Barcelona: Mozilla has launched its new operating system for smartphones – Firefox OS – in Barcelona on Monday to take on Android and Apple’s iOS.
Around 17 operators, including etisalat and Qtel, have committed to support the open web initiative.
ZTE and LG are the first vendors to ship the device for the emerging markets.
The initial focus will be on low-end devices and for the right market.
“The first tranche is only for Telefonica and will be launched in summer,” Nasser Ayad, Senior vice-president of ZTE Middle East and Africa, told Gulf News.
He said he is not sure when the device will be available in the Middle East.
Many operators around the world are keen to support the new platform.
Deutsche Telekom, etisalat, Smart, Sprint, Telecom Italia and Telenor announced support for the platform in the middle of last year.
Ahmad Abdulkarim Julfar, Chief Executive Officer at 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 personalised experience. We welcome this development and congratulate Mozilla on their progress.”
“Firefox OS will break down the walls between apps and the internet because Firefox OS apps are built using Web technologies like HTML5. We expect to see lots of amazing apps people love built for Firefox OS because more developers are already creating for the internet than for any other platform,” Jay Sullivan, Mozilla Senior vice president of products, said.
Other operators backing the device are China Unicom, 3 Group, KT, MegaFon, Qtel, SingTel, TMN and VimpleCom.
“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,” said Mozilla chief executive Gary Kovacs.
The Mozilla foundation said it was working with handset manufacturers South Korea’s LG and China’s TCL and ZTE on Firefox OS-run devices, with China’s Huawei to follow later in the year.
The first devices will be arriving in Brazil, Colombia, Hungary, Mexico, Montenegro, Poland, Serbia, Spain and Venezuela. Other markets are to be announced soon, Mozilla said.
According to research firm IDC, Google and Apple’s operating systems combined now control more than 91 per cent of the smartphone market.
Android controls around 69 per cent of all handsets and Apple’s iOS more than 21 per cent.