Mozilla's fledgling Firefox OS is gaining quite a lot of attention. First it was Twitter announcing a native app for the OS, and now Sony has released an experimental ROM of the operating system for the Xperia E. Sony stated recently that it was interested in launching phones running Firefox OS later this year.

Going beyond just releasing the build, the Sony Developer Blog has details on how to flash the ROM, the architecture of the new OS and guidelines for developing apps.

New handset from Sony announced to be launched in Q1 2013

Sony Xperia E comes with modest specs

The blog reads, “Now we’re ready to share our initial experiments on Firefox OS with the tech community, to get valuable feedback. More importantly, we want to reach out to the application community and support the early adopters who can start to develop applications for Firefox OS. Therefore, Sony experts Andreas Sandblad and Per Astrand have put to together an experimental Firefox OS ROM for you to flash on the Xperia E.

The company has released a video showing the OS running on the smartphone.

Sony has been throwing its weight behind keeping alive the essence of open source software. The company has already released tools that enable users of its Xperia smartphones to root and install custom ROMs as well as flash back to the Sony firmware.

At Sony Mobile, we continue to evaluate innovative technologies that can help deliver the premium user experiences that Sony’s consumers expect. Our engineers are now working with Firefox OS Mobile and HTML5, evolving technologies which show great potential,” the blog read.

Being an experimental build, the Firefox ROM is clearly not intended for daily use and Sony does say that “several important limitations apply.” Needless to say, only experienced developers and ROM cooks should check out the build.

Sony says some features have been switched off or have not been implemented. There is no radio connectivity available because the software has not passed certification and type approval, which means users cannot make phone calls or use Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. The SD card's read/write or access might be unstable. Lastly, Sony says the touch sensitivity on the new ROM has not been not fully calibrated.

The Xperia E is not yet available in India. However, there’s also a dual-SIM version of the Xperia E, so there’s a good chance that we will see the handset as India is a big market for dual-SIM devices.

Here is a quick look at some of the highlighted features of the Sony Xperia E:

  • 3.5-inch TFT display with a resolution of 320 x 480 pixels
  • 3G, HSPA, EDGE/GPRS
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, DLNA, Wi-Fi hotspot
  • Bluetooth 2.1 with EDR
  • 3.2 megapixel camera
  • 4GB internal memory with support for microSD card

Choosing Xperia E over Sony’s more powerful phones is also telling. The reason is that Firefox OS is targeted specifically at affordable, low-end smartphones. The Xperia E has almost the same specifications as the two Firefox OS phones—ZTE Open and Alcatel OneTouch Fire—that were announced at the MWC.

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