The first commercial device supporting Mozilla’s new Firefox OS is set to go on sale in Spain tomorrow, with Telefonica Movistar offering the ZTE Open for €69.
The move follows the announcement at Mobile World Congress in February that more than 20 operators and handset vendors would support the new platform. The HTML5-based OS is designed to bring a smartphone experience at a low price point, with a particular focus on emerging markets.
Commenting on the launch, Luis Miguel Gilpérez, CEO of Telefónica España, said: “We believe that smartphones need to be more open and that the web is the platform for making this possible. Consumers should not be locked to any one system but have the choice to consume the content they want and the flexibility to be able to take it with them when they change devices. This first open web device marks a significant milestone in making this possible. This is just the beginning as we plan to bring a wide range of Firefox OS devices to our customers.”
Telefonica will follow the Spanish launch with other market rollouts, including Colombia and Venezuela, “in the coming weeks.” Meanwhile Poland looks set to be Deutsche Telekom’s first market for Firefox OS mobile devices, and Telenor promises launches in Central and Eastern Europe this year.
Tomorrow’s Spanish launch is in keeping with the initiative’s plans to launch Firefox OS on mobile devices in the third quarter. As well as ZTE, other vendors backing the platform include Alcatel OneTouch, Huawei, LG and Sony Mobile.
Firefox OS faces an uphill struggle to win market share amongst both consumers and app developers, but Mozilla claims that an opportunity exists for an alternative mobile platform. A statement from the firm quotes John Jackson, Research Vice President for IDC, as stating: “Such a platform will have to meet challenging requirements in terms of robustness, scale, and openness. Mozilla and its partners are now moving definitively into the first wave of Firefox OS distribution. One of our recent surveys found Firefox OS to be more compelling to developers over Tizen, Blackberry and Kindle Fire, despite no commercial products being available yet. It is clear that influential members of the operator, OEM, and developer communities at both global and hyper-local levels see the potential of Mozilla’s Firefox OS to be that next platform.”