updated 01:05 pm EDT, Mon July 2, 2012
Sprint, Telefonica, ZTE, Alcatel on board for HTML5 phones
In a post today on The Mozilla Blog, Mozilla confirmed that next year will see the launch of a number of phones powered by its Firefox operating system. The new operating system, built on Mozilla's "Boot to Gecko project," will run HTML5 apps and is aimed at furthering the development of that standard while providing a low-cost operating system for smartphones aimed at developing markets. The browser maker has teamed with a number of telecoms, including Sprint, Smart, and Telefica, as well as device manufacturers Alcatel and ZTE.
Firefox OS' Gecko foundation will allow HTML5 apps to access phone capabilities previously available only to native applications. Previous demonstrations of the OS' features have shown off phone feature apps -- such as calling, messaging, and games -- built entirely in HTML5. Mozilla believes the optimization of the platform for entry-level smartphones, as well as the elimination of middleware layers, will allow carriers to offer higher-end experiences at low-end prices, which may drive adoption in developing markets.
Deutsche Telekom, Etisalat, Smart, Sprint, Telecom Italia, Telefica, and Telenor are the initial carrier partners for Firefox OS. TCL Communication Technology, under its Alcatel One Touch brand, and ZTE will be manufacturing the first Firefox OS devices. Those devices will feature Snapdragon processors from Qualcomm, and the first of them will be launched in Brazil in early 2013 through Telefica's commercial brand, Vivo.
Firefox OS will debut to a crowded mobile OS environment. In addition to Apple and Google, Microsoft will have rolled out its Windows Phone 8 platform by the time Firefox OS arrives. Also, HTC, Acer, and Asus are said to be working on devices that will run the Samsung-Intel-developed Tizen OS, another open standard based largely on HTML5.