Mozilla previews Firefox OS with four phone makers and 18 operators onboard

The first phones will come from Alcatel One Touch, LG Electronics and ZTE

Mozilla previewed the first commercial build of its Firefox OS and announced several operator and smartphone rollout plans on Sunday at Mobile World Congress.

The OS is being pitched as a better alternative for low-end smartphones in developing markets and is built around applications written using HTML5.

The first phones using the OS are all powered by Qualcomm processors and will be offered by Alcatel One Touch, LG Electronics and ZTE starting this summer, according to Mozilla. Huawei Technologies will also come out with products later this year, it said.

ZTE will officially announce its first phone in Barcelona on Monday.

In addition to the phone makers, 18 operators are also lining up behind Firefox OS, including América Móvil, China Unicom, Deutsche Telekom, Japan's KDDI, Sprint, Telecom Italia, Telefónica and Telenor. The operators will first launch phones in Brazil, Colombia, Hungary, Mexico, Montenegro, Poland, Serbia, Spain and Venezuela, they said.

Mozilla expects more phone makers and more markets to added going forward. The U.S. market will have to wait until 2014, it said.

For any operating system, the availability of apps and support from developers are both very important.

Mozilla said it doesn't need to build a new ecosystem for Firefox OS because it can take advantage of all the HTML5 developers already writing software. At Mobile World Congress, it demonstrated integration with Facebook and mapping based on Nokia's Here platform. Applications for the OS will for example be available on Firefox Market.

Considerable operator support underlines the desire for an HTML5-based alternative to iOS and Android, but the depth of commitment is unclear, according to CCS Insight. Success hinges on apps, attractive devices and operator subsidies, it said.

The real acid test for Firefox OS and its long-term prospects is the quality of the software itself and the user and developer experiences that it fosters, according to Ovum. However, it will be difficult to say whether it meets those needs sufficiently until we have seen retail devices.

"What is clear from the Firefox OS demonstration handsets that we have seen was that they are still some way from being market ready, being both slow and buggy," it said in a statement.

At Mobile World Congress, Mozilla has also joined forces with Ericsson and AT&T to show WebRTC, a framework that allows browsers to perform functions usually confined to mobile phones such as voice and video calls and messaging.

The joint demonstration builds on Mozilla's Social API and WebRTC support in Firefox, Ericsson's Web Communication Gateway and the AT&T API platform to enable the browser to sync with a user's existing phone number and provide calling services without any plugins to download.

WebRTC (real-time communications) is being standardized by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). The demonstration is taking place at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, which opens its doors on Monday.

Send news tips and comments to mikael_ricknas@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Internet-based applications and servicesapplicationsTelephony/conferencingbrowsersMozilla FoundationsoftwaremobileinternetMWCmobile applications

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Mikael Ricknäs

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?