The Geeksphone Revolution could make our multi-OS smartphone wishes come true

At the end of November 2013, Geeksphone teased the forthcoming release of a new phone, called the Revolution. Why the dramatic name? It wasn’t clear at the time, but it was eventually revealed the device would run both Android and Firefox OS. The finer details on how this would work were a mystery, but it was rumored to be a dual-book smartphone with the option to switch between Google Android and to Boot2Gecko by Mozilla. Geeksphone even hinted about the chance to instal other operating systems in the future. 

Updated on 02-28-2014 by Andy: We visited Geeksphone at Mobile World Congress to get a closer look at the Revolution, and clarified how the dual-boot system will work. It turns out it’s not a dual-boot phone at all, at least, not yet. The phone does run Android and Firefox, just not at the same time. Dig into the About Phone menu on Android and you’ll see a Superuser icon, where the option to cleanly install either operating system is hidden. It erases the previous OS at the same time, so you probably wouldn’t want to do it everyday, but we’re told a true dual-boot system will still come in the future.

A Geeksphone spokesperson also said it’s in talks with Canonical and Jolla, and could offer a choice of all four operating systems – Android, Firefox OS, Ubuntu Mobile, and Sailfish OS – on the Revolution. Booting between all of them would be great, but even just the option to buy a phone and then chose which OS to install is very intriguing. On the hardware side, the model we used was decent, although it had seen some tough treatment throughout the show. The low-resolution screen meant the display could be sharper, and the design isn’t the most inspiring.

However, the Revolution isn’t about showing off. It’s for geeks, developers, and mobile-mad enthusiasts. No, our early experience with Firefox OS wasn’t a pleasant one, but it is getting better and the Geeksphone offers nightly builds to download, so it’s always running the latest version. Android, as we all know, is fine. Also, if you’re wondering why Geeksphone refers to Firefox OS as Boot2Gecko, it’s a legal issue with the Firefox name, but it’s essentially the same software. 

The dual operating system isn’t the only interesting thing about the Revolution either. The phone uses a dual-core 1.6GHz Intel Z2560 processor, and not a Qualcomm or Nvidia chip, which would be more common. The chip, also known as the Clover Trail+, is joined by 1GB of RAM, 4GB of internal memory, and a MicroSD card slot. The Revolution’s screen measures 4.7-inches and has a 960 x 540 pixel resolution, plus the phone has an 8-megapixel camera, and 3G connectivity.

The Revolution is now available to buy directly from Geeksphone, where it costs 220 euros, or just over $300, and shipping will start on March 4.

Article originally published on 01-29.2014


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