Mozilla has revealed the first two developer preview phones to run Firefox OS. What does this tell us about Firefox OS as a system?
Firefox OS is a system that was covered in this blog at the end of last year. It is a new mobile operating system that will have no native apps. Every app is a web app. This means that Mozilla is working to expand the boundaries of HTML5 to allow you access to features from a web browser that would normally require a native app. Mozilla is working to allow websites access to the camera, your address book, or send SMS messages. This means that the only difference between a web app and a web page is the author’s intention. If you have the skills to build a web page from scratch you can write an app. It’s that easy.
Firefox OS Preview Phones Specs
Mozilla is starting with two different models. They are the Keon model and the Peak model. It seems that the Peak model was the one shown off at the CES 2013 conference. The Peak model is the more powerful of the two.
These specs are very low. They’re slightly better than the original iPhone. The target audience for Firefox OS would be developing countries. This means that they need cheap parts.
The Peak model has a 4.3″ screen with a 540×960 resolution. The Keon model has a 3.5″ screen with a 480×320 resolution. This means that the Peak model has 256 PPI and the Keon model has 164 PPI. Both screens support multi-touch.
Both phones will have a Qualcomm Snapdragon CPU. The Peak model will have the more powerful 1.2 Ghz dual-core S4 8225 processor. The Keon model will have a 1 Ghz S1 7225AB processor.
The bigger screen and stronger CPU requires the Peak model to have a stronger battery. The Peak model will have a 1800 mAh battery, while the Keon model will have a 1580 mAh battery.
Internet connection wise these phones can connect over a 2G Edge connection, a 3G HSPA, or WiFi. These phones come unlocked. They can run on any network that supports these connections. In America a 3G HSPA is available on AT&T and T-Mobile.
Both models support GPS, MicroSD, MicroUSB, Light and Proximity Sensor, and a G-Sensor. They come with 512 MB of RAM and 4 GB of ROM. That last stat confused many developers. We have never seen ROM ever listed in specs on a phone. A representative from Mozilla speculated that it was an internal HDD spec, but they were not sure themselves.
The Keon model has a single 3MP camera, while the Peak has an 8 MP camera on the back and a 2 MP camera on the front. The Peak model also has a Flash for the camera. Hopefully just on the back camera. :p
In the photo on this page the Keon model is the one in orange, while Peak is in white. While most developers only care about the specs on the phone, a few have spoken up saying that they found the Keon model visually more attractive. The color orange just feels right for a Firefox phone. Personally, this Syracuse basketball fan would like to see the more powerful phone get the color orange.
There is no back button on these phones. This was a big question for some developers. Firefox on Android allows you to install web apps just like on Firefox OS. Android can have a hardware back button, or a software back button. The back button works in web apps on Android. The Firefox OS simulator does not have any type of software back button. With no hardware back buttons that means that developers will need to program in their own back button into an app. This will make apps seem more like an iOS app than an Android app.