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January 10, 2013

ZTE to launch Firefox-powered smartphone

Partnership with Mozilla to co-develop new mobile operating system.

By CBR Staff Writer

Chinese telecommunications equipment maker ZTE is planning to launch a Firefox OS-powered smartphone by the end of this year in Europe.

Last year, ZTE formed a partnership with Mozilla, the maker of the Firefox web browser, to co-develop a new mobile operating system.

ZTE US unit chief executive officer Cheng Lixin was quoted by Bloomberg as saying that the company may also offer a device based on Mozilla’s Firefox mobile operating system in the US this year.

"We closely monitor the ecosystem and how it evolves. If that is ready and if consumer studies support that data, then we may launch one in U.S. also this year," Lixin said.

Three telecom firms, Deutsche Telekom, Sprint and Telefonica have been working with Mozilla to develop a range of cheaper smartphones built on the open operating system.

Bloomberg said that Lixin did not specify a European carrier partner.

Mozilla vice president of products Jay Sullivan said the company is working with mobile chipmaker Qualcomm, TCL Communication Technology Holdings and ZTE on devices. "Interest and momentum continues to grow in Firefox OS," Sullivan said.

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ZTE’s smartphone launch plans follow Acer’s postponing of its new smartphone launch in China using Alibaba’s Aliyun mobile operating system, after Google opposed its launch.

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