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Mozilla - the firm behind the open-source Web browser Firefox has generally found itself squeezed out of the mobile revolution. Despite remaining a strong contender on traditional desktop and notebook computers, on smartphones and tablets Firefox OS has been less successful. Nearly a year ago, Mozilla announced it would attempt to gain a share of the pie with an open-source smartphone project called Boot to Gecko (B2G).
At the ongoing MWC 2013 event, Mozilla held a significant press conference to talk about Firefox OS and Mozilla's future in the smartphone market. Basically, Firefox OS is a mobile operating system that is based on HTML 5 - the language of the Web.
On Sunday, the company announced new partners such as LG, Huawei and Sony, which has also said that it is planning make a Firefox OS handset in the future. However, a high-level Samsung executive said at the tech show that Samsung Is not interested in Mozilla's browser-based operating system. That should not come as a surprise as the company is predominately working with Android and has tried its hands on Windows Phone and also has an alternative OS - Tizen.
Mozilla may be late to the mobile OS field, but its focus on open web standards and devices, independence from a single vendor and focus on emerging markets is a smart way to debut.
The concept behind Firefox OS is similar to Chrome OS for computers with the difference being that the former is basically meant for smartphones.
The company announced its global expansion plans at the press conference revealing its International carrier support including 18 carriers from across the world including the major telco honchos.
Competition With Android and iOS
The global smartphone arena is predominately headed by two smartphone operating system - Apple's iOS and Google's Android OS. With the launch of Firefox OS, this situation might probably change. According to the company, the devices are scheduled to roll out later this year and will be based on Qualcomm's Snapdragon mobile processor.
Google and Apple operating systems control more than 90% of the smartphone market share with the former running on 69% devices and the latter on 22% devices. Moreover, analysts claim that these two will still dominate the market even in 2013, despite of other platforms including Windows Phone 8, BlackBerry 10 and Firefox OS.
Of the trio, Gizbot has come up with the best features of the Firefox OS in order to analyze how it can outdo iOS and Android operating systems.
Firefox OS based handsets will be loaded with standard apps including dialer, messaging, email, browser, maps and more and an impressive group of apps to download. There are popular titles including MTV, Disney, Facebook, SoundCloud, EA, Twitter, TimeOut, and more to prove that the Web based company is heading in the right direction with development partners. But still, this processor will be slow as it was with Android and iOS in the initial stages.
However, Mozilla is planning to launch a Firefox Marketplace for applications to help users to discover the apps from a single place in order to explore, download and install them easily.
Further, though Firefox is a browser users do not have to worry because these apps can run offline. The Firefox marketplace supplies a trial service for the apps enabling customers to try before paying.
Since Mozilla started this project it has gathered an impressive number of hardware partners for the eventual launch. The intended audience is people who want to upgrade to smartphone and those who cannot afford high-end smartphones. Presumably Firefox OS based handsets are not going to be very expensive and they will not sport the kind of specs we expect from flagship smartphones.
There are two smartphones that will come initially into the market - ZTE Open and Alcatel One Touch Fire. ZTE Open will feature a 3.5-inch 480 x 320 display 1GHz or lesser Cortex-A5 Qualcomm processor, 256MB RAM, 512MB internal storage, microSD card slot, 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS and 3.2MP rear shooter. On the other hand, Alcatel One Touch Fire wil come with a 3.5-inch display, 1GHz Qualcomm CPU, 256MB RAM, 512MB onboard storage, microSD card slot, 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, 3.2MP rear camera and a 1,400mAh battery.
As mentioned above, Huawei, Sony, LG and HTC might also be launching Firefox OS based smartphones in the future.
All Firefox OS devices will be powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon processors. Qualcomm has been working closely with Mozilla to optimize Firefox OS Snapdragon processors. This tight integration of software and hardware will offer a rich HTML5 Web experience never seen before on mobile devices.