Mozilla announced that its project to build a smartphone operating system (formerly known as "Boot to Gecko") based on Web standards is now known as Firefox OS for mobile devices and it will be on devices in 2013.
Mozilla said the Firefox phone is the real
deal and should start hitting the scene in 2013.
Mozilla announced a clear and distinct
increase in momentum behind its plans to launch an open mobile ecosystem based
on HTML5, including new commitments from device manufacturers and carriers to
support the strategy and deliver devices powered by an open Web-based OS.
Known initially as the Boot
to Gecko project, the newly named Firefox OS for mobile devices unlocks
many of the current limitations of Web development on mobile, allowing HTML5
applications to access the underlying capabilities of a phone, previously only
available to native applications, Mozilla said in a press release. Telefonicas
Digital unit joined forces with Mozilla earlier this year to get involved in
this effort and showcase a new phone architecture where every phone featurecalling,
messaging, games, etc.is an HTML5 application.
The introduction of the open mobile OS
continues the Mozilla mission to promote openness, innovation and opportunity
on the Web for users and developers, said Gary Kovacs, CEO of Mozilla, in a
statement. As billions of users are expected to come online for the first time
in the coming years, it is important to deliver a compelling smartphone
experience that anyone can use. The large number of operators and manufacturers
now supporting this effort will bring additional resources and diversity to our
The new operating system will power the
launch of smartphones built entirely to open Web standards, where all of the
devices capabilities can be developed as HTML5 applications, Mozilla said.
Indeed, leading operators such as Deutsche
Telekom, Etisalat, Smart, Sprint, Telecom Italia, Telefonica and Telenor are
backing the open Firefox OS as an exciting new entrant to the smartphone
marketplace. They have also identified the potential of the technology to
deliver compelling smartphone experiences at attainable prices.
Firefox OS will bring a better smartphone
experience to a higher proportion of the population at a lower cost. This is
crucial for us to accelerate the adoption of smartphones in developing
markets, said Matthew Key, chairman and CEO of Telefonica Digital, in a
statement. The breadth of support for this initiative across the industry
makes it clear that there is an opportunity in the market for a new, open
Sprint continues to support an open mobile
ecosystem that enables choice for Sprint customers and a healthy competitive
ecosystem for the technical community, said Fared Adib, product chief at
Sprint, in a statement. Firefox Mobile OS can help us drive an HTML 5-based
platform for creating lower-cost smartphone options for prepaid, postpaid and
Meanwhile, device manufacturers TCL
Communication Technologyunder the Alcatel One Touch brandand ZTE today
announced their intentions to manufacture the first devices to feature the new
Firefox OS, using Snapdragon processors from Qualcomm. The first Firefox OS-powered
devices are expected to launch commercially in Brazil in early 2013 through
Telefonicas commercial brand, Vivo.
The Firefox OS will be optimized for
entry-level smartphones, meaning that unnecessary middleware will be removed.
Thus mobile operators will be able to offer richer experiences at a range of
price points, including at the low end of the smartphone price range, helping
to drive adoption across developing markets.
Deutsche Telekoms objective is to provide
our customers a choice from a variety of attractive, and best of breed,
products and servicesfrom DT as well as from our partners, Thomas Kiessling,
chief product and innovation officer at Deutsche Telekom, said in a statement.
Partnering is key for Deutsche Telekom and our cooperation with Mozilla is one
important initiative for us. We support Mozillas Firefox OS project since we
really believe that it embodies openness, innovation and competition, and it is
part of a growing cloud and HTML5-based ecosystem. As a function of our
commitment, our Innovation Laboratorys Silicon Valley Center is working
closely with Mozillas development team and, e.g., is contributing NFC-
[near-field communication-] enabling software to the Boot to Gecko Platform.
Cesare Sironi, head of innovation and
industry relations at Telecom Italia, said, Mobile operating systems natively
based on HTML5 will lower the barriers to provide our customers with performing
and innovative mobile applications and services. Open Web technologies are the
key for the development of a sustainable and valuable application ecosystem.
Kristin Skogen Lund, CEO of Telenor Digital
Services, said, We are pleased to be part of the coalition supporting the
launch of the new open mobile ecosystem. This will enable free and open service
distribution to our customers, in addition to providing attractive smartphones
at attainable prices, which is especially important for the adoption in emerging
And, also in a statement, Essa Al Haddad,
chief commercial officer at Etisalat Group, said: Etisalat aims to enrich the
user experience and improve the life of its customers by providing enhanced
services across a complete portfolio of devices and operating systems. Firefox
OS will provide an open-source platform to our customers and various ecosystem
players, such as application developers, to experience innovative services.
Thanks to this strategic initiative, the industry will benefit from a sustained
growth in mobile data and the development of cutting-edge applications, as well
as the promise of affordable smartphone devices that provide an enriched
Mozilla and all other participants are
committed to ensuring the project is fully open and the reference implementation
of the required Web APIs is being submitted to the World Wide Web Consortium
(W3C) for standardization.
Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.