Would you like to see a Mozilla Firefox phone? Do you still even use Firefox as a browser? Well, whether or not you do or don't, Mozilla unveiled the first commercial version of the Firefox OS at Mobile World Congress. They even announced phones and carriers who will play host to the operating system. Mozilla has positioned this OS to be perfect for basic smartphones and for "developing markets."
One of the interesting things for me, however, is the fact that the entire OS is built and driven by HTML5, and not by seventeen simultaneous instances of Flash, not like that happens on the Firefox browser or anything. At any rate, Mozilla also announced that the first batch of phones will be running on Qualcomm processors and that LG, ZTE and Alcatel will be the first manufacturers to produce the devices, with Huawei following suit later on in the year.
For the carriers who are standing behind the Firefox OS, we have a lot you might not recognize and a couple you will - America Movil, China Unicom, Deutsche Telekom, Japan's KDDI, Sprint, Telecom Italia, Telefonica and Telenor. These companies will launch the smartphones in Brazil, Columbia, Hungary, Mexico, Montenegro, Poland, Serbia, Spain and Venezuela. Moving forward, Mozilla also said that more manufacturers and carriers are expected to get on board and that the US will see the Firefox OS in 2014.
Obviously, another platform adds a whole new level of crazy to the ever-changing mobile OS market that we're involved in today. It will definitely come down to the developers on whether or not Mozilla is successful with this rollout. If the devs don't want to make the apps customers want, then Firefox OS will simply fade into the background as quickly as it entered. However, the advantage Mozilla has is the fact it's running on HTML5, which means developers don't have to learn a completely new coding language, though that benefit never panned out for Palm. During MWC, Mozilla was showing off Facebook integration as well as Nokia's Here platform, fully working on the Firefox OS.
Having not yet played with the actual user interface or hear about a concrete commitment from popular developers, I'm unsure if Mozilla's Firefox OS will be a flop or a flagship win. Luckily, we have the amazing Avram Piltch from LAPTOP Magazine, who was at MWC in Barcelona and will be able to tell us more about this OS on F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.