In case you’ve been hiding under a rock, you should know that Mozilla, the entity behind the internet browser Firefox, developed its own mobile operating system called, well, Firefox OS. Screenshots of the OS have been circulating for months and finally, Mozilla brought the OS into the awareness of the public by officially launching it at Mobile World Congress 2013. Firefox OS is an open source OS and works on HTML5-based apps. Mozilla banks on web developers making apps for the OS and making them available on the Firefox Marketplace. The OS is free like Android and the approach Mozilla has taken so far is to have the OS run on budget handsets.
Mozilla claims that it has deals with carriers all over the world and in the Philippines, that carrier is Smart Communications. Mozilla has worked with Qualcomm and has an arrangement to use the Snapdragon chipsets. It also has some agreement with phone makers ZTE, Alcatel, LG and Huawei and in fact, two handsets running Firefox OS were already shown to the public – the Alcatel One Touch Fire and the ZTE Open.
Alcatel One Touch Fire
The Alcatel One Touch Fire is one of the first handsets to feature Firefox OS. It is 3.5-inch phone with pretty basic hardware features. The Fire packs a 1GHz single-core processor that is paired with 256MB RAM. The OS may be light so performance may still be good despite this processor and RAM combination. The Alcatel One Touch Fire also features a 3.2MP rear camera, 512MB of storage, microSD card slot, 3G, Wi-Fi b/g/n, Bluetooth and GPS.
Watch this video featuring the Alcatel One Touch Fire. It’s in German though but at least you see the phone and how the OS runs.
The next phone to run Firefox OS is the ZTE Open. Like the Alcatel phone, it also has a 3.5-inch screen. Inside the phone is a 1GHz Cortex-A5 processor paired with 256MB RAM. The ZTE Open also has a 512MB internal storage, a microSD card slot for storage expansion, 3G connectivity, Wi-Fi b/g/n, Bluetooth 3.0, GPS and FM Radio.
So far we’ve seen low end phones but in the future we will surely see high end phones running Firefox OS. I wonder when the Tizen and Ubuntu mobile operating systems will launch. These are two other platforms worth watching out for.