Introducing the Geeksphone by Mozilla

Colin Ihrig

Mozilla has been hard at work on their new operating system, Firefox OS. This week they took another step towards legitimacy with the announcement of developer preview devices – known as the Geeksphone. This article introduces Firefox OS and the Geeksphone to the JSPro audience.

Firefox OS, also known as Boot to Gecko or B2G, is a completely open source operating system designed around HTML5 standards. Under the Firefox OS model, every app is a web app. This means a few things. First, the learning curve is significantly smaller. There’s no need to learn a new language. Second, tying into the principles behind Mozilla, there is no proprietary app store. This means not being a slave to companies like Apple.

Development APIs

One of the most exciting aspects of Firefox OS is the variety of advanced APIs used to interact with the underlying device. These APIs, collectively known as the WebAPI, combine W3C standards with Mozilla’s own specifications. For example, WebAPI developers can access the phone’s address book using Mozilla’s Contacts API and control the phone’s vibration hardware using the W3C Vibration API. The full list of current and future APIs is available on the WebAPI Mozilla Wiki page.

Geeksphone Devices

Currently there are two phone slated for release – the Keon and the Peak. The Keon is the lower end model, while the Peak is slightly more powerful and targeted at “those who like to be one step beyond.” The specs of both phones are listed below.

CPU Qualcomm Snapdragon S1 7225AB 1Ghz.
UMTS 2100/1900/900 (3G HSPA).
GSM 850/900/1800/1900 (2G EDGE).
Screen 3.5″ HVGA Multitouch.
Camera 3 MP.
4 GB (ROM) and 512 (RAM).
MicroSD, Wifi N, Light & Prox. Sensor, G-Sensor, GPS, MicroUSB.
Battery 1580 mAh.

CPU Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 8225 1.2Ghz x2.
UMTS 2100/1900/900 (3G HSPA).
GSM 850/900/1800/1900 (2G EDGE).
Screen 4.3″ qHD IPS Multitouch.
Camera 8 MP (back) + 2 MP (front).
4 GB (ROM) and 512 (RAM).
MicroSD, Wifi N, Light & Prox. Sensor, G-Sensor, GPS, MicroUSB, Flash (camera).
Battery 1800 mAh.

Getting Involved

There are several ways to get involved with the B2G project. You can install the Firefox OS simulator, or actually booth the operating system on your own hardware. Soon you’ll be able to purchase one of the developer preview phones discussed above. No matter which route you take, you will definitely want to read over Mozilla’s getting started guide.


Only time will tell if Firefox OS is the next big thing or a bust. Some think that the completely open source nature of the project will help it succeed. Others feel that iOS and Android are simply too entrenched for another player to make much of a difference. However, it is certainly possible for Firefox OS to leave its mark, even if it isn’t the dominant player in the market – much like the Firefox browser.