Mozilla unveiled the first Firefox OS tablet, a Foxconn “InFocus F1” developers model with a quad-core Allwinner A31 and a 10.1-inch 1280 x 800 IPS screen.
The world’s first tablet to run the open source Linux based Firefox OS was informally unveiled by Mozilla developer Asa Dotzler on his eponymous blog site. Dotzler posted some basic specs in the announcement, picked up first by Liliputing, as well as a screenshot photo of the tablet.
Foxconn InFocus F1
(click image to enlarge)
Built by Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., better known as Foxconn, the 10.1-inch “InFocus New tab F1” tablet is the most powerful Firefox OS device to date. It bests Geeksphone’s Peak+ smartphone, which runs on a dual-core, 1.2GHz, Cortex-A5 Snapdragon S4 8225 system-on-chip. The Foxconn tablet moves up to the Allwinner A31, a quad-core, Cortex-A7 SoC, clocked to 1GHz, with a PowerVR SGX544 MP2 GPU.
The InFocus tablet is further equipped with 2GB DDR3 RAM, 16GB flash, and a microSD slot. The 10.1-inch capacitive multitouch IPS screen offers 1280 x 800 pixels, lit up with the help of a 7000mAh battery. The InFocus features WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, and a gyroscope, as well as micro-USB and headphone ports. The 9.7mm thick tablet also supplies both 5- and 2-megapixel cameras.
Foxconn InFocus F1 dimensions
The InFocus appears to be the first Firefox OS device that runs on a processor other than the Qualcomm Snapdragon family. Mozilla argued that the initial Firefox OS phones ran faster than their archaic specs might suggest. This was said to be due to the greater efficiency of HTML5, letting Mozilla shed power-chugging telephony middleware, as well as optimizing the platform for the Snapdragon.
It was back in May of last year that Foxconn and Mozilla tipped plans for the famed — and at times infamous — Chinese OEM contractor to build several Firefox OS products including a tablet. Not much was heard about the project until the CES show earlier this month when the Taiwan News Agency reported that the tablet agreement between the two companies was now formalized. According to the report, the unnamed Firefox OS tablet was aimed at Firefox OS developers and would be given away free “as part of the Contribution Program that aims to encourage more developers around the world to join the Firefox OS ecosystem and improve the tablet version of the open platform.”
On Jan. 6 Mozilla announced the launch of the contribution program and also supplied some details on the screen and memory of a Foxconn-built “Infocus 10” developers tablet for the program. However, Mozilla made no mention of the processor or other specs.
According to an official Mozilla blog written by Dotzler at the time, “we will provide dedicated contributors with access to resources and reference tablet hardware” to help accelerate the development of the tablet UI version of the HTML5-based Firefox OS. No details were offered on when the tablets would be available for the select group of Firefox OS developers, or when a commercial version might ship.
On the same day at CES, Mozilla announced separate Firefox OS partnerships with Panasonic and Via Technologies. Panasonic is building a smart TV based on Firefox OS that takes advantage of the platform’s interoperability with HTML5-enabled devices such as Firefox OS phones. The TV will also leverage Firefox OS to offer better integration with cloud services and multiple profiles for different TV viewers within a household.
Via, meanwhile, announced a formal partnership with Mozilla to provide support and development services for future Firefox OS based “new device form factors” beyond smartphones and tablets. The company also announced the completion of its Firefox OS build for its APC Paper mini-PC and similar APC Rock single board computer.
ZTE Open C and Open II
Also at CES, Mozilla and ZTE tipped two new Firefox OS smartphones — the Open C and Open II –but with few details. First revealed back in in September, the phones were described as being “higher-end” and “dual core,” compared to the original Cortex-A8 based Snapdragon based ZTE Open. There were no more details except that the phones will ship in 2014.
In other Firefox OS news this week, MobileGeeks posted images of Geeksphone’s upcoming Revolution smartphone (pictured). The Revolution will run Android or Firefox OS, among other potential Linux-based distributions on Intel’s 1.6GHz Atom Z2560 (“Clover Trail+”). It will also offer a 4.7-inch, IPS qHD display, a 2000mAh battery, and an HD-capable 8-megapixel camera.
We’re still waiting to hear just how many low-end, Firefox OS-based ZTE Open and Alcatel Onetouch Fire smartphones have sold in Europe and Latin America to date. Presumably sales must be encouraging enough to inspire all the hardware activity, including a new, 4-inch LG Fireweb phone, that went on sale in Brazil and other Latin American countries in October. At CES, Mozilla reported that “Sales and customer satisfaction are exceeding our expectations” for the phones, now offered in 14 markets. The company also said that “In 2014, Mozilla will continue to focus on emerging markets and the first-time smartphone user.”
Even if sales prove to be more modest than Mozilla suggests, the company and the larger Mozilla open source community must be happy for its head-start among the new wave of mobile Linux contenders. Jolla’s Sailfish OS based Jolla phone is now selling well in Finland, and was recently released in several European markets. However, there have been further delays in the first smartphone launches expected from Canonical’s Ubuntu Phone and Samsung’s Tizen.