Mozilla Promotes Firefox OS, Announces Smartphone Carriers At Mobile World Congress
February 25, 2013

Mozilla Promotes Firefox OS, Announces Smartphone Carriers At Mobile World Congress

Peter Suciu for — Your Universe Online

On Sunday at the Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona, Spain, Mozilla proved it was serious about launching a smartphone operating system to take on Apple, Google, Microsoft and BlackBerry. Along with offering a preview of the first commercial build of its Firefox operating system for mobile handsets, the company announced it has the backing of some top carriers including America Movil, China Unicom, Deutsche Telekom, Japan's KDDI, Sprint, Telecom Italia, Telefonica and Telenor.

Theses operators will first launch phones in Brazil, Colombia, Hungary, Mexico, Montenegro, Poland, Serbia, Spain and Venezuela, according to a Mozilla company statement. Those in the United States will have to wait until at least next year to see a handset.

Several manufacturers have lined up to produce the open source-based handsets, which run on a platform based on the HTML5 web programming language and are powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon mobile processors. To date, Alcatel One Touch, LG, Huawei and TCL have announced handsets will come out this year.

On Monday as expected, China´s ZTE announced it would bring out the first Firefox-powered handset in the aptly named ZTE Open.

Mozilla is touting Firefox OS as providing an advantage for consumers looking for low-end smartphones, as it is based on the HTML5 standard. This doesn´t require the building of a new technological ecosystem for developers. In theory, apps developed for HTML5 that run on the Web should run on the handsets.

“Firefox OS brings the freedom and unbounded innovation of the open Web to mobile users everywhere,” said Gary Kovacs, CEO at Mozilla. “With the support of our vibrant community and dedicated partners, our goal is to level the playing field and usher in an explosion of content and services that will meet the diverse needs of the next two billion people online.”

Mozilla has also reportedly stated another advantage of this open source OS is apps can be used without needing to be installed, and then can be consumed on demand, as reported by USA TODAY.

While there are not as many big-name apps for the new HTML5 OS — at least not nearly as many as what are available for iOS or Android — Mozilla´s team believes this could change very quickly.

In an interview with the BBC on Monday, Mozilla´s team noted the Firefox marketplace is web-based and this could allow its device to do things differently. It could also address the fact developers won´t have time to learn a new programming language to create content for the handsets.

To that end, Mozilla hopes to get developers eager to create apps and make those available quickly. At the MWC on Sunday, Mozilla also offered a preview of its Firefox Marketplace, which the company announced will offers apps in categories including games, news and media, business and productivity.

“Firefox OS will break down the walls between apps and the Web because Firefox OS apps are built using Web technologies, like HTML5. We expect to see lots of amazing apps people love built for Firefox OS because more developers are already creating for the Web than for any other platform,” said Jay Sullivan, Mozilla Senior Vice President of Products. “Firefox OS delivers a rich, delightful and personalized experience for users and people can search for anything that is on their mind to discover relevant apps that can be used instantly, even apps they´ve never installed or used before.”