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Firefox OS dev phones spark buying frenzy

Although it remains to be seen how Firefox OS fares commercially, its initial hardware sales have gone down well among developers.

As reported on Mozilla's web developer blog, the company has worked together with Geeksphone and Telefonica to create a Firefox OS preview phone, thereby enabling developers to work in a real hardware environment as opposed to in a simulator.

Predictably, the Geeksphone store keeled over under the flurry of demand from developers and, at the time of writing, was "shut down temporarily" for site maintenance. The preview phones have very rapidly sold out.

According to a report by The Next Web, Geeksphone is aiming to fulfil orders of 5,000 units per day, so even this initial sell-out success is hardly in iPhone territory. However, Mozilla's director of websites and developer engagement, Stormy Peters, emphasised the importance of the company's mobile platform, and said it 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”.

More devices are expected to be available later this week. Developers will be able to choose between the €91 (plus taxes and shipping) Keon phone with a 3.5-inch screen, 1Ghz processor and 512MB of RAM. There’s also the higher-end €149 (plus taxes and shipping) Peak, which has a larger 4.3-inch screen and faster processor.

Peters said the Peak option is a "slightly more high-end device for developers wanting to experiment with apps for devices that might be commercially available in the future”. By contrast, the Keon more closely represents initial Firefox OS hardware that will soon be rolled out by operators.

Until Geeksphone restocks, developers can experiment with Firefox OS by using the official simulator.