Telecom operators including the UAE’s Etisalat have thrown their support behind Mozilla’s plans to launch a new fully open mobile ecosystem based on HTML5.
Mozilla, a champion of open source internet tools and software, has confirmed that the OS will use its Firefox brand and will power the launch of smartphones built entirely to open Web standards, where all of the device’s capabilities can be developed as HTML5 applications.
Operators including Etisalat, Deutsche Telekom, Smart, Sprint, Telecom Italia, Telefónica and Telenor are backing the open Firefox OS as a new entrant to the smartphone marketplace. They have also identified the potential of the technology to deliver “compelling smartphone experiences at attainable prices”, Mozilla said in a blog post.
Device manufacturers TCL Communication Technology and ZTE said that they intend to manufacture the first devices to feature the new Firefox OS, using Snapdragon processors from mobile chip set giant Qualcomm.
The first Firefox OS powered devices are expected to launch commercially in Brazil in early 2013 through Telefónica’s commercial brand, Vivo.
“The Firefox OS for mobile devices is built on Mozilla’s ‘Boot to Gecko project’ which unlocks many of the current limitations of web development on mobile, allowing HTML5 applications to access the underlying capabilities of a phone, previously only available to native applications,” Mozilla said.
Mozilla added that it had joined forces with Telefónica’s Digital unit earlier this year to work on the project and showcase a new phone architecture where every phone feature, such as calling, messaging and games is an HTML5 application.
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According to Mozilla, the platform will aid the development of entry-level smartphones and the removal of “unnecessary middleware layers” will allow mobile operators to offer “richer experiences” at the lower end of the smartphone price range. This will help to drive adoption across developing markets.
“Mozilla and all other participants are committed to ensuring the project is fully open and the reference implementation of the required Web APIs is being submitted to W3C for standardization,” the blog post added.
Gary Kovacs, CEO, Mozilla, said: “The introduction of the open mobile OS continues the Mozilla mission to promote openness, innovation and opportunity on the Web for users and developers. As billions of users are expected to come online for the first time in the coming years, it is important to deliver a compelling smartphone experience that anyone can use. The large number of operators and manufacturers now supporting this effort will bring additional resources and diversity to our global offerings.”