firefox smartphone

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Did you know that the Firefox open-source Operating System is gaining market share as a mobile operating system? Its mission is not to compete with iOS or Android. Instead Firefox OS for smartphones is taking a different approach. It wants to remain a community driven operating system and target the low-end market where smartphones are affordable. In fact just this past week Jay Sullivan, the acting CEO for Mozilla, revealed a prototype Firefox smartphone for $25 USD!

Today news always talks about the unbelievable Android growth rate and predictions along with the iOS loyalty plus continued progression. At the bottom end of the spectrum is the Firefox OS for smartphones that, as of February, is available in 15 countries with 4 device manufacturer partners and 7 mobile operators. This is an impressive reach for the Firefox OS for smartphones having only been in its first year. Now this doesn’t mean that Firefox OS is going to unseat Android or iOS as the OS market share leader. However, think about the predictions with Moore’s Law with computer hardware and circuits doubling about every two years. Now Moore’s Law is speculation but in hindsight has been very accurate predicting the pace of change and growth of technology markets in general.

So who are the 7 mobile operators and 4 device manufacturers? The list is as follows: Telefonica, T-Mobile, LG, Qualcomm, ZTE, Telenor, Alcatel, Telecom Italia, Huawei, KDDI, Sprint, SingTel, etisalat, plus more… At quick glance this is a list of some of the largest device manufacturers and mobile operators in the world.

The smartphones with Firefox OS available today are the Alcatel One Touch Fire, LG Fireweb and ZTE Open. The Alcatel One Touch Fire is available in 12 countries (Brazil, Chile, Columbia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Mexico, Montenegro, Serbia, Uruguay, Venezuela) with 7 mobile operators (Congstar, Cosmote, Movistar, T-Mobile, Telenor, TIM, Vivo). It boasts a 3.5” screen with a 3.2 mega-pixel camera and a 2-gigabit SD memory card. The LG Fireweb is available only in Brazil and with mobile operator Vivo. This phone includes a 4.0” display with a 5.0 megapixel camera and 2-gigabits of internal memory. Also, the ZTE Open is available in 5 countries (Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Spain, Venezuela) with 1 mobile operator (Movistar). This phone has a 3.5” screen with a 3 mega-pixel camera and 256 megabytes of internal memory.

Firefox gained its notoriety by being open source but also by understanding that the collective wisdom of many is more than of few. This is the whole idea called “The Wisdom of Crowds”. Firefox has grown being community driven and developed by the massive collective that supports it. This same idea could make Firefox OS for smartphones a dominant operating system down the road. From a developers perspective this means complete flexibility and capability. Plus from a developer standpoint modifications to the Firefox OS are standards based created with HTML, CSS or JavaScript.

It will be really interesting to look back 1 year, 3 years and 5 years from now to see if the Firefox OS for smartphones becomes the predominant platform for the low-end market and in developing countries.