File Under: Mobile

First Firefox OS Developer Phones Sell Out

The Firefox OS-based Geeksphone. Image: Screenshot/Webmonkey.

The first Firefox OS-powered mobile devices, manufactured by the Spanish company Geeksphone, went on sale today. Unfortunately for anyone hoping to get their hands on some hardware explicitly designed for Firefox OS, the phones have apparently already sold out.

For the average user that’s probably a good thing. Despite being a 1.0 release on real hardware these phones are not, according to Mozilla, ready for prime time.

Instead these devices are intended for developers looking to build and test applications for Firefox OS. And clearly there’s a lot of interested developers. That’s not terribly surprising given that apps for Firefox OS are built using web basics, like HTML, CSS and JavaScript, which means anyone who can build a website can build a Firefox OS app.

Indeed, thanks to the Firefox OS simulator there are already quite a few Firefox OS apps available. But while the simulator is helpful, it’s just not the same as testing on an actual device. Having actual hardware allows developers to “test the capabilities of Firefox OS in a real environment with a mobile network and true hardware characteristics like the accelerometer and camera,” writes Stormy Peters, Mozilla’s Director of Developer Engagement.

While Geeksphone may be the first company to produce an actual Firefox OS phone (albeit a “developer preview”), Mozilla has some more familiar hardware makers lined up to produce consumer devices, including Sony, LG and Alcatel, all of which have signed up to turn out Firefox OS mobile phones.

There’s still no official word on when these manufacturers will be joining the Firefox OS party, but Mozilla’s plan is to have a more polished version of its OS out in the next few months, with official releases in Brazil, Venezuela, Portugal, Spain and Poland over the next several months.

One of the Geeksphone devices is on its way to the Webmonkey lair, so we’ll give you the lowdown on what it’s like to develop for Firefox OS as soon as we get a chance to play with it. In the mean time, if you missed out on the Geeksphone today the company is hoping to have more available for sale later this week. Alternately, you can always install Firefox OS on your own device or just use the Firefox OS simulator.