Mozilla announces Firefox OS, the new open source mobile OS, will come to 17 global carriers

February 24, 2013

Mozilla, the non-profit software company which made the Firefox web browser and Thunderbird email client, announced its new mobile operating system will be work on 17 different mobile carriers during the Mobile World Congress show in Barcelona, Spain. The system, dubbed Firefox OS, will be loaded onto phones from five different handset manufacturers and is set to launch sometime around June.

The phone is to retail for a low price — anywhere between $80 to $100 before subsidies, according to the New York Times — in order to appeal to poorer countries around the world. Mozilla’s CEO, Gary Kovacs, told the Times the OS will be the start of a “third ecosystem” for smartphones, saying the next two billion smartphone users will come from developing economies.

To supplement those massive numbers, Mozilla will need a massive force of developers. The software company accounts for that problem by basing Firefox OS off of HTML5 — a widely used Internet coding language — to keep the system open to millions of developers across the world. Using such an open language, Mozilla CTO Brendan Eich told CNET, could also help to create better mobile standards across the industry.

The operating system will first launch in Brazil, Poland, Colombia, Hungary, Montenegro, Serbia, Venezuela and Spain before landing stateside. But the Times reports that Mozilla has yet to make way into Africa, currently the fastest growing smartphone market. Additionally, Techcrunch reports that, when launched, Firefox OS will only account for one percent of the smartphone market, a far cry from Android’s 67 percent hold.

Firefox OS will come with applications like Box, Wikipedia, Twitter, Accuweather, Pulse, and SoundCould preloaded. Users will have the option to download other applications on the newly launched Firefox Marketplace.

The curious can test out Firefox OS on Mozilla’s simulator here.

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