Mozilla Starts Doling Out Phones To Developers With Brilliant HTML5 App Ideas

Just a week after rolling out the latest version of its Firefox OS simulator, Mozilla has announced that it’s offering a nifty new proposition to would-be FFOS developers. If you’ve got an idea for a killer HTML5 application and the technical chops (or at least the drive) to make it a reality, Mozilla wants to give you a Firefox OS developer device.

And the devices in question? None other than the seemingly popular Keon from Spanish smartphone startup Geeksphone — one of the very same devices that forced Geeksphone to limit their sales to ensure that the team would be able to stay on top of existing orders. It seems not even Mozilla has been able to secure a sizable stash of Keons, as developer evangelist Havi Hoffman points out on the Mozilla Hacks blog that the program will either run through the end of May or until Mozilla blows through its “limited supply.”

Granted, the Keon isn’t the flashiest smartphone floating around — it sports a relatively pokey 1Ghz Snapdragon S1 chipset, and pairs it with 512MB of RAM, a 3-megapixel camera, and a 3.5-inch HVGA touch display. Then again, it’s not like other Firefox OS devices we’ve seen lately have been substantial better. The Geeksphone Peak is a decent step ahead of the Keon in terms of pure horsepower, but phones like the ZTE Open that will ultimately appear in South America and Europe later this summer seem more focused on keeping costs down to appeal to as wide a segment of people as possible. That focus on making a splash in emerging markets may just be Mozilla’s opening salvo though, as Mozilla SVP of mobile devices Li Gong noted that Sony would eventually push out a more premium FFOS handset.

Mozilla is no stranger to these sorts of developer outreach tactics — it’s pushing developer resources for months, and the organization showered attendees at last year’s JSConf with Samsung Nexus S’s loaded up with even earlier builds of Firefox OS. Buy-in from developers will go a long way in securing a stable future for Firefox OS, and shelling out phones to some exceptionally eager creators seems like a small price to pay if the resulting apps push the Firefox OS experience forward.