New Firefox phones – the first in a slew of new smartphones based on operating system alternatives to Android, iOS, BlackBerry 10 and Windows Phone – will be launched in February.Created by a Spanish startup called Geeksphone, the phones will run the new Firefox OS, a mobile operating system designed by the Mozilla Foundation.

The specifications of the phones, though, are nothing to write home about. Keon, the first of the two devices, will feature a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon microprocessor, a 3.5-inch HVGA touchscreen, Wi-Fi support, just 512MB of RAM, a three-megapixel camera, and 4GB of internal storage.

The second of the two phones is called Peak and will sport a dual-core 1.2GHz Snapdragon chip, an eight-megapixel camera and offer a bigger 4.3-inch screen. Both will be kept current with over-the-air updates and will be carrier-unlocked so that developers can play around with the device and the operating system as it takes shape.

The user interface is built with JavaScript and HTML, so the look and feel ought to be easily customisable. HTML5 applications will integrate directly with the device’s hardware using JavaScript, but with a privilege model for security. The operating system has already been demonstrated on some Android-compatible smartphones and the Raspberry Pi low-cost computer.

The aim of the Mozilla Foundation is to get a cheap device out into the market to enable app developers to develop on it before a bigger launch later in 2013 or early 2014. Mozilla claims that because apps can be built in standard HTML5, there are already a plethora of potential developers that could easily build apps for it.

However, Firefox OS will be joining an increasingly crowded market. In addition to competing against iOS, Android, BlackBerry 10 and Windows Phone, there are also two significant further Linux-based rivals coming out this year and next in the form of Ubuntu for Phones and Sailfish OS from Jolla.

Credit: Computing.uk