Foxconn is best known as the manufacturer of the iPhone, iPad and other Apple devices that begin with a lowercase "i." The massive manufacturer may be diversifying its portfolio this year, however, with mobile devices that run Mozilla's new Firefox OS.
Reuters is reporting that Foxconn and Mozilla are planning to unveil a Firefox OS-based mobile device On June 3. The interesting bit about this new report is that Foxconn isn't working on a phone, but rather a tablet. This would be the first time that Mozilla has shown how its Firefox OS would adapt to tablet computing as the non-profit has only shown Firefox OS running on smartphones thus far.
The question now is - why go with Foxconn? It seems that Foxconn and Mozilla are hoping the relationship is mutually beneficial as Mozilla can sell more cheap devices in emerging markets while Foxconn can diversify its lineup. In regards to the latter, it seems that Foxconn is trying out new avenues of income after finding that unit orders from Apple for iPhone and iPad devices have been slowing down in recent months.
The current report makes it seem like the Firefox OS tablets will be marketed and sold by Mozilla. So far, Mozilla has opted to partner with carriers and third-party manufacturers for its Firefox OS smartphones. It will be interesting to see if it decides to go the Google route and sell its own Firefox-branded devices in the future.
It remains to be seen if Firefox OS will really take off, but the hardware is projected to appeal to emerging markets thanks to its inexpensiveness. Unfortunately for Mozilla, Google's Android has also been encroaching on that turf for quite some time, and Apple may be offering a cheap iPhone alternative in the future as well.
Mozilla's advantage in low price may not much of advantage when Firefox OS finally launches to consumers later this year so it had better have a rock-solid OS that people will want to use over Android and iOS.