Mozilla’s mobile platform, Firefox OS, will take a 1 percent share of the global smartphone market by the end of 2013, as it carves out a niche in the entry-level phone space currently dominated by Android.

Strategy Analytics forecasts that the open source, low-cost platform which supports HTML5 apps, will benefit from the interest it has gained from hardware vendors and operators.

In July, Mozilla said that the platform which has evolved from the Boot to Gecko project is supported by operators Deutsche Telekom, Etisalat, Smart, Sprint, Telecom Italia, Telefonica and Telenor and hardware vendors ZTE and TCL.

Processor maker Qualcomm has also been involved from an early stage.

The operators said they are supporting Firefox OS because of “the potential of the technology to deliver compelling smartphone experiences at attainable prices”.

The first launch of a device running Firefox OS is scheduled to take place in Brazil in early 2013 through Telefonica’s Vivo brand.

However, Strategy Analytics executive director Neil Mawstons said Firefox OS will face the three challenges of low brand awareness, limited retail presence in the US and a “relatively modest” app and service ecosystem.

 The research firm believes the combined share of Android and iOS will decline through to 2017 with the main beneficiary likely to be Windows Phone as well as the nascent Firefox OS and Tizen which will both benefit from the rise of HTML5.

In May, Ovum forecast that Android will have a 48 percent global market share by 2017, compared to 44 percent in 2011. iOS will account for 27 percent of the market in 2017 with Windows Phone rising to 13 percent.