A number of wireless carriers have already announced their support for Firefox OS. They include Sprint here in the US, along with Deutsche Telekom, Etisalat, Smart, Telecom Italia, Telefónica and Telenor.
Device manufacturers TCL Communication Technology (under the Alcatel One Touch brand) and ZTE today announced their intentions to manufacture the first devices to feature the new Firefox OS, using Snapdragon processors from Qualcomm Incorporated, the leader in smartphone platforms. The first Firefox OS powered devices are expected to launch commercially in Brazil in early 2013 through Telefónica’s commercial brand, Vivo.
The major selling point for Firefox OS is that it is based on the web standard HTML5. All of its features, including messaging, calling, apps and more, will be based on HTML5 giving it a more unified approach over iOS, Android and the Windows Phone OS.
Due to the optimization of the platform for entry-level smartphones and the removal of unnecessary middleware layers, mobile operators will have the ability to offer richer experiences at a range of price points including at the low end of the smartphone price range, helping 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 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,” said Gary Kovacs, CEO, Mozilla. “The large number of operators and manufacturers now supporting this effort will bring additional resources and diversity to our global offerings.”
Being primarily web based means that manufactures can offer Firefox OS on cheaply priced smartphones and offer great compatibility across several platforms. A web approach also means far less fragmentation can occur as most of your components are taken off the phone and placed online. Web apps will also be able to take full advantage of the device's hardware capabilities such as a gyroscope or camera, something that is more difficult to achieve on current smartphones, according to Mozilla.