Mozilla have recently announced that they will be launching the Firefox OS Mobile Phone platform, which used to be called “Boot to Gecko” early next year. Despite the fact that Firefox as a browser has been reportedly in decline what with the huge surge Google Chrome are having, Mozilla are aiming at a slightly different side of the market. Here in the Western world, despite the terrible economic decline we have all been experiencing, we are still pretty comfortable in comparison to the Third World countries. We can still manage to buy £400 or $500 smartphones, spending even more on tablets and all the rest of the fancy accessories that accompany such a purchase. Mozilla however are not directly competing against iOS or Android and soon to be Windows 8, Mozilla want a phone cheap enough for the Third World market but not compromising on the end user experience.
Some of the carriers reported to be onboard with Mozilla are, Deutsche Telekom, Etisalat, Sprint, Telecom Italia, and Brazil’s Telefonica, among others. It is Brazil’s Telefonica that will be the first of these carriers to offer the Firefox OS Mobile Phone early next year. The senior analyst of Wireless Communications, Wayne Lam said.
“This is a real appeal with carriers in these markets. If you went back to the announcement earlier this year, Mozilla made it clear they really wanted to attach themselves to carriers. This is really an emerging market plan, using Open Source to allow a thin OS to bring smartphone technology into a developing market.”
The bing point here to realise is the Open Source nature of the Firefox OS Mobile Phone, the OS is built around the Linux Kernel which was modified for Android, so many Android users may find plebty of similarites when the Firefox OS hits the market. Greg Stirling of Sterling Market Intelligence said.
“It’s all built on HTML5, which makes it hardware-independent and gives it potentially broad reach.”
Not a developer myself and not really knowing what makes a good platform to develop applications for, it would appear that Mozilla have provided an excellent platform for developers to play about with and get creative, after all that is the nature of the Open Source community in general. It has been suggested that the reason Mozilla have chosen Brazil to launch the Firefox OS Mobile Phone, is as a testing ground, allowing Mozilla to see whether or not the OS could stand up against the big names in the mobile market such as iOS, Android and soon to be Windows. Microsoft of course have not yet proven themselves in this market, a lot of people including myself seem to be assuming Microsoft will do well with Windows 8, when really there is no real hard evidence for this at the current time.
Senior Analyst Wayne Lam has admitted that it is of course early days, however, as Mozilla have been pushed out of the desktop market, this could be the perfect opportunity for them to disrupt the Smartphone platform. After all Firefox is a name we all associate with an excellent browser. In my opinion another good quality player in the mobile market is a good thing, heating up competition and hopefully pushing all players to produce their finest work whilst bringing down prices.