Firefox OS Driven 'Flame' Developer Smartphone Now Available For Pre-Order

One thing is clear: the next area of consumer gadgetry to boom is apt to be extremely refined low-end smartphones. Over the past year, we've seen entrants from BLU, OnePlus, and Motorola (to name a few) that cost under $200 without a contract, yet perform superbly -- even compared to flagship phones costing well over $500. But most of those have relied on Android, or a tweak of Android.

Firefox OS is spinning things a little differently, but has yet to truly catch on in the way that high-powered, easy-to-afford Android handsets have. The Firefox OS Flame reference device could turn the tides a bit, as the dev phone is now available for pre-order for $170. The reference device is a big step in a platform gaining mainstream traction. This particular device will allow those interested in building for Firefox OS to focus their efforts around a singular product, with all devs (in theory) building and testing on the same hardware. In turn, we should see uniform results and streamlined software.

The Flame is a mid-tier device, aiming to strike a balance and also provide a pillar of focus for devs to hone in on. It should be representative of how most Firefox OS devices will perform. Inside, there's a 1.2GHz Snapdragon (dual-core) CPU, a 4.5" display (854 x 480), a 5MP rear-facing camera, a 2MP front-facing camera, 8GB of memory, a microSD slot, A-GPS, NFC, dual SIM support, Wi-Fi, and a 1,800mAh battery.

The Flame is set to ship in around four weeks to devs who are interested.