Firefox OS heading to Sprint, won’t arrive before 2013

Mozilla announced its upcoming mobile operating system will carry the Firefox brand and launch in Brazil early next year, with a Sprint release heading to the U.S. some time after.

Firefox OS will be based off of HTML5 and be an open mobile ecosystem, according to Mozilla, which spelled out the details in a blog posted Monday.

“The introduction of the open mobile OS continues the Mozilla mission to promote openness, innovation and opportunity on the Web for users and developers,” said Gary Kovacs, Mozilla CEO, in a statement. “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.”

Phones running the OS will be manufactured by TCL Communication Technology and by ZTE, both of which are based in China. The phones will run on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processors.


Along with Sprint, Firefox OS will be supported by various other carriers around the world, including Deutsche Telekom, Etisalat, Smart, Telecom Italia, Telefonica and Telenor.

“Sprint continues to support an open mobile ecosystem that enables choice for Sprint customers and a healthy competitive ecosystem for the technical community,” said Fared Adib, Sprint’s product chief, in a statement. “Firefox Mobile OS can help us drive an HTML 5-based platform for creating lower cost smartphone options for prepaid, postpaid and wholesale customers.”

Mozilla said Firefox OS is built from its “Boot to Gecko project,” which will allow the OS to access phone’s capabilities while using only HTML5 to do so, which is currently one of the coding language’s limitations and a reason why many developers opt to use native applications rather than Web-based applications.

With Firefox OS, Mozilla, a leader in Web browsers, will be jumping into a crowded playing field. Currently, Google leads the way in market share with the Android operating system, followed by Apple’s iOS. Struggling to compete behind the two leaders are Research in Motion with their BlackBerry phones and Microsoft with Windows Phone.


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