Firefox operating phones revealed

BY: Abigail Bonsu

Geeksphone is offering developers two types of Firefox phonesMozilla has published details of the first smartphones to be powered by its Firefox operating system.

Two handsets are to be made by a small Spanish firm called Geeksphone and will be targeted at developers ahead of the system's formal launch.

The platform is based on the HTML5 web programming language and is being marketed as offering software writers more "freedom" than alternatives.

However, it faces competition from other soon-to-be-released systems.

Blackberry 10, Ubuntu, Tizen and Sailfish are all due for release for smartphones before the end of 2013, joining a market already occupied by Android, iOS, Windows Phone, Blackberry 7 and Symbian among others.

One analyst said he did not believe there was enough room in the market for all to survive.

Low and high-end

The two new handsets are codenamed Keon and Peak.

Keon is the more basic model, including a 3.5in (8.9cm) screen, a 3MP (megapixel) camera and Qualcomm's low-end Snapdragon S1 processor.

Peak has a bigger 4.3in display, an 8MP camera and a more powerful Snapdragon S4. Mozilla noted this was probably "slightly faster" than the first generation devices that would be marketed to the public.

It added that Geeksphone's phones would be made available for sale next month, but did not provide a price.

It said that when devices went on general sale they would be cheaper than many alternatives and would be targeted at emerging markets.

Open source

The Mozilla Foundation already uses the Firefox brand for its web browser - an offshoot of the 1990's Netscape Navigator product. The software is developed by a community of volunteers and is run as an open source project, meaning its code is accessible to others allowing them to make their own modifications.

The same principles are applied to the operating system and Mozilla highlights the fact that coders can market their apps through their own websites or any store they wish in addition to the organisation's own marketplace.

It adds that the lightweight nature of the system means that apps should run smoothly and offer "optimal battery life" on low-end devices. - BBC