Firefox OS to launch early 2013 in Brazil on entry-level ZTE smartphone.
Mozilla has branded its smartphone operating system as Firefox OS and signed up initial manufacturers and a number of global carriers–including Sprint Nextel Corp.–to support the new platform.
The advancement of the open-source Firefox OS comes as the smartphone market is dominated by Apple Inc.’s iOS and Google Inc.’s Android, which is also open source. At the end of February, Android was used on more than half of all U.S. smartphones, and iOS was on another third, according to data tracker comScore Inc.
Microsoft Corp. and Research In Motion Ltd are also planning updated versions of their existing mobile operating systems with the hope of becoming a more popular third option.
The Firefox software is streamlined for entry-level smartphones that will be at the lower end of traditional smartphone pricing, Mozilla said, something that will help “drive adoption across developing markets.”
Mozilla is a nonprofit organization based in Silicon Valley that is most famous for its open-source Firefox Internet browser that has challenged the dominance of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer.
Mozilla said Monday that Chinese device makers TCL Communication Technology Holdings Ltd. and ZTE Corp intend to make the first devices to run the new operating system. The software is based entirely on HTML5 and uses Qualcomm Inc.’s Snapdragon chips.
The first Firefox OS devices are expected to be sold in Brazil in early 2013 through Telefonica Brasil S.A.’s Vivo brand. In addition, the platform is being supported by other carriers including Deutsche Telekom AG and Telecom Italia SpA.