Firefox has arrived to disrupt the party of the two major technology giants – Google (Android) and Apple (iOS) – with a new OS for the mobile world. Interestingly a lot of telecom providers are signing up for Mozilla’s new offering.
Firefox OS, the new, HTML5-friendly mobile OS from Mozilla, is today taking a big step forward in its strategy to become a viable third player in the smartphone landscape currently dominated by Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS. Mozilla is announcing that 18 carriers have now committed to its Open Web HTML5 device push; the launch of the Firefox Marketplace app store to aggregate content for the platform; and some of the first low-cost handsets coming out of its carrier partnerships that will be coming out this summer.
Providers who have signed up include: Telefónica (Spain and Latin America), Deutsche Telekom (will bring Firefox phones to Poland and then to other Eastern European countries), Latin American giant America Movil, Norway’s Telenor with operations in Eastern Europe and Asia, including Malaysia, Pakistan and Bangladesh and others (China Unicom, Etisalat, Hutchison Three Group, Japan’s KDDI, Korea’s KT, Russian MegaFon, Qtel, SingTel, Smart, Sprint, Telecom Italia Group, Telstra, Portugal’s TMN and Russia’s VimpelCom).
Even the Firefox Marketplace is gearing up with apps for the new HTML-5 based OS as the following apps have signed up – Zeptolab, maker of Cut the Rope; Disney Mobile Games; EA games; Facebook; MTV Brasil; Nokia’s mapping effort HERE; SoundCloud and Twitter!
What does Firefox provide carriers? Bigger say in things and a larger cut in the revenues. Here is how an HTML-5 based OS makes things better for the carriers:
The HTML5-based framework of Firefox OS, built on open Web standards, will mean that every aspect of the device — including even the phone dialler — is built as an HTML5 application. Firefox says that allows for faster performance compared to how HTML5 typically works on Android- or iOS-powered devices, where web apps have been often seen as inferior to native apps on those platforms.
It also gives carriers the chance to customize and localize those interfaces and services — including apps, and including the Firefox Marketplace — as they choose, a level of flexibility they cannot have with iOS or with Android (unless they decide to work on a forked version of the latter, which then cuts out access to the Google Play app store).
In the case of Deutsche Telekom, for example, the carrier says that it will be pre-loading “strategically relevant building blocks, such as those for security,” but it also adds that it is providing “a network operator’s perspective” on technical requirements for handset makers.
“Firefox OS brings the freedom and unbounded innovation of the open Web to mobile users everywhere,” said Gary Kovacs, CEO, Mozilla, in a statement. “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.”
That is great!! So get ready for another interesting and smart entrant to the field of Mobile OS and apps!