tag of $100 to $115.
To introduce would-be app-makers to the Firefox OS, Mozilla is hosting "App Days" in late January in 24 major cities internationally.