Mozilla offers free Firefox OS phones to developers

Mozilla has begun offering developers free smartphones in exchange for them coding HTML5 apps for its forthcoming Firefox OS platform.

In an official blog post, Mozilla introduced the program, which carries the less than catchy title Phones for Apps for Firefox OS, under which developers can nominate an app they’d like to develop for the platform.

Winning entries get a free Geeksphone Keon developer phone, limited to one smartphone per successful submission.

“Wherever you are, if you can show you’ve got a great app idea and the skill to build it, we’d love to see your apps in the Marketplace when the Firefox OS launch begins later this summer. And to sweeten the deal, we’ll send a Firefox OS Developer Preview device for you to work with now,” Mozilla spokesperson Havi Hoffman states.

“When Firefox OS phones become available to consumers in select locales this summer, you’ll have an opportunity that only comes around once—a first-mover advantage in Firefox Marketplace.

“End users in Latin America, Eastern Europe and other launch locations will be on the lookout for playful and practical apps to install: games, tools, and utilities as well as locally relevant news, sports, travel, entertainment, review apps, and social sharing experiences. And you can build and submit them now!”

As SmartCompany recently reported, ZTE and Alcatel showed off the first consumer phones based on the Firefox OS platform, dubbed the ZTE Open and the Alacatel One Touch Fire, at the 2013 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, while Optus, Telstra, LG, Huawei and Sony have all announced support for the low-cost smartphone platform.

The platform uses a mobile version of the Firefox web browser as a platform for running platform-independent web apps coded in HTML5, which have the same access to a smartphone’s underlying capabilities in the Firefox OS as native apps have under iOS and Android.

The aim is to have apps written in web standard languages (including HTML5, CSS, and Java) and therefore be able to work on any device that supports Firefox.

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