Mozilla has officially announced they have hardware partners for the new mobile platform that will be launching. Previously known as Boot to Gecko, Firefox Mobile OS is a complete HTML5 and web-technology based operating system. It was demoed and is available in a pre-alpha version for specific Android handsets, as a flashable image for those eager to test it out.
The first mobile devices to ship with the polished ‘Boot to Gecko’ project will be manufactured by TCL Communication Technology (better known as Alcatel) and ZTE. Both Alcatel and ZTE currently manufacture low-end Android smartphones and will likely ramp up production of devices built for Firefox Mobile OS. Mozilla has confirmed the devices will be using the popular Snapdragon SoC to power the Gaia UI.
In addition to hardware, Mozilla has also received backing from operators in many countries. Deutsche Telekom, Etisalat, Smart, Sprint, Telecom Italia, Telefónica and Telenor have all been partnered with for the possible launch of Firefox Mobile devices and services. Hopefully this will also lead to a dramatic reduction in cost of data access for end-users.
Mozilla indicates once again, they are committed to creating a fully open and accessible platform that conforms to W3C standards. Gary Kovacs, CEO of Mozilla, stated;
“The introduction of the open mobile OS continues the Mozilla mission to promote openness, innovation and opportunity on the Web for users and developers. As billions of users are expected to come online for the first time in the coming years, it is important to deliver a compelling smartphone experience that anyone can use,”.
That last bit is a bit reminiscent of Nokia’s S40 and Meltemi plan for “the next billion” - and we know where that has gotten them. Many have tried, and many have failed, but if Mozilla can compete with the likes of Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android, then it will pave the way for true openness with mobile devices.
According to their roadmap schedule, their next milestone will be July 20th, which marks full completion of Gecko and Gaia functionality and moves towards more optimizations. Based on the timeline already completed, we might see a functional developer device within the next few months. Who knows, within the year, you might be staring at the below image while your phone boots up.