Mobile World Congress Mozilla today previewed the first commercial build of its Firefox OS open mobile ecosystem and announced new operator rollout plans at a press conference before the start of Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The first wave of Firefox OS devices will be available to consumers in Brazil, Colombia, Hungary, Mexico, Montenegro, Poland, Serbia, Spain and Venezuela. Additional markets will be announced soon.
To date, 17 key operators spanning the globe have committed to the open web device initiative: America Movil, China Unicom, Deutsche Telekom, Etisalat, Hutchison Three Group, KDDI, KT, MegaFon, Qtel, SingTel, Smart, Sprint, Telecom Italia Group, Telefonica, Telenor, TMN and VimpelCom. Telstra is welcoming the Mozilla initiative as an opportunity to deliver an innovative mobile Web experience to their customers. The breadth of operators now backing Mozilla's Firefox OS demonstrates significant industry support for a fully-adaptable, unconstrained mobile platform.
Firefox OS smartphones are the first built entirely to open Web standards, enabling every feature to be developed as an HTML5 application. Web apps access every underlying capability of the device, bypassing the typical hindrances of HTML5 on mobile to deliver substantial performance. The platform's flexibility allows carriers to easily tailor the interface and develop localized services that match the unique needs of their customer base.
Mozilla is working with manufacturers Alcatel (TCL), LG and ZTE to build the first Firefox OS devices, with Huawei to follow later in the year, all powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon mobile processors. In addition, Mozilla has signed strategic relationships with key content and service partners (see separate release). Consumers will get a dynamic, rich and open smartphone experience that provides easy access to everything they love on the Web, including Facebook and Twitter integration, with a simple, fast interface and built-in cost controls.
"Firefox OS brings the freedom and unbounded innovation of the open Web to mobile users everywhere," said Gary Kovacs, CEO, 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."
Initial, "first wave" launch plans were announced by America Movil, Deutsche Telekom, Telefonica and Telenor, most seeing starts mid-year. More information on the rollout plans for individual operators is included below.
"America Movil supports the launch of the new operating system by Mozilla since it represents an excellent alternative to its customers, especially in emerging markets. An open platform based on Web standards provides a favorable ecosystem for the development of innumerable applications," said Marco Quatorze, CMO of America Movil. "The company is committed to launch Firefox OS phones in Mexico and all possible markets during 2013."
"Partnerships are an important method in paving the way for innovations. We rely on open platforms because we want to create freedom of choice on behalf of our customers," said Rene Obermann, Chairman of the Board of Deutsche Telekom at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. "That's why we support Mozilla in developing an innovative and open standard for mobile terminals. The launch of the first smartphone in Europe with the new Firefox operating system is an important step on the way to more competition between the different ecosystems."
Ahmad Abdulkarim Julfar, Chief Executive Officer at the Etisalat Group said: "We are happy to be part of this innovation and to support Mozilla in the launch of this new operating system. Firefox OS smartphones will make a valuable addition to our portfolio and grant our customers a rich and personalized experience. We welcome this development and congratulate Mozilla on their progress."
Hutchison Three Group
"Hutchison Three Group is supportive of the Mozilla initiative to provide an open approach to services for operators and to provide devices for entry-level smartphone users at a more affordable price," said Christian Salbaing, Deputy Chairman of Hutchison Whampoa Europe. "We believe the introduction of Firefox to mobile devices will increase competition in operating systems, improve consumer choice and hopefully lower overall device costs, bringing smartphones and advanced services within the reach of more of our customers."
"We are pleased to announce the introduction of Firefox OS smartphones into the Japan market in one or two years' time," said Takashi Tanaka, CEO of KDDI. "It is expected to provide better experience and diverse choice to our customers, since an open standard Web platform will bring sustainable innovation and fair competition to its ecosystem. The idea totally fits to our strategy. To support the achievement of it, KDDI group is working closely with Mozilla for the sake of contribution to Firefox OS development, especially on network and security parts."