Firefox Wants to Fix the Mobile Web, Launching HTML5 OS in 2013

There will be a new mobile operating system launching next year, adding to the growing number of alternatives for the major players.  Mozilla announced that by 2013, they will be launching a mobile OS, Firefox OS, to take on the mobile leaders of today.

The first mobile devices to feature Firefox OS will be manufactured by TCL Communication Technology (Alcatel) and ZTE.  This effort is backed by global partners such as Deutsche Telekom, Etisalat, Smart, Sprint, Telecom Italia, Telefónica and Telenor.

“The introduction of the open mobile OS continues the Mozilla mission to promote openness, innovation and opportunity on the Web for users and developers.  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,” said Gary Kovacs, CEO, Mozilla. “The large number of operators and manufacturers now supporting this effort will bring additional resources and diversity to our global offerings.”

Firefox OS is a new fully open mobile ecosystem based on HTML5.  Firefox OS is part of Mozilla’s “Boot to Gecko project” which addresses 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.

TCL Communication Technology and ZTE announced that their first smartphones to feature Firefox OS will use Snapdragon processors from Qualcomm Incorporated, the leader in smartphone platforms.  The first Firefox OS smartphone will be available in Brazil by early 2013 through Telefónica’s commercial brand, Vivo.

“Firefox OS will bring a better smartphone experience to a higher proportion of the population at a lower cost,” Matthew Key, Chairman & CEO of Telefónica Digital commented.  “This is crucial for us to accelerate the adoption of smartphones in developing markets. 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 mobile ecosystem.”

This global partnership will help optimize the platform for entry-level smartphones and remove unnecessary middleware layers so mobile operators will be able offer richer experiences at a low price range.  This will help developing markets transition from feature phones to smartphones.

“We welcome the introduction of the Firefox OS, and we recognize the exciting potentials of an HTML5-based, fully open mobile ecosystem,” Orlando B. Vea, Chief Wireless Advisor of Smart said.  “As the leading wireless services provider in the Philippines, we are keen to work with industry players like Mozilla to create relevant and delightful mobile Internet experiences for Filipino mobile users as we make data connectivity even more pervasive in the country.

“Firefox entering the smartphone market is a welcome development and we look forward to seeing HTML5 bring mobile technology to new levels not thought possible before,” Vea added.

Mozilla and their partners are committed in ensuring that the project is fully open and the reference implementation of the required Web APIs is being submitted to W3C for standardization.