Firefox OS fan Geeksphone plans high-end Revolution

The Spanish company's new Firefox OS phone will include a "high-performance processor" and can run Google's Android operating system, too. The company hints it could use an Intel processor.

Geeksphone is working on a new Firefox OS phone called Revolution, but it's not ready to share details.
Geeksphone is working on a new Firefox OS phone called Revolution, but it's not ready to share details. screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET

Geeksphone, the first Firefox OS phone maker, announced on Wednesday a new high-end smartphone called the Revolution.

The Spanish company didn't disclose details such as price, features, ship date, and appearance. But judging by the wording on the Geeksphone Revolution Web page, "a creation with a powerful heart," we can expect a faster processor than what's in the company's first models, the low-end Keon and midrange Peak .

"We are...confident that we will surprise everyone by its very high performance," Geeksphone co-founder Javier Aguera said in a statement. "And it's very competitively priced."

The phone will run not just Firefox OS, but Android, too, and customers can order it with either. Geeksphone offered Android phones before it began its Firefox OS foray.

"The intention was to launch on Android, but given the experience Geeksphone gained in Open Web [phones] they have decided to give the users the option to choose between either system," the company told CNET.

Based on a forum post from Geeksphone, it looks like the Revolution might use an Intel processor.

"This is what we are working on, but now with 4.8" screen," the post said, offering a link to a video showing an Intel-based Firefox OS phone outperforming one using a Qualcomm ARM processor. The phones use 3.5-inch screens in the video, and the Intel-based model outperforms the Qualcomm model in boot time and some other computing tasks.

A video from Geeksphone shows an Intel-based model outperforming the company's existing phone using a Qualcomm ARM processor.
A video from Geeksphone shows an Intel-based model outperforming the company's existing phone using a Qualcomm ARM processor. screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET

Technically, it's not Firefox OS on the Revolution, but instead the Boot2Gecko software that Mozilla uses for the project's name. It's the same bits and bytes, but a different label: "Firefox OS is a brand currently not available for independent manufacturers not associated with carriers. Geeksphone will work with Mozilla once this option is made available," the company said.

The company bet big on Firefox OS , Mozilla's open-source, browser-based operating system. Mozilla hopes Firefox OS, along with an Android version of Firefox, will extend the clout it has with personal computers into the mobile market, too. Currently, Apple and Google dominate mobile operating systems, and Mozilla doesn't like those companies' controlling ways.

A third carrier joined the Firefox OS push Thursday: Telenor, which is based in Norway but also does business in Asia and eastern Europe. It already was committed, but now it's actually begun selling Firefox phones.

"I am pleased to see that our customers in Serbia, Hungary, and Montenegro will be able to enjoy mobile phones on Firefox OS, providing them with high-quality Internet experience before Christmas," said Rolv-Erik Spilling, head of Telenor Digital, in a statement. "Through this launch, we are one step closer to connecting the next billion customers to the Web."

Geeksphone is a small manufacturer; the more prominent sales push for Firefox OS is coming from carriers -- Telefonica and Deutsche Telekom to start with -- that have a strong retail presence. So far they've brought Firefox OS to markets such as Brazil and Poland; in more affluent markets where iOS and Android have a stronger presence it's a harder sell.

The company is in the process of designing an upgraded Peak model called the Peak+ that isn't shipping yet. Customers who ordered the Peak+ will be able to switch to the Revolution at no cost, Geeksphone said.

Updated 6:52 a.m. PT to note Telenor's Firefox OS phone launch, and again November 29 at 12:33 a.m. PT with information about use of an Intel processor.

Those who've ordered Geeksphone's Peak+, a Firefox OS phone, will be able to switch to the Revolution.
Those who've ordered Geeksphone's Peak+, a Firefox OS phone, will be able to switch to the Revolution. Geeksphone
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About the author

Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and covers browsers, Web development, digital photography and new technology. In the past he has been CNET's beat reporter for Google, Yahoo, Linux, open-source software, servers and supercomputers. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces.

 

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