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February 25, 2013

Mozilla to launch Firefox OS smartphones to take on Google and Apple

The company has signed up 18 wireless service providers, while manufacturers including LG, ZTE, Huawei and TCL have committed to produce new Firefox OS powered devices.

By CBR Staff Writer

Mozilla is planning to launch smartphones powered by its Firefox operating system (OS) to take on Google and Apple.

As part of the move, the company has signed up 18 wireless service providers including Deutsche Telekom and Telefonica, while manufacturers including LG, ZTE, Huawei and TCL have committed to produce devices.

The new OS is based on open web standards and the company says the new OS would require much lower hardware specification compared to the existing smartphones.

It is set to launch July this year.

The new OS will allow third-party developers to sell mobile applications for free without requiring sharing revenue.

"Firefox OS brings the freedom and unbounded innovation of the open Web to mobile users everywhere," said Gary Kovacs CEO of Mozilla. "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."

Firefox powered smartphones will be introduced in Brazil, Colombia, Hungary, Mexico, Montenegro, Poland, Serbia, Spain and Venezuela.

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"Firefox OS has achieved something that no device software platform has previously managed – translating an industry talking shop into a huge commitment from both carriers and hardware vendors at its commercial launch," said Tony Cripps, principal device analyst at Ovum. "Neither Android nor Symbian – the closest benchmarks in terms of broad industry sponsorship that we’ve previously seen – have rallied the level of support that Firefox OS has achieved so early in its development.

"That is a huge achievement for what, in fairness, has looked like an underdog among the plethora of alternative software platforms currently vying to power the so-called "third ecosystem". Windows Phone, BlackBerry 10, and Tizen all look like better bets on the surface. As such, the Mozilla Foundation and its early sponsors, especially Telefonica, deserve considerable credit."

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