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Mozilla releases Firefox phones to developers

Mozilla Firefox

In a push to generate momentum around its mobile operating system, open source software developer Mozilla is releasing free Firefox OS handsets to developers ahead of the commercial launch of the platform later this summer.

The firm has launched its Phones for Apps for Firefox OS programme to encourage developers to build Firefox apps or port existing Chrome, webOS, Blackberry WebWorks, or the PhoneGap apps to the Firefox platform. Developers must tell Mozilla which apps they would like to build or port, and if the proposal is accepted, Mozilla will send them a Geeksphone Keon.

“When Firefox OS phones become available to consumers in select locales this summer, you’ll have an opportunity that only comes around once—a first-mover advantage in Firefox Marketplace,” the firm said through its developer outreach and engagement channel Mozilla Hacks.

“End users in Latin America, Eastern Europe and other launch locations will be on the lookout for playful and practical apps to install: games, tools, and utilities as well as locally relevant news, sports, travel, entertainment, review apps, and social sharing experiences.”

Spanish start-up Geeksphone launched two smartphones running on the Firefox OS platform in April 2013. The Peak and Keon are designed for developers looking to test and create apps for Firefox OS.

“These devices have not been designed for consumers and include a pre-release development version of Firefox OS,” the firm told Telecoms.com.

Mozilla warned, however, that its device inventory is limited and its launch dates are approaching fast, so developers must act quickly. The programme will close at the end of May or when Mozilla’s limited supply of Geeksphones runs out.

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