Mozilla has announced a collaboration with Spanish startup Geeksphone for two smartphones that run the HTML-5 based Firefox OS. The free software community had announced earlier at CES that they will be ready with the OS in two-three weeks.

GeekPhone's Keon and Peak are Firefox OS-running smartphones that are specifically created with app designers and developers in mind. The backs of both phones are brandished with the words Firefox OS Developer Preview. Mozilla hopes that getting two developer edition devices out will help expedite the process of building an app ecosystem before the imminent official launch of the OS.

The first Firefox OS phones, Keon (left) and Peak

The first Firefox OS phones, Keon (left) and Peak

The Keon, which will be available in Mozilla’s characteristic orange colour, has specs that belie its smartphone roots. It is powered by a single-core 1GHz Snapdragon S1 from Qualcomm, has 512MB of RAM and 4GB of onboard storage. It sports a 3.5” display with a 480 x 320 resolution, putting it squarely in the low-end category. It also has a 3 megapixel camera (no flash, though) and Wi-Fi/3G antennas.

The other device Peak is expected to ship in a matte white body. Although its specs are not exciting by any means, the Peak is expected to be a more powerful device as it is based on an unspecified 1.2GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 SoC. At the moment, neither Mozilla nor Geeksphone has announced whether the cores are underclocked Kraits or of the ageing Cortex-A5 variety. The smartphone has a 4.3-inch qHD display with a 960 x 540 resolution. On the back is an 8 megapixel snapper, accompanied by a flash and there’s a 2 megapixel front-facing camera as well. Just like the Keon, the Peak has 512MB of RAM and 4GB of storage.

As of now, there are no firm details on the price or availability for the Peak, but Mozilla believes the first batches of Keon will be shipped out by next month. The good news is that one won’t have to shell out big bucks to land their hands on one of these early editions. Geeksphone claims the phones will come with a price tag “you could never have imagined” and their Twitter account said they will give more details about the “price and the availability during the next weeks”. So expect both models to be competitively-priced.

Mozilla is also inviting developers to Firefox OS App Days, where they will have the opportunity to learn, hack and develop apps for the Firefox OS. The Mozilla Hacks website goes on to say, “Technologists and developers from the Mozilla community will present tools and technology built to extend and support the Web platform, including mobile Web APIs to access device hardware features such as the accelerometer.”

Firefox OS uses a web system, eschewing proprietary platforms and developers (and eventually, users) can access information and apps across multiple devices. Mozilla has also released a Firefox OS simulator that allows developers to test out their HTML5, CSS and Javascript app.

Our recent poll (it's still open) asked readers which upcoming OS they are more likely to choose over iOS and Android. One of four choices, Firefox OS sits in second place with 15 percent of all votes.

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