After two years of work, Mozilla is almost ready to launch Firefox OS (formerly known as Boot 2 Gecko) in some of the world’s emerging markets.
Mozilla announced this morning that Deutsche Telekom and Telefonica are its first partners in launching Firefox OS smartphones. The carriers will begin selling the Alcatel One Touch Fire and ZTE Open later this month in emerging markets. The hope is that these markets will embrace the cheaper Firefox OS handsets as an alternative to more expensive Android and iOS devices.
“The launch of Firefox OS marks an incredibly exciting time for the Web. Firefox OS powers the first smartphones built entirely on Web technologies and will stimulate an inspiring new wave of innovation for the Web,” says Jay Sullivan, Mozilla Chief Operating Officer. “We are proud to deliver an experience for first time smartphone users that will delight them and really put the power of the Web in people’s hands.”
The first Firefox OS device out of the gate is coming from Telefonica. The carrier announced today that it will be launching the ZTE Open in Spain tomorrow for the relatively low price of $90. Those who buy the Open are obviously not looking for the best handset on the market, but they will get a decent smartphone for the price. The Open features a 3.5-inch display, 256MB of RAM, a 3.2MP camera and every phone will come with a 4GB microSD card.
Mozilla will also be launching the Firefox Marketplace alongside Firefox OS this month. It’s basically an app store, but it features a wide breadth of HTML5 apps that will work on Firefox OS devices and the Firefox for Android browser. The open nature of its HTML5 app store has ensured that the Firefox Marketplace will have plenty of apps at launch as well. Mozilla says that Firefox OS users will see apps from AccuWeather, Facebook, EA Games, Nokia HERE Maps, SoundCloud and more on day one.
Firefox OS may only be launching on two carriers this month, but Mozilla says that we’ll see its new mobile OS in a lot more places by the end of the year. The non-profit has lined up 17 carriers thus far to sell Firefox OS devices in emerging markets, and has even attracted manufacturers like Huawei and LG to make Firefox OS devices. Major players like Sony are even dabbling with the OS so more powerful Firefox OS devices are not out of the question.