Friday, January 11, 2013

ZTE to ship Firefox OS handheld to Europe this year, perhaps U.S. version as well

ZTE has announced plans to ship a Firefox OS-based smartphone in Europe this year. Cheng Lixin, CEO of ZTE’s U.S. division, made the announcement during an interview at CES on Wednesday.

The news came a day after Mozilla showed off the latest version of its mobile OS, at CES on Tuesday. Firefox OS is based on HTML 5. That means that anyone who can build a website can build an app for Firefox OS.

It's expected that Firefox OS will appear first in Brazil in a low-cost phone by Telefonica. Meanwhile, ZTE said that while its first Firefox OS device will appear in Europe, it's possible that a U.S. device could arrive later in the year.

Cheng said,
We closely monitor the ecosystem and how it evolves. If that is ready and if consumer studies support that data, then we may launch one in U.S. also this year.
Jay Sullivan, vice president of products at Mozilla, said the company is working on devices with mobile chipmaker Qualcomm, TCL Communication Technology Holdings, and ZTE.

It's interesting how much news there has been regarding alternative platforms over the past week or two. Not only did Canonical unveil its Ubuntu for Android platform, which runs Android natively instead of using a JVM, Samsung recently said it would ship a Tizen handset this year.

Mozilla announced Firefox OS in July of 2012 as a fully open alternative to Android, saying the first devices would arrive in 2013, and they appear to be on track for that. However, with all of these alternative platforms, the question is will they arrive quickly enough to make a sizable dent in the dominance of Android and iOS?

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