Firefox OS To Launch In Five Countries This June But Not UK

Firefox OS will launch in a number of European and South American nations by the end of 2013

Outgoing Mozilla CEO Gary Kovacs has confirmed smartphones running Firefox OS will launch in five countries in June, before reaching 11 more by the end of the year.

Speaking at the D: Dive Into Mobile Conference, Kovacs said Brazil, Poland, Portugal, Spain and Venezuela would be the first to receive the platform. The five were among a number of countries mentioned by the company during Mobile World Congress (MWC) in February, along with Colombia, Hungary, Mexico, Montenegro and Serbia.

However, the US will have to wait until at least 2014 to get its hands on Firefox OS, which is not surprising given Mozilla is targeting emerging markets and lower-end hardware rather than the premium smartphones favoured by the American market. There is no indication as to when it might be released in the UK.

Encouraging developers

ZTE-open firefox phone silicon franceKovacs said the open web-based nature of the operating system would hopefully appeal to application creators in the developing world and stimulate the Firefox OS ecosystem.

He has likened this to the achievement of the Firefox browser, which forced the adoption of certain web standards and helped create a browser market that has never been more competitive.

Chinese manufacturer ZTE revealed the first Firefox OS based smartphone, the ZTE Open, at MWC, but Kovacs admitted the first wave of devices was more about getting the platform out there and encourage developers to create apps. Innovation would come later, he said.

It was announced last week that Kovacs is to step down at the not-for-profit organisation later this year. He joined Mozilla in November 2010 after spells at IBM, SAP and Macromedia (later Adobe).

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