Mozilla as a brand is extremely popular for their browsers, but the brand also does have another major project up its sleeve. The brand has been working on a “Boot to Gecko” project, which is basically a mobile operating system that is based on the Web and HTML5. Mozilla made a huge announcement a few hours ago, wherein they confirmed their mobile operating system that will be a part of their Firefox brand and will be titled as Firefox OS. This operating system is aimed at powering the launch of smartphones built entirely to open Web standards, where all of the device’s capabilities can be developed as HTML5 applications.

Mozilla claims, “Mapping to key Firefox footprints around the globe, leading operators such as Deutsche Telekom, Etisalat, Smart, Sprint, Telecom Italia, Telefónica and Telenor are backing the open Firefox OS as an exciting new entrant to the smartphone marketplace. They have also identified the potential of the technology to deliver compelling smartphone experiences at attainable prices.

Will be featured on handsets by 2013

Will be featured on handsets by 2013

Device manufacturers TCL Communication Technology (under the Alcatel One Touch brand) and ZTE today announced their intentions to manufacture the first devices to feature the new Firefox OS, using Snapdragon processors from Qualcomm Incorporated, the leader in smartphone platforms. The first Firefox OS powered devices are expected to launch commercially in Brazil in early 2013 through Telefónica’s commercial brand, Vivo.

The Firefox OS for mobile devices is built on Mozilla’s “Boot to Gecko” project, which unlocks many of the current limitations of web development on mobile, allowing HTML5 applications to access the underlying capabilities of a phone, that were previously only available to native applications. Telefónica’s Digital unit had partnered with Mozilla early this year to take this work and showcase a new phone architecture where every phone feature which includes calling, messaging, games, etc. is an HTML5 application.

Mozilla claims that due to the optimization of the platform for entry-level smartphones and the removal of unnecessary middleware layers, mobile operators will have the ability to offer richer experiences at a range of price points, including at the low-end of the smartphone price range, helping to drive adoption across developing markets. Mozilla and all other participants are committed to ensuring the project is fully open and the reference implementation of the required Web APIs is being submitted to W3C for standardization.

Speaking at the announcement, Gary Kovacs, CEO, Mozilla, said, “The introduction of the open mobile OS continues the Mozilla mission to promote openness, innovation and opportunity on the Web for users and developers.  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. The large number of operators and manufacturers now supporting this effort will bring additional resources and diversity to our global offerings.”

Also commenting at the announcement of the Firefox OS, Matthew Key, Chairman and CEO of Telefónica Digital said, “Firefox OS will bring a better smartphone experience to a higher proportion of the population at a lower cost. This is crucial for us to accelerate the adoption of smartphones in developing markets. The breadth of support for this initiative across the industry makes it clear that there is an opportunity in the market for a new, open mobile ecosystem.”

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