is built on a platform based on the HTML5 web standard. Every part of the software, including calling and messaging, will be an HTML5 app. As a result, devices based on Firefox Mobile OS will be uniquely accessible to developers in a way most smartphone platforms are not.
Mozilla said: “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.”
Mozilla has gained backing from mobile operators including O2 owner Telefónica, Deutsche Telekom, Etisalat, Smart, Sprint, Telecom Italia and Telenor. Chinese firms ZTE and TCL have also confirmed that they will be developing hardware designed around the new mobile platform and featuring the Qualcomm Snapdragon ARM-based processor.
Gary Kovacs, CEO of Mozilla said: “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,”
However, the platform will have an uphill battle to gain market share. Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform is still struggling to make an impact against market leaders Google and Apple, despite some impressive features and the backing of a multi-billion dollar company. Despite this, Mozilla’s mobile operator partners are confident in the project’s success.
“Firefox OS will bring a better smartphone experience to a higher proportion of the population at a lower cost,” claimed Matthew Key, chair and chief executive of Telefónica Digital. “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.”
The first devices based on the new platform are expected to appear in Brazil in 2013 under Telefónica’s Vivo brand.