Geeksphone has started taking pre-orders for its first commercial smartphone running Firefox OS. The Peak+ offers double the RAM and offers better battery and graphics performance than the original Peak developers phone, and it runs the latest Firefox OS 1.1 build.
Spanish online phone seller and Telefonica partner Geeksphone began selling its Peak and Keon developer phones for Firefox OS in April, and quickly sold out. They remained that way until this week when Geeksphone set up a pre-sale promotional price of 149 Euros ($196) for an updated Peak model called the Peak+. Once these are gone, the Peak+ price will rise to an unstated higher price, and will be sold from its online store when the unlocked Peak+ begins shipping in larger numbers mid-September.
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The new Peak only marginally updates its mid-range specs, which seem sky-high compared to the Keon and similar, now commercially available, 3.5-inch, Cortex-A8-based ZTE Open and Alcatel One Touch Fire Firefox OS phones. Earlier this month, the ZTE Open went on sale in Spain and the Alcatel One Touch Fire in Poland at cut-rate prices. The phones will spread to other international markets in the coming months, with a focus on budget consumers.
The Peak+ retains the original Peak’s dual-core 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 8225 system-on-chip, but doubles the RAM to 1GB. Other specs remains the same, including 4GB of flash memory, a microSD slot, and a 4.3-inch qHD (quarter high-definition, 960 x 540 pixel) IPS display.
The Peak+ features both an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera with flash and a 2-megapixel front-facing videocam, and offers 802.11n, Bluetooth 2.1 EDR, FM, GPS, and a full array of sensors. Once again, an 1800mAh battery is available, but it now offers better longer life, according to Geeksphone, which did not offer further details. Graphics performance is also said to have improved.
Firefox OS 1.1
The Peak+ battery and graphics performance improvements may well come from the new version 1.1 of Firefox OS, Mozilla’s open source Linux-based mobile operating system. The new release is available for download exclusively to Keon and Peak owners, and will be pre-installed on the Peak+. Forum chatter on Geeksphone suggests that faster boot times may be one of the bigger updates.
According to a forum note on the release, version 1.1 offers numerous bugfixes, including an HD screen that now “works as expected.” Major improvements have been made to the email app, and the calendar app has received more minor fixes. The headphones are said to work better, letting you answer calls, and Contacts have been improved with the addition of a new importer function. Icon apps are sized smaller on the apps list.
By plugging the phone to a computer via USB, you can now choose what memory is attached. The camera support is still limited to 2-megapixel photos.
More information and 149-Euro pre-sales (while they last) are available at the Geeksphone Peak+ product page, More on Firefox OS 1.1, which is available for download from Geeksphone here, may be found on the Geeksphone forum.