Mozilla announces Firefox OS expansion #MWC

Browser giant Mozilla has announced its Firefox operating system at Mobile World Congress as well as two smartphones, in a press meeting just before the fireworks of the main event.

The two phones displayed were the Alcatel One Touch Fire and the ZTE Open, with offerings from LG and Huawei also expected in the future.

According to Mozilla, a total of 17 operators are signed up for the OS, including Deutsche Telekom and Telefonica. As a result of this, it shows “significant industry support for a fully adaptable, unconstrained mobile platform.”

The major markets will have to wait for the nascent OS, however. Nine countries are in the first rollout of Firefox devices, including Brazil, Mexico and Spain.

Tony Cripps, principal device analyst at Ovum, sounded a note of caution in terms of the OS’ immediate potential to hit the mainstream.

“The real acid test for Firefox OS and its long-term prospects is the quality of the software itself and the user and developer experiences that it fosters,” said Cripps. “However, it will be difficult to say whether it meets those needs sufficiently until we have seen retail devices.

“These issues must be overcome before Firefox OS devices find their way into consumers’ hands. Even low-cost smartphones – the primary target market for Firefox OS – can’t afford to hide behind price as a justification for poor performance,” he added.

Back in January, Mozilla previewed a series of Firefox smartphones to devs, partnering with Geeksphone and Telefonica.

The not for profit advocates a staunch attitude towards open standards, and subsequently utilises HTML5 in its OS.

Of course, 2013 seems to be a big year for challengers to the OS crown, including BlackBerry’s hugely publicised BB10 launch at the end of January, a new Windows Phone, and potential offerings from Samsung and Ubuntu among others in the works.

But who will take the crown of the third ecosystem?

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