Device manufacturers TCL Communication Technology (under the Alcatel One Touch brand) and 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 Telefonica's commercial brand, Vivo.
The Firefox OS for mobile devices is built on Mozilla's "Boot to Gecko project" which 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. Telefonica's Digital unit joined forces with Mozilla earlier this year to take this work and showcase a new phone architecture where every phone feature (calling, messaging, games, etc.) is an HTML5 application.
Due to the optimization of the platform for entry-level smartphones and the removal of unnecessary middleware layers, mobile operators will have the ability 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.
The project is fully open and the reference implementation of the required Web APIs has been submitted to W3C for standardization.
"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."