WASHINGTON, May 28 (RIA Novosti) - Mozilla, the people who gave the world the open-source Firefox web browser, is launching a mobile phone operating system, with the first smartphones that use it expected to cost under $100 and to go on sale around July this year, the California-based company and media reports say.
But don’t look for the Firefox operating system (OS) in phones in mobile device hotbeds like the United States, western Europe or Asia, because you’re unlikely to find them there.
Mozilla has decided instead to target developing markets with its new operating system, and the first phones that use the Firefox OS will be available to consumers in Hungary, Montenegro, Poland, Serbia and Spain in Europe, and Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Venezuela in Latin America in the next few months.
Among the 19 phone service providers who have signed up as partners on the Firefox OS project is Russia’s MegaFon, indicating that smartphones using the operating system could also be available in Russia in the near future.
The latest tech company to sign on as a partner in Firefox’s mobile phone venture is Taiwanese electronics manufactureing megalith FoxConn, which makes iPads and iPhones for Apple.
Industry speculation is that FoxConn will develop a tablet that runs the new open-source operating system, but neither the electronics giant nor Mozilla were giving more details on the product they intend to bring to market before it is officially launched on Monday in Taiwan.
Firefox OS smartphones are the first built entirely to open web standards, with features developed in HTML5, Mozilla said in a statement released earlier this month.
In addition to the features expected of any smartphone these days, such as texting, maps, a web browser and a dial-pad to make calls, Firefox OS phones include as standard a “do not track” feature, which tells applications, websites and anyone else that the user of the device interacts with that they do not want to be tracked or have their Internet habits logged.
Mozilla says thousands of apps will be available on the new phones, and notes that, because Firefox OS is not tied to a specific e-commerce partner, users will not be limited in their choice of apps, as they are in the iPhone app store or Android phones’ Google Play.
The first Firefox OS phones are expected to cost less than $100 – making them much more affordable to the average Joanna or Joe than high-end smartphones, like iPhones or Samsung Galaxies.