Firefox mobile OS wins operator support

Software firm and browser developer Mozilla claims industry support is growing behind its plans to launch an open operating system based on HTML5. On Monday the company confirmed the OS will use the Firefox brand and is designed to power smartphones “built entirely to open web standards,” where all of the device’s capabilities can be developed as HTML5 applications.

Following Telefónica’s lead from World Congress in February, Deutsche Telekom, Etisalat, Smart, Sprint, Telecom Italia and Telenor have now signed up to back the open Firefox OS as an option for delivering cheaper smartphones.

Device manufacturers TCL Communication Technology (under the Alcatel One Touch brand) and ZTE have also announced their intentions to manufacture the first devices to feature the Firefox OS, using Snapdragon processors from Qualcomm.

The first commercial devices are expected to launch in Brazil in early 2013 through Telefónica’s commercial brand, Vivo.

The Firefox OS for mobile is built on Mozilla’s Boot to Gecko project, under which every phone feature from calling to messaging and games, is an HTML5 application, removing “unnecessary” middleware layers and offering richer experiences at lower price points.

Matthew Key, chairman & CEO of Telefónica Digital, said: “Firefox OS will deliver a higher performance than current low cost smartphones can achieve, enabling more people to benefit from a better experience. 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.”

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