Pre-orders start today for Flame, the Firefox OS developer phone

The Firefox OS Flame reference device that we announced at end of February is now available for pre-order at for $170 including free shipping.

Pre-order now.

To standardize the design, development, and testing of Firefox OS, Mozilla has partnered with a company called T2Mobile to manufacture, distribute, and update a Firefox OS reference phone called the Flame. Until now, there has been no “reference device” and the options for getting something through retail were limited.

Mid-tier phone hardware

The Flame is representative of the mid-tier phone hardware Mozilla and its partners are targeting over the coming year. It was designed for our developer and contributor community, so we worked with the manufacturer, T2Mobile to keep the price as low as possible. We’re excited that we are able to bring a high quality reference device to our developer community at an affordable price.

The Flame will also be a great development and testing environment for third party app developers targeting Firefox OS and HTML5. The phone offers a software configurable RAM option that can be made to emulate many different devices that will be commercially available later this year.

Our partner, T2Mobile will provide the Flame with updates to each new major version of Firefox OS and a simple mechanism for switching between different release channels; offering Nightly builds that will keep you at the forefront of Firefox OS development.

If you’ve held off on getting a Firefox OS phone because they weren’t available in your region or the phones in market didn’t meet your development and testing needs, don’t miss out on the opportunity to pre-order one of these Flame reference phones today.

Specifications & unlocked!

The Flame is unlocked from any network and comes with the bootloader unlocked.

  • Qualcomm MSM8210 Snapdragon, 1.2GHZ Dual core processor
  • 4.5” screen (FWVGA 854×480 pixels)
  • Cameras: Rear: 5MP with auto-focus and flash / Front: 2MP
  • Frequency: GSM 850/900/1800/1900MHz
    UMTS 850/900/1900/2100MHz
  • 8GB memory
  • 256MB – 1GB RAM (adjustable by developer)
  • A-GPS, NFC
  • Dual SIM Support
  • Battery capacity: 1,800 mAh
  • WiFi: 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 3.0, Micro USB, MicroSD

NOTE: Once pre-ordered, the Flame will take approximately four weeks before it ships. The Flame ships free to anywhere in the world except for Japan. If you want to pre-order a Flame device certified for use in Japan, please visit here for more information.

For more information:
Mozilla Developer Network guide to the Flame reference phone

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Start spreading the news… I’m coming to New York, New York

Tomorrow I am flying to NYC for a week to squat in Queens and as I felt bad about not having a speaking date during that time I asked on Twitter and, lo and behold, was asked to give two quick tech talks next week.


On Tuesday I will be speaking in detail about FirefoxOS at the Flatiron Tech Talk Lunch Series by Reflexionsdata. I will concentrate not necessarily on building apps for the marketplace but on how to re-use existing web content and make it installable and findable with the app search of FirefoxOS.

The 2nd talk will be on Thursday, the 24th of October at 360i at 32 Avenue of the Americas, 6th Fl NY, NY 10013 in TriBeCa. You can sign up for this one at 360i’s Meetup page or the 360i’s Eventbrite page.

I will be speaking about “HTML5 Beyond the Hype: Current Issues & Near-Future Solutions”:

HTML5 has been sold to us as the new Flash and somehow fell behind in delivering that promise. The main issue is that the platforms that hyped HTML5 failed to cater to its needs. In this short presentation, Christian Heilmann of Mozilla shows what HTML5 can do in a more dedicated environment and how Mozilla pushes the standards with FirefoxOS. Learn how to worry less and deliver more for the next generation of users and browsers which are just around the corner

After this, I am off to San Francisco for the Samsung Developer Conference. See you there.

View full post on Christian Heilmann

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Geeksphone to start selling Firefox OS Developer Preview phones on April 23

Mozilla, Geeksphone and Telefonica have been working together to create a Firefox OS developer preview phone, and we’re excited to say they will go on sale April 23rd. With early access to hardware, developers can test the capabilities of Firefox OS in a real environment with a mobile network and true hardware characteristics like the accelerometer and camera that are not easily tested on the Firefox OS Simulator. Plus, new hardware is fun to play with!

Firefox OS Phones Up

Firefox OS Phones Up! Photo by Mark Coggins

The Firefox OS Developer Preview Geeksphone devices have development versions of Firefox OS and are are unlocked so that developers can use them wherever they are in the world and they are updated regularly with the latest Firefox OS build. This will enable developers to explore the potential of the open Web and to bring the power of the Web to mobile for billions of users worldwide.

Two developer devices

Geeksphone has two Firefox OS developer devices for sale, the Keon and the Peak. Both phones can be bought online and shipped to just about anywhere in the world. The Keon has similar specifications as the actual target hardware that operators will ship in the phones they roll out to consumers later this year. The Peak offers a slightly more high-end device for developers wanting to experiment with apps for devices that might be commercially available in the future.

The Keon is an orange (like Firefox!) phone with a 3.5″ screen Qualcomm 1Ghz processor and 512 MB of RAM. It’s available for €91 plus taxes, shipping and handling.

The Peak has a slightly larger screen (4.3″) and a Qualcomm DualCore 1.2Ghz processor. It costs €149 plus taxes, shipping and handling.

Both phones can be purchased directly from Geeksphone. Support and updates will also be provided directly by Geeksphone. Of course you can visit the Mozilla Developer Network for more information about Firefox OS and the Firefox Marketplace Developer Hub for information on how to build, publish and submit your open web app to Firefox Marketplace.

Existing web apps

Developers have already built and published awesome mobile web apps that you can check out today on the Developer Preview phone. We expect that these developer devices will inspire and enable even more. For some examples, you can check out the Marketplace for apps by indie developers that solve cool problems like:

Or try these indie games or challenge yourself to write your own game:

You can create an app for Firefox OS by making some small changes to your existing website. As Alexander Saladrigas said last weekend, “It was exciting to see Firefox OS in action on hardware that will be representative of the final commercial devices. I remember several devs pushing their web apps made for browsers or other platforms with the only addition of a tiny JSON manifest… and it worked flawlessly on the first try. I thought ‘Wow, that easy? Just as any web page?”

Although, it’s great to have the actual hardware to test your apps, if you’re not in a position to purchase a Geeksphone at the moment, you can still try out Firefox OS and your app in several other ways:

  • Install Marketplace for Android on your Android phone. (Your friends and family can also do this – it’s as easy as installing an app, so they can try out your app too.)
  • Use the browser-based Firefox OS Simulator to view and test your mobile app on the desktop.
  • Install Firefox OS on your own hardware.

Why develop an app for Firefox OS?

  • Keep the web open. Support the open web and help make sure the power of the web is available to everyone – even on mobile devices.
  • Simplicity. Develop on a single technology stack (HTML5/CSS/JavaScript/new WebAPIs) and deliver across the web and devices.
  • Freedom. You’re not locked in to a vendor-controlled ecosystem. You can distribute your app through the Firefox Marketplace, your own website, or any other store based on Mozilla’s open app store technology.

If you have any more questions, please read the Firefox OS Developer Preview. Below is also a helpful FAQ on Geeksphone.

We look forward to seeing what awesome apps developers make for the mobile open web. Happy hacking!

Geeksphone FAQ:

Q. What are you announcing today?

A. We’re announcing the availability of two Firefox OS developer preview devices manufactured by Geeksphone and available for purchase at These devices allow developers to test the capabilities of Firefox OS in a real environment, testing characteristics such as real performance and interaction with the mobile network.

Q. What are the device specs and how much will each cost?

A. The Keon is equipped with a Cortex-A5 1Ghz processor, 3.5 inch multi-touch screen, tri-band UMTS/HSPA, 4GB ROM, 512 MB RAM and a long-lasting 1580 mAh battery. It will cost 91 € without VAT or shipping.

The Peak is equipped with a 1.2 GHz dual-core Qualcomm 8225 chipset, 4.3-inch qHD IPS screen, 8 Mpx back camera and 2 Mpx front camera, as well as tri-band UMTS/HSPA and 1800 mAh battery. It will cost 149 € without VAT or shipping.

Q. Why are there two devices?

A. The Keon has similar specifications to the actual target hardware that operators will ship in the phones they roll out to consumers later this year. The Peak offers a slightly more high-end device for developers wanting to experiment with apps for devices that might be commercially available in the future.

Q. Will Geeksphone ship to any country?

A. Yes.

Q. Who is Geeksphone?

A. Geeksphone is a Spanish company dedicated to designing and manufacturing latest generation smartphones. It was formed in 2009 and was the first European company to develop a smartphone featuring Android OS.

Q. What is Telefónica and Mozilla’s involvement?

A. Telefónica and Mozilla worked closely with Geeksphone to make it possible to manufacture these developer test units.

Q. Why do you need these devices?

A. Making preview developer devices available is crucial to ensure a rich ecosystem is ready when handsets launch for the mass market. The Geeksphone devices will allow developers to test the capabilities of Firefox OS in a real environment beyond the facilities provided by current emulators. It will be possible to test some characteristics like real performance and interaction with the mobile network.

Q. Are these the first ever Firefox OS devices?

A. Through the development of the project Firefox OS has been ported onto a number of different devices from different OEMs in order to test and demonstrate. This is the first time that developer handsets have been made available for developers working outside of the project to take away and test their applications. Today’s announcement does not represent a commercial launch for Firefox OS. These will take place later this year.

Q. Can consumers get the Geeksphone handsets?

A. These devices have not been designed for consumers and include pre-release development versions of Firefox OS. Although we know many people are excited to get their hands on Firefox OS, we would urge them to wait until commercial devices are ready and they will be able to get the full experience.

Q: What version of Firefox OS is this?

A: v1.0.1

Q: How often does it update?

A: The software will update every couple of weeks as new builds become available.

Q: Is this feature complete or will anything be added before launch?

A: This is a developer device with a developer build. New features, performance/stability enhancements will continue to be added on a regular basis. The software here is not necessarily 100% representative of what will ship into customer’s hands.

Q: How can I test v2/1.1/what’s next?

A: New releases will be automatically made available OTA (over the air) and developers who have a Geeksphone will be able to update to their build in order to test their apps.

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WebmaKey MaKey? – here is something to start from

MaKey MaKey is amazingly cool. It is a very simple Arduino based board with a USB cable and Alligator Clips to simulate keys pressed by touching a cable and closing the circuit by holding the other cable. This would be boring though, so you can connect the second clip to anything that can transmit a current – fruit, play-doh, graphite pen drawings, you name it. Check out the video to see the idea behind it and some examples.

More than a toy

On first glance this is cool, but seems like a toy for children to do their first steps with computing. And yes, it is magic for that as the Night Zoo teacher experiment shows. But there is more to this.

A great accessibility opportunity

I’ve almost given up on trying to get the accessibility web world excited about affordable and open solutions, but using a MaKey MaKey you could create switch interfaces for people who can not handle a keyboard on a shoestring and have fun at the same time as it can be customised in any way you want to. The beachball interface for Flabbyphysics is a great example of that.

There is a whole section on the MaKey MaKey forums dedicated to accessibility called Hackcess. In general it is a good idea to check the forums for inspiration as people build a lot of wonderfully crazy things with it.


The thing I was missing a bit on the site was the web component, as a lot of the demos used Flash or native code of sorts. As I thought it a good idea to mix MaKey MaKey with Webmaking I put together a very simple blueprint to use MaKey MaKey input in an HTML page called Testy Testy.

All it is are event handlers for the right keys showing and hiding different sections in the page. There is also a demo for moving a Foxkeh around with the cursor keys.

Here’s what the README explains:

As MaKey MaKey simulates various keystrokes and click events you can interact with the computer. Testy Testy is a simple start for doing something with this.
The HTML contains sections linked to the keys simulated by MaKey MaKey. When you activate one, the appropriate section is shown, when you release the key (or the cable) it gets hidden.

<section id="right" class="reactors">

So, if you want to for example connect your MaKey MaKey to a Banana and show a picture of a banana, all you need to do is alter the HTML:

<section id="right" class="reactors">
  <a href="" 
     title="Banana - Isolated by robin_24, on Flickr">
      alt="Banana - Isolated">

Hopefully this will get some people started to mix HTML learning and MaKey MaKey hacking.

Mozilla Festival

At this year’s Mozilla Festival we’ll have a MaKey MaKey session. and I am actually working on a hug/kiss/high-five camera booth using MaKey MaKey and WebRTC. Let’s see how that works out 🙂

In any case I can only recommend to get a kit yourself as it is incredibly fun to play with!

The discussion happens on Google+ (maybe).

View full post on Christian Heilmann

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