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Mozilla Firefox OS phones launching in July

Mozilla are wanting to challenge Google in the mobile field by launching a series of new smartphones featuring a Firefox based operating system. The launch will happen in July after Mozilla won the backing of 13 wireless service providers around the world.

Mozilla are hoping there is some room left in the mobile space, alongside Apple iOS and Google Android platforms. Mozilla say that their operating system will be able to operate on devices with much lower hardware specifications than current devices and that they will be based purely on open web standards.

Firefox OS is open source and web based which means that third party developers can sell mobile software without sharing revenue with any company.

Jay Sullivan, Mozilla’s senior vice president of products said “There’s a strategic imperative for the industry to have another OS that really is open and supports choice and competition.”

Mozilla are planning to showcase some of the first devices at the Mobile World Congress which takes place in Barcelona this week. Some of the brands already signed on to create Firefox OS devices are Huawei, ZTE and LG.

The Firefox devices will be built on the HTML5 standard, unlike Google and Apple products. Anyone who can code for the web should be able to make Firefox OS applications without much effort.

It will be interesting to see how this develops as Mark Zuckerberg from Facebook said that HTML5 couldn’t deliver acceptable quality and that attempting to use HTML5 for their iPhone app last year was one of the company’s ‘biggest mistakes’.

Android is currently claiming 70 percent of the worldwide smartphone market, driven by leader Samsung in the fourth quarter. Apple have around 21 percent of the market.

IDC analyst John Jackson said “The real barrier here is not necessarily a technical one, it’s scale.” Mozilla will need to be able to release a lot of applications to get people interested in the platform. He added “he world’s computing experiences are going mobile and when they get to the mobile environment, they’re happening on a platform that’s controlled by either Apple or Google. There’s a universe of content and service providers that have an interest in seeing a more neutral platform materialise.”

Mozilla will initially target Eastern Europe, Asia and Latin America, the ’emerging economies’. They reckon a launch wholeprice of $100 will be possible.

Kitguru says: A new alternative, but will it be a welcome one?

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