Mozilla, most widely known for Firefox, today announced two devices which will act as their “Nexus” devices for the new Firefox OS. The devices, developed in conjunction with Telefonica and Geeksphone, are set to ship in February of this year.
Firefox OS takes the idea of web apps and tries to make them more native. While all programs are written in native web technologies like HTML5, Mozilla has included various operators to allow applications to take more advantage of native hardware. In typical Mozilla tradition, their view on this is that it helps to keep the web “open” for all.
While Firefox OS itself is fairly interesting, the two test devices, sadly, aren’t:
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.
Obviously, the Peak model is intended to be the premium device, while the Keon phone demonstrates how low-cost the internals can be. Mozilla has pushed the idea that Firefox OS is very efficient as one of the main advantages over other “open” operating systems, like Android; they likely hope to make this advantage seem attractive to low-cost manufacturers who specialize in developing nations.
The Peak model includes specs that aren’t entirely impressive. The qHD display is fairly low in resolution, compared to today’s 720p standard for Android devices. The SnapDragon S4 is still a snappy chip, though, and should be able to push fantastic performance given the lower-resolution display. The camera is also decent in writing, but actual results may vary.
Again, both devices will have to be properly reviewed before final judgement is made. It’s also important to remember that these devices are comparable to Google’s Nexus line: they offer a way for developers to quickly (and, hopefully, cheaply) gain entrance in to the ecosystem and begin to develop programs. Mozilla lists the following reasons as advantages of developing for Firefox OS:
- Keep the web open. Support the open web and help make sure the power of the web is available to everyone – even on mobile devices.
- Freedom. You’re not locked in to a vendor-controlled ecosystem. You can distribute your app through the Firefox Marketplace, your own website, or any other store based on Mozilla’s open app store technology.
It is always nice to see new entrants in to the mobile market. While it certainly seems as if Mozilla hopes for Firefox OS to take away from Android’s low-end dominance in developing countries instead of competing against the iPhones and Galaxy devices of the world, these developer options should demonstrate the Firefox OS more clearly to the world. And, if cheap enough, these devices may make end up making decent devices for everyday users.