Given the way mobile phones have been moving ever more towards a web-based format, it was only a matter of time before this happened. Rather than seeing an integration with a compatible browser (such as Google using their Chrome browser on their Android OS), this cuts out the middle man. The OS will be based entirely around the mobile web, and it will have one major benefit: price.
Firefox has always been an open source project that has welcomed third party developers to create addons. The low cost smartphones they release will be carrying on that tradition. That means a rival to the strict anti-third party policies of Apple’s iOS, and a more secure and private alternative that takes you out of Google’s domain on the Android.
The release of Firefox OS smartphones will be starting slow. Spain is the first to get it this Tuesday with the $90 ZTE Open from Telefonica. It might be awhile until we see models sporting the new OS in the US, but representatives for the company have assured media sources that they are coming.
Who will be creating the US smartphones with the Firefox OS? We don’t actually know that yet. There has been speculation that Sprint is the most likely candidate, however. If that is true, the company is keeping tight lipped about the possible collaboration.
What makes this such exciting news isn’t the phone itself. Part of having a low price tag for any model of smartphone is limiting features to make it a more lightweight, basic feature item. It is the operating system itself, and the ability to have a phone that is almost entirely based around mobile web technology. Firefox is also less invasive than other browsers, and more customizable. Both elements that we can expect to see in their OS.
Add in that fact that the phones themselves are so cheap, and you have a contestant on the market that should be making the big guys nervous.
In spite of that, Mozilla CTO Brendan Eich says it isn’t about dominating the market. “There’s no reason why the Web couldn’t be a first class platform for mobile apps,” he said. Then added, “Mozilla was never about taking over the market.”
Source: LA Times