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Mozilla Gets Global Support for Firefox Mobile OS

Web development organization Mozilla said Monday that industry support is growing behind its plans to launch a new fully open mobile operating system (OS) based on HTML5.

The operating system, which Mozilla confirmed will use its Firefox brand, will power the launch of smartphones built entirely to open Web standards, where all of the device’s capabilities can be developed as HTML5 applications.

Meanwhile, according to the company, leading operators including Deutsche Telekom, Etisalat, Smart, Sprint, Telecom Italia, Telefonica and Telenor are backing the open Firefox OS as a new entrant to the smartphone marketplace.

[ Also Read: “You Cannot Promote Mobile Content without Great UX” ]

Device manufacturers TCL Communication Technology (under the Alcatel One Touch brand) and ZTE have announced their intentions to manufacture the first devices to feature the new Firefox OS, using Snapdragon processors from Qualcomm, says Mozilla.

Meanwhile, China Telecom and Nokia announced the Nokia 800C, the first CDMA Windows Phone in China and Nokia’s first Lumia phone for the world’s largest smartphone market. (Read: Nokia’s First CDMA Windows Phone in China)

Recently, Apple also previewed iOS 6, introducing over 200 new features to its mobile operating system, and released a beta version to iOS Developer Program members. (Read: Apple Previews iOS 6 with 200 New Features)

“The introduction of the open mobile OS continues the Mozilla mission to promote openness, innovation and opportunity on the Web for users and developers.  As billions of users are expected to come online for the first time in the coming years, it is important to deliver a compelling smartphone experience that anyone can use,” said Gary Kovacs, CEO, Mozilla. “The large number of operators and manufacturers now supporting this effort will bring additional resources and diversity to our global offerings.”

The first Firefox OS powered devices are expected to launch commercially in Brazil in early 2013 through Telefonica’s commercial brand, Vivo.

[ Also Read: Lenovo IdeaTab Tablet Comes with Ice Cream Sandwich ]

Orange also announced that it will launch a new high-performance Android smartphone in Europe this summer. Powered by Intel technology, the device is codenamed ‘Orange Santa Clara.’ (Read: Orange Santa Clara Coming with Intel Technology)

The Firefox OS for mobile devices is built on Mozilla’s “Boot to Gecko project” which unlocks many of the current limitations of web development on mobile, allowing HTML5 applications to access the underlying capabilities of a phone, previously only available to native applications.

Telefonica’s Digital unit joined forces with Mozilla earlier this year to take this work and showcase a new phone architecture where every phone feature (calling, messaging, games, etc.) is an HTML5 application.

Due to the optimization of the platform for entry-level smartphones and the removal of unnecessary middleware layers, mobile operators will have the ability to offer richer experiences at a range of price points including at the low end of the smartphone price range, helping to drive adoption across developing markets, said Mozilla.

Mozilla and all other participants are committed to ensuring the project is fully open and the reference implementation of the required Web APIs is being submitted to W3C for standardization.

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