It was no secret that Mozilla was working on an HTML5-based operating system, but this platform has now been given a name: Firefox OS.
In the announcement today, Mozilla also revealed a slew of big-name supporters for its project, which is aimed at providing a consistent open Web standards-based experience across platforms, at a fraction of the cost to the end-user.
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Now on board are Deutsche Telekom, Etisalat, Smart, Sprint, Telecom Italia, Telefonica (announced previously) and Telenor, each of which is backing the open Firefox OS as a new entrant to the smartphone marketplace.
Mozilla’s plans are simple – it wants to launch a fully open mobile ecosystem built on HTML5. Device manufacturers TCL Communication Technology (under the Alcatel One Touch brand) and ZTE today revealed that they would manufacture the first devices to feature the new Firefox OS, using Snapdragon processors from Qualcomm. The first Firefox OS powered devices are expected to launch commercially in Brazil, as we revealed previously, in 2013 through Telefonica’s commercial brand, Vivo.
The Firefox OS will be built on Mozilla’s Boot to Gecko project, which attempts to enable HTML5 applications to access the underlying capabilities of a phone, e.g. the camera, previously only available to native applications.
“The introduction of the open mobile OS continues the Mozilla mission to promote openness, innovation and opportunity on the Web for users and developers,” says Gary Kovacs, CEO, Mozilla. “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. The large number of operators and manufacturers now supporting this effort will bring additional resources and diversity to our global offerings.”
This is a massive undertaking from Mozilla, but the implications of its HTML5-based OS could have a massive impact on the mobile Web as we know it.