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First FireFox Mobile OS Devices Announced

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined
as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Open web-based platform gains global network support and will launch in Brazil next year

Mozilla has confirmed that the first devices running its open web-based mobile operating system will be phones made TCL Communication Technology and ZTE.

The first devices running on the platform, now known as FireFox Mobile OS, will launch commercially in Brazil in early 2013 on Telefonica’s Vivo brand.

A number of other networks, including Deutsche Telekom, Etisalat, Smart, Sprint, Telecom Italia and Telenor have also pledged their support to the FireFox Mobile OS, which is based on Mozilla’s “boot to Gecko” project. However there was no news on the rumoured app store.

Developing markets targeted

Mozilla said the support it has gained demonstrated the potential of the technology to deliver “compelling smartphone experiences at attainable prices.” The project was first announced last year, with the goal of building a complete, standalone operating system for the open web, with all functions performed by HTML5 applications.

Mozilla and all other participants have committed to ensuring that the project is fully open and the reference implementation of the required Web APIs is currently being submitted to W3C for standardisation.

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

Both ZTE and TCL Communication Technology, which will launch its device under the Alcatel One Touch brand, will use Qualcomm Snapdragon processors to power their phones. Earlier this year, Telefonica worked with Mozilla to showcase the architecture and believes it can help drive adoption in developing markets.

“Firefox OS will bring a better smartphone experience to a higher proportion of the population at a lower cost,” said Matthew Key, chairman and CEO of Telefonica 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.”

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