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Mozilla partners with Geeksphone and Telefonica to launch Firefox OS developer phones

Mozilla has announced that it is partnering with Spanish startup Geeksphone and telecom giant Telefonica to introduce a pair of developer handsets for its Firefox mobile operating system.

The company has said it has no plans to release hardware of its own, leaving the newly announced Keon and Peak to be the test-space for developers building applications for the web-based OS.

The Keon handset sports a 3.5in HVGA touchscreen, as well as a 3-megapixel camera. Under the hood, it's powered by a 1GHZ Snapdragon S1 processor, 512MB of RAM, 4GB of internal storage that’s expandable through a microSD slot. Connectivity-wise, the Keon is WiFi-, 2G- and 3G-enabled. Overall, it’s far from a high-end handset, though it’s likely to do the trick for developers testing the Firefox OS.

A more powerful handset listed by Geeksphone, though curiously not mentioned by Mozilla, is the 4.3in Peak, which boasts an 8-megapixel, flash-enabled back camera and a 2-megapixel front-facing shooter. It’s powered by a 1.2GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 CPU with 512 of RAM and 4GB of microSD-expandable internal storage. Like the Keon, its connectivity options include WiFi, 2G and 3G.

There’s no word yet on pricing or availability, though the Keon, at least, is expected to begin shipping next month for keen developers. Mozilla also promises to deliver over-the-air updates as they’re available.

“We are working on bringing the power of the web to mobile, through Firefox OS, along with all the power of open standards and an open community, and once again, we’d like to invite web developers to join us,” wrote Stormy Peters, Mozilla’s director of websites and developer engagement, in a blog post.

The Firefox OS, which uses HTML 5 apps to do ‘phone things’ like make phone calls or send text messages, will be a welcome player to the contentious, crowded mobile platform market.