Mozilla, better know for its Firefox Web browser, is trying to get into the smartphone business, and if its first step into the market is any indication, it may have a winner.
On Tuesday, the nonprofit organization rolled out to developers two smartphones running its Firefox OS mobile operating system. It sold out in just a few hours.
Firefox OS is a new platform that is set to debut this year in Latin America and Europe. The operating system is based on HTML5 and is intended to give users an alternative to “vendor-controlled ecosystems,” Mozilla said in a blog this week.
To give developers an idea of what the hardware for Firefox OS will be like and how the software will perform in the real world, Mozilla teamed up with Spanish start-up Geeksphone to build and sell two early devices. The phones, the Keon and the Peak, went on sale Tuesday but quickly sold out.
“In the first few hours of the Geeksphone store opening, demand has been overwhelming, surpassing initial expectations causing our store to be taken temporarily offline,” a Geeksphone spokesperson said in a statement.
The high demand is great news for Mozilla, which is hoping to disrupt the smartphone world currently dominated by Apple and Google. Mozilla said it was thrilled to see the high demand for the preview devices.
“The support for these devices has been overwhelming, and we are thrilled to see the development community excited to create content for the open Web on mobile,” Mozilla said.
Mozilla said the Keon, an orange smartphone with a 3.5-inch screen that runs on a Qualcomm 1-GHz processor, has similar specifications to what actual Firefox OS phones will have when they launch. It costs 91 euros, or around $118.
Meanwhile, the Peak is a more high-end device and costs 149 euros, or about $194. It features a 4.3-inch screen and runs on a Qualcomm dual-core 1.2-GHz processor.
Geeksphone said its store will return online in a few hours with more stock available. Mozilla said the phones will ship to any country.