Mozilla set to start Firefox OS regional roll outs

Alex Walls
July 1, 2013

Mozilla is set to start regional roll outs of its Firefox mobile operating system-run smartphones, with the device available in Spain from tomorrow.

Mozilla’s hotly anticipated mobile operating system is based on HTML5, or web technologies, and was announced to run on the ZTE Open phone back in February at Mobile World Congress.

Building apps using purely HTML5 unlocked the web as a development platform, Mozilla said, and unwrapped mobile apps, meaning there was more opportunity, and more control, for developers and consumers. Mozilla debuted its first commercial build at MWC, when Ovum analyst Tony Cripps said the phones appeared slow and buggy, and would need to be seen in the marketplace before they could be judged a success, despite the level of initial support from carrier partners.

The roll out begins tomorrow in Spain with ZTE and Telefonica, with the ZTE Open priced at ‚¬69 ( £59) from Movistar stores. Mozilla said it didn’t have any news about a United Kingdom roll out, but Telefonica confirmed earlier in the year that it would offer smartphones running the Firefox OS to customers in Venezuela and Columbia as well.

As for other markets, Mozilla has said regional launches will begin soon with Deutsche Telekom and Telefonica, on the Alcatel One Touch Fire and ZTE Open, with additional partners to announced specifics in each market soon.

The OS comes with all the standard features (calls, messaging, camera and email), as well as built-in social networking apps such as Facebook, Twitter and Nokia’s HERE Maps.

Mozilla said it also featured an app search which allowed users to search from their phones, by swiping to the right, for specific apps to use or songs to buy, which the company said gave a customised experience, with one-time use or downloadable apps.

The OS also features Firefox Marketplace, Mozilla’s answer to the App Store or Google’s Play, where users can search and download apps, such as SoundCloud, TMZ AND TIme Out.

The OS and first smartphones have been targeted at first time users, with Mozilla chief operating officer Jay Sullivan saying the launch would stimulate new innovation for the web, and delivered the power of the Internet into first time smartphone users’ hands.

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