If you’ve got an iOS, Android, or other mobile app already, Mozilla will fork over a free Firefox OS phone for you to keep forever and ever. All you have to do is port your app to HTML5.
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Developer preview devices started selling back in April (and sold out within hours). Then in May, Mozilla started giving the devices out in exchange for new web apps designed with those phones in mind.
Now, the Mozilla Foundation is specifically focusing on those who want to port existing (and perhaps even successful) apps from other platforms. This is an especially easy call to action for devs who built HTML5 mobile apps with App Store- or Google Play-friendly skins.
You can apply now for your own porters-only device.
The first Firefox OS devices are a bit downmarket, but Mozilla will soon be announcing partnerships with and devices from higher-end manufacturers. From our initial review:
he first Firefox OS devices are nothing like the heavy, huge pieces being churned out for the Android platform. Nor are they anything akin to Apple’s slick, slender, pricy models. The ZTE we received is lightweight in its plastic shell and small enough to fit comfortably in a child’s hands. From the first touch, it’s obvious this isn’t an iOS/Android competitor.
And from the first look, it’s immediately apparent that the UI is intended for a different audience, as well. I’ve been loving my new Windows Phone, which comes jam-packed with enough delightful animations, slides, pops, and flips to make the cast of Looney Tunes look like the residents of Madame Tussaud’s. By contrast, Firefox OS itself is incredibly simple. It’s brightly colored with large icons, ideal for a first-time smartphone user. Its Marketplace has a limited but serviceable range of apps (and yes, even on a web-centric OS, these apps do work offline). The UI doesn’t have a whirl of sliders and pull-downs and pop-ups. The camera app has a grand total of five Instagram-like effects.
But as with everything Mozilla makes, it’s important to remember we’re looking at a rough draft of what Firefox OS-powered devices will eventually become.