May 09, 2013

Mozilla’s Firefox OS Not Just for Entry-Level Devices

When the Mozilla (NewsAlert) Corporation first started talking about its mobile Firefox OS about a year ago, the company seemed pretty certain that it was only really aiming for the low-cost market. In fact, Matthew Key, chairman and CEO of Telefonica (News Alert) Digital, at the time described the OS as a way to bring "a better smartphone experience to a higher proportion of the population at a lower cost."

Of course, this was never set in stone and, since the OS is open to any manufacturer to use, it was only a matter of time before a top-end device sporting Firefox appeared. Indeed, Sony is expected to release a premium smartphone based on Mozilla’s first mobile operating system, according to Li Gong, Mozilla’s senior vice president for mobile devices. He added that the two companies are in joint discussions regarding the proposed device.

It’s still unclear, though, how well a high-end Firefox device would do in the iPhone and Android (NewsAlert)-dominated high-end mobile market. Analysts are doubtful that Mozilla can make a significant impact on the smartphone market as a whole, in fact, given its late entrance to the market. Still, Mozilla is keen to give the high-end mobile market a shot.

"The low-end entry point devices are good point to enter the market. But that doesn’t mean we can’t scale up or we don’t want to scale. We do want to scale up," said Gong. "But an ecosystem takes some time to build."

So far, Sony, LG, ZTE (NewsAlert), Huawei and Alcatel are working to develop Firefox OS phones, while 18 telecom operators are interested in carrying those devices. This support has gone a long way to make Mozilla feel more confident in its mobile operating system’s chances at being the third major mobile platform, alongside Android and iOS.

On a technical level, Firefox OS is certainly unique due to its HTML5 base. Even if it proves to be the superior option, however, that still won’t guarantee its success — just look into the history of webOS for an example of this.

Edited by Alisen Downey


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