Mozilla has been working on its Boot to Gecko project since last year to create devices that can "boot to the web," running an HTML-based platform with the goal of providing the same level of performance and immersive performance in apps as other operating systems can. The company has announced today that it is hooking up with Telefonica — a carrier brand with presence around the world — to deliver an Open Web Device platform this year with Boot to Gecko baked in, the goal being to pump out low-cost smartphones.

Carriers have been continually looking for new ways to inject themselves back into the revenue stream since iOS and Android (along with the App Store and Android Market) have become dominant, and the prospect of a viable homegrown operating system has been on their collective conscience for years — on the low end of the market, this could be a way in, particularly with a brand name like Mozilla on board. The two are working on a hardware platform that uses a Qualcomm chipset — though it's not specified which — and say that they'll submit the Open Web Device architecture to the W3C for standardization.

No retail products have been announced, but the companies say we can expect the first OWD products in 2012.

Update: In a recent blog post, Mozilla has announced that Deutsche Telekom's Innovation Labs will be joining the Boot to Gecko project as well.