Feeds

Sony lifts skirt on Firefox OS with developer ROM for Xperia E

Ubuntu's not the only half-baked mobile OS around

Intelligent flash storage arrays

The Mozilla Foundation doesn't expect the first phones running its Firefox OS to appear until this summer – and even then, only in select markets – but developers can start tinkering with the platform on real hardware today, thanks to Sony Mobile.

Just days after Mozilla announced the first commercial release of Firefox OS at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Sony has released a flashable Firefox OS firmware image for its Xperia E handsets.

"Now we're ready to share our initial experiments on Firefox OS with the tech community, to get valuable feedback," company reps wrote in a statement on Wednesday. "More importantly, we want to reach out to the application community and support the early adopters who can start to develop applications for Firefox OS."

They mean it about that last part. Much like the experimental Ubuntu Touch Developer Preview images released by Canonical last week, Sony's Firefox OS build is not intended for daily use, and the company recommends you don't mess around with it unless you're an experienced developer.

For now, the only model it works on is the Xperia E, which Sony says was chosen because its hardware closely resembles Mozilla's recommended baseline specs for Firefox OS.

To flash the ROM, you'll first need to unlock the phone's bootloader. Sony provides a tool for this, but it cautions that doing so may void the phone's warranty, and that some carriers may have implemented additional protections that prevent the tool from working. In addition, unlocked phones will stop receiving official software updates from Sony.

And don't expect the world once you get Firefox OS up and running, either – or even a phone, for that matter. Not only is mobile carrier connectivity not working in this build, but neither are Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

You know what? Rather than going through all the trouble, maybe you should just watch the video

That leaves you with a pretty limited range of things you can do with Firefox OS on the Sony hardware for now, and a limited number of applications you can build for it, too. Nothing that requires network connectivity will work.

Still, if you're eager to get a feel for how Firefox OS will function on fairly modest hardware, here's your chance – and don't worry, you can always flash your phone back to Android once you're done exploring.

If this developer build sounds too unfinished for you, on the other hand, Spanish startup Geeksphone plans to ship two more-fully-featured Firefox OS devices for developers soon, and you only have a few months to wait before finished, commercial devices become available.

At its Mobile World Congress event on Sunday, Mozilla said that "the first wave" of Firefox OS handsets will go on sale to consumers in Brazil, Colombia, Hungary, Mexico, Montenegro, Poland, Serbia, Spain, and Venezuela beginning this summer, with additional markets to be announced soon. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Preview redux: Microsoft ships new Windows 10 build with 7,000 changes
Latest bleeding-edge bits borrow Action Center from Windows Phone
Google opens Inbox – email for people too thick to handle email
Print this article out and give it to someone tech-y if you get stuck
Microsoft promises Windows 10 will mean two-factor auth for all
Sneak peek at security features Redmond's baking into new OS
FTDI yanks chip-bricking driver from Windows Update, vows to fight on
Next driver to battle fake chips with 'non-invasive' methods
UNIX greybeards threaten Debian fork over systemd plan
'Veteran Unix Admins' fear desktop emphasis is betraying open source
Entity Framework goes 'code first' as Microsoft pulls visual design tool
Visual Studio database diagramming's out the window
Google+ goes TITSUP. But WHO knew? How long? Anyone ... Hello ...
Wobbly Gmail, Contacts, Calendar on the other hand ...
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.