CES 2013: ZTE Firefox OS Smartphone Coming In 2013


ZTE looks to free itself from its Android dependency

ZTE has said it will bring a Firefox OS-based smartphone to Europe and possibly the US, according to a report.

Speaking at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Cheng Lexin, CEO of ZTE’s US unit, told Bloomberg it was working with an unspecified European wireless carrier to bring the handset to market this year.

Firefox OS is being developed by Mozilla as a web-based open source alternative to other major mobile operating systems such as iOS and Android which account for the majority of the smartphone market. Potential challengers could be Ubuntu, which was first shown on smartphones last week, and Sailfish which has risen from the ashes of the Linux-based and Nokia and Intel-backed MeeGo.

ZTE Firefox OS smartphone coming

Applications are built on HTML5 to make existing software easy for developers to adapt for the platform and it has been suggested that any ZTE-Firefox OS partnership could acquire one percent of the market next year.

“We have announced Firefox OS partners including device manufacturers like TCL Communication Technology (Alcatel) and ZTE; chipset manufacturer Qualcomm; network operator partners like Deutsche Telekom and Telefónica,” said Jay Sullivan, vice president of products at Mozilla. “Telefonica has announced plans to ship devices in Latin America in 2013. While we have no further announcements at this time, interest and momentum continues to grow in Firefox OS.”

ZTE is apparently seeking partnerships to offer devices with the new operating system to reduce its reliance on Android, which currently accounts for three quarters of all smartphone shipments. It is not alone as Samsung, which has benefited greatly from its Android devices, has put its weight behind the Linux-based Tizen operating system as an alternative.

Telefonica is also keen to reduce its dependency on the Google developer operating system and has been involved with the creation of Firefox OS.

It sees the platform as a potential adoption accelerator in emerging markets and the first device running Firefox OS will be released in Brazil on Telefonica’s Vivo brand, costing less than $100. However it appears as though developer markets are also being targeted.

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