Mozilla previewed the first commercial build of its Firefox OS open mobile ecosystem and announced new operator rollout plans at a press conference before the start of Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
The first wave of Firefox OS devices will be available to consumers in Brazil, Colombia, Hungary, Mexico, Montenegro, Poland, Serbia, Spain and Venezuela. Mozilla pledged to announce additional markets soon.
To date, 17 key global operators have committed to the open Web device initiative: América Móvil, China Unicom, Deutsche Telekom, Etisalat, Hutchison Three Group, KDDI, KT, MegaFon, Qtel, SingTel, Smart, Sprint, Telecom Italia Group, Telefónica, Telenor, TMN and VimpelCom.
According to Mozilla, Firefox OS smartphones are the first built entirely to open Web standards, enabling every feature to be developed as an HTML5 application. Web apps access every underlying capability of the device, bypassing the typical hindrances of HTML5 on mobile to deliver substantial performance, Mozilla claimed.
"The platform's flexibility allows carriers to easily tailor the interface and develop localised services that match the unique needs of their customer base," the company said.
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Mozilla is working with manufacturers Alcatel (TCL), LG and ZTE to build the first Firefox OS devices, with Huawei to follow later in the year, all powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon mobile processors. In addition, Mozilla has signed strategic agreements with key content and service partners.
"Consumers will get a dynamic, rich and open smartphone experience that provides easy access to everything they love on the Web, including Facebook and Twitter integration, with a smple, fast interface and built-in cost controls," said Mozilla.
"Firefox OS brings the freedom and unbounded innovation of the open Web to mobile users everywhere," said Gary Kovacs, CEO, Mozilla. "With the support of our vibrant community and dedicated partners, our goal is to level the playing field and usher in an explosion of content and services that will meet the diverse needs of the next two billion people online."
Initial "first wave" launch plans were announced by América Móvil, Deutsche Telekom, Telefónica and Telenor, most seeing starts mid-year.
Ahmad Abdulkarim Julfar, chief executive officer, Etisalat Group said: "We are happy to be part of this innovation and to support Mozilla in the launch of this new operating system. Firefox OS smartphones will make a valuable addition to our portfolio and grant our customers a rich and personalised experience. We welcome this development and congratulate Mozilla on their progress."