It has been a year since Mozilla announced its plans to develop its own, open source mobile OS with collaboration of its Firefox browser, dubbed as Firefox OS. This year, the browser maker wisely chose the leading platform of MWC 2013 to track the progress of its Firefox OS project.
A couple of months before this event, Mozilla officially released a prototype version of its new OS for developers. It also announced its Firefox OS based Developer Preview Phones in partnership with Telefonica & Geeksphone, believing that developers will help them to bring the power of the web to the mobile devices.
Challenges & Opportunities of Firefox OS
Firefox OS – the star of MWC 2013 is heading towards housing a new era of alternative operating system in the market of smartphones. However, there are several challenges that Firefox OS will face in this market.
Though Firefox OS may become one of the cheapest options among the smartphones with the price limited to $100 or below, but currently there are other several devices running much efficient OS like new Nokia Lumia series with Windows Phone 8 and Android based handsets, which enclose great designs & specifications at a good price along with a raft of varieties. So, Firefox OS will face a stiff competition from its rivals.
Apart from this, Firefox OS has scored many advantages too. These benefits are summed due to various factors, and the new OS is grounded over HTML5 is the most notable one as the developed applications can run on any system even if it is old. So, developers need not have to learn to work on a particular platform or development environment as it used to be in case of other mobile operating systems including iOS, Android, Windows Phone and BlackBerry.
Moreover, this latest OS will offer manufacturers as well as buyers the leisure of interoperability along with the promotion of open ecosystems.
Manufacturers, Operators and Firefox OS
[two_third]Apart from a list of operators like Telefonica, Telecom Italia, Deutsche Telekom, etc. with their 2,200 million subscribers. There are several manufacturers also that have clubbed their hands together with Mozilla to aid Firefox OS.
Currently, five manufacturers named Alcatel, ZTE, Huawei, LG and Sony, are working or planning to work on Firefox OS based smartphones.[/two_third][one_third_last]
an opportunity to venture into emerging markets
As a part of pre-releases of MWC, the Spanish company Geeksphone introduced two models named Keon and Peak which open instantly with fluent transition between menus, and deliver pleasant user experiences.
This year, MWC has witnessed many smartphones based on this new OS which were presented by different manufacturers. Furthermore in the event, Alcatel announced an agreement with Mozilla to market its Alcatel One Touch Fire. The handset will arrive next summer and will become the first smartphone with Firefox OS to hit European markets and will be distributed beyond the developer community.
ZTE also joined Mozilla and introduced its 3.5 inch ZTE Open powered with MSM7225A Qualcomm Snapdragon processor & running Firefox OS, which will be marketed by Telefonica for about 80 euros from next summer.
Sony too has showed interest in adopting Mozilla’s mobile platform. Even during the MWC, the company presented the guidelines on how to install a Firefox OS in Sony Xperia E, thereby promoting the platform & encouraging the developers to start creating apps for it. Moreover, Sony has already revealed its plans to bring a Firefox OS based smartphone next year.
Vodafone has affirmed that it will also join other telecom operators and thus support the launch and distribution of Firefox OS, to offer good app platform and a strong ecosystem to the consumers.
Samsung has shown no interest in this emerging OS, rather the company has recently announced its plans to prioritize efforts in Tizen merging with Bada OS.
Installing Firefox OS on devices with Android OS
The Mozilla development team has published a guide to install Firefox OS in some devices that currently run under Android.
Firstly, configure your system to compile, create a local backup of the original system, then install Firefox clone OS file Manifest in order to create your own repository and create a Manifest for your own device. After this, you have to boot your device, flash it and boot first installing Firefox Android OS on your terminal.
Unfortunately, only few Android devices are currently compatible with Firefox OS. They are Samsung Epic 4G Touch, Samsung d710, Samsung Galaxy S III, Samsung Nexus S, Samsung Nexus S 4G, Samsung Galaxy Gio, Samsung Galaxy Nexus, HTC Wildfire S, HTC Sensation, Jewel HTC (EVO + LTE), HTC Dream/G1 and LG Optimus 2X.
Gary Kovacs, CEO of Mozilla said in a statement:
“Firefox OS brings the freedom and unbounded innovation of the open Web to mobile users everywhere. With the support of our vibrant community and dedicated partners, 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.”
Availability of Firefox OS
The powerful alliances that Mozilla has established with 17 operators have resulted into the availability of Firefox OS based products to interested clients around the globe. The operators’ list includes Sprint, America Movil, China Unicom, Deutsche Telekom, Etisalat, Hutchison Three Group, KDDI, MegaFon, KT, Qtel, SingTel, Smart, Telecom Italia Group, Telefonica, Telenor, TMN and VimpelCom.
However, the first Firefox OS phone will go on sale in Brazil, Hungary, Colombia, Montenegro, Poland, Mexico, Serbia, Spain and Venezuela in the mid of this year.