Mozilla ready to join platform battle
Adverts for devices outside the Mobile World Congress yesterday. photograph: bloomberg
The mobile industry is gearing up for another platform battle as Mozilla announced its plans to roll out its open-source smartphone operating system.
The company is taking on Apple and Google with Firefox OS, a HTML5-based operating system that will launch in 17 markets around the world this year.
The operating system (OS), which was announced last year, will be available in emerging markets initially, with Poland, Hungary and Serbia already confirmed as markets.
Partner Telefonica said it would start to sell Firefox OS devices in Spain, Brazil, Colombia and Venezuela this summer, expanding the devices to all its network by 2014. In Ireland, Telefonica operates as O2.
Chief executive Gary Kovacs said the current situation in the mobile industry was similar to how the internet had been a decade earlier, describing it as “unnaturally controlled”.
“It’s an ambitious initiative,” Mr Kovacs said. “It’s an entirely HTML-based device, allowing everyone around the world to participate in mobile.”
The company said 23 partners were working to bring the new OS to mobile users around the world, with manufacturers such as ZTE, LG, Huawei and AlcatelOneTouch producing handsets.
Criticising some of the current smartphone systems, Mr Kovacs said Mozilla did not believe that one or two companies should approve every bit of software that people accessed on their phones.
Mozilla is taking on a well-established market. Google has almost 70 per cent of the global smartphone market, with Apple on 21 per cent, according to Gartner’s latest figures.
The lead up to the Mobile World Congress, which begins today in Barcelona and runs until Thursday, also saw Samsung unveil its latest tablet, an 8inch device that is being seen as a rival to Apple’s iPad-mini.
The new tablet is part of the Note series, which uses Samsung’s S Pen stylus.
Meanwhile, Chinese mobile maker Huawei revealed a new 4G device, Huawei’s Ascend P2, which comes with a 4.7in screen and “MagicTouch” which enables the phone to be used with gloves.