Mobile

Mozilla debuts two Firefox OS developer preview phones — low-end stays the star

With most smartphone makers endlessly obsessed with high-end devices sporting bigger and better specs, Mozilla’s focus on low-end devices with Firefox OS is simply refreshing.

Today, the browser maker unveiled two developer preview phones for Firefox OS that it is offering in partnership with Spanish startup Geeksphone, which is building the phones, and Telefonica.

True to its low-end focus, Mozilla is placing the spotlight mostly on the less-powerful Keon (above). It features a small 3.5-inch screen, a 1GHz processor, 4GB of storage, and 512MB of RAM. With those specs, the Keon would barely even cut it as a cheap Android phone in the U.S. today. But in Brazil, where Mozilla is debuting Firefox OS phones later this year, it’s representative of devices that many consumers can actually afford.

firefox os dev phone peakOn the slightly more powerful end, Geeksphone is also working on a developer preview phone called Peak (right). It sports a 4.3-inch screen, 1.2GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor, and a much better camera than the Keon.

These aren’t phones meant to take on the iPhone — instead, they’re aiming to get developers comfortable with Firefox OS and its complete reliance on open web standards, which is Mozilla’s big selling point for the platform. Apps for Firefox OS are built entirely in HTML5 but will have the same sort of functionality as native apps on iOS and Android. That means the apps will be easy to build, even for amateur developers.

“Developer preview phones will help make the mobile web more accessible to more people,” said Stormy Peters, the director of developer engagement at Mozilla, in a blog post today. “Developers are critical to the web and to Mozilla’s mission to make the web accessible to everyone. Hundreds of millions of people worldwide use Firefox to discover, experience, and connect to the Web — a web based on open standards and open technologies. We couldn’t have done this without web developers.”

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