Mozilla has been planning its attempt at a mobile OS for a long time. After being heavily rumored for months, it unveiled "Boot to Gecko" at MWC 2012, and in the year since has developed it into more of a fully-fledged operating system named Firefox OS. At launch, it'll be aimed at low-end, low-cost devices, and targeted at emerging markets. After that, it'll expand to the US and beyond in a broader attack on the market. You can find all our Firefox OS coverage right here, including up-to-date news, features, and videos.
Jan 6, 2014
Firefox OS, Mozilla's HTML5-based platform designed to go toe-to-toe with iOS and Android, may soon find its way into the living room. Panasonic announced today that it's partnering with the software company to help "develop and promote" Firefox OS on next-gen Smart TVs, with the goal of turning the operating system into a hub for future Smart Homes. The move marks Mozilla's first major foray into the war for TV.Read Article >
Nov 14, 2013Read Article >
Mozilla currently has no plans to bring Firefox OS smartphones to the United States, reports CNET. Though Mozilla previously said that it expected to see phones running the new operating system launch next year in the US, it now says there are no such plans for that to happen. That doesn't mean Firefox OS won't be coming to the United States at all though: it is already available through a developer device, and Mozilla is reportedly speaking with partners about the possibility of bringing it over. The main reason it's focusing outside the US, Mozilla tells CNET, is because of price. Mozilla wants to maintain its aim toward emerging international markets, where low-cost Firefox OS devices will have a better chance of finding success.
Aug 12, 2013Read Article >
Smartphones running the new Firefox OS have been launched by a couple of carriers around the world (most notably by Telefónica in Spain and South America), but a widespread launch in the US and UK is still a ways off. Despite that, ZTE still wants to sell its Open Firefox smartphone to consumers willing to pay for it in those countries, so it has turned to eBay to peddle its wares. The Open is ZTE's first Firefox phone, and while it won't get any hardware geeks excited with its 3.5-inch HVGA display and low-end processor, it does give the US and UK their first look at the new web-based mobile platform. Those interested in giving the Open a run can pick it up in orange for $79.99 (£59.99 in the UK) from the official ZTE eBay store starting this Friday.
Jul 1, 2013
In February, we got our first look at Mozilla's Firefox OS, a smartphone operating system built on the open web. On the first two phones, the ZTE Open and Alcatel One Touch, it was a laggy, terrible experience. We'd hoped that Mozilla would improve that by launch, but apparently not: though the ZTE Open will go on sale in Spain tomorrow, we found the phone as unimpressive as ever at today's Mozilla event.Read Article >
Jul 1, 2013Read Article >
After months in development, Mozilla's Firefox OS is ready for the public. Today, the company announced that the first two handsets running the open-source HTML5 operating system — the ZTE Open and the Alcatel One Touch Fire — will soon go on sale in limited markets. Consumers in Spain won't have long to wait after Telefónica-owned Movistar announced the 3.5-inch ZTE Open smartphone will go on sale from tomorrow, costing €69 / $90 (including €30 / $39 balance) for prepay customers.
May 28, 2013
The first smartphones running Firefox OS went on sale last month, and it looks like Mozilla is now adding the builder of some of the world's most popular devices to its coalition. Engadget reports that Mozilla and Foxconn Technology Group have confirmed a joint press event in Taipei on June 3rd, during which they will formally announce that Foxconn has signed on to Mozilla's initiative. At least one new Firefox OS device is expected at the event, although it's not clear if the product will be a branded Foxconn product or simply something that the company is manufacturing for another partner.Read Article >
The news surfaces just as The Wall Street Journal reports that Foxconn is planning several moves that will help it grow beyond contract manufacturing. Foxconn — which builds devices for everyone from Apple to Sony — is perhaps best known for the numerous problems with working conditions and underage employees in its Chinese factories. Many of those same factories also assemble iPhones and iPads, however, and according to the Journal Foxconn is trying to diversify its business given the increased competition Apple is facing. "As our production capacity has grown to such a large scale and existing major-brand customers offer limited order growth, we need to actively expand our client base to help increase our manufacturing volume," an executive told the Journal.
Apr 22, 2013
We've heard a lot about the open, HTML5-focused strategy behind Mozilla's Firefox OS for mobile devices, but that will all be put to the test starting this week. The first two smartphones running Firefox OS — Keon and Peak, low-end developer models from Spanish startup company Geeksphone — are set to open for worldwide pre-order as early as tomorrow, possibly Wednesday, according to The Next Web. Pricing is still in flux, according to the report, but Keon should start at around 115 euros ($150 US) with tax included, and the Peak will debut at 180 Euros (about $234 US). Geeksphone is said to begin shipping globally by the end of the week. We've reached out to Mozilla and Geeksphone for more details and will update when we hear back.Read Article >
Update: We've discovered a Geeksphone page announcing the sale of Keon for 91 euros plus tax ($118 US) and Peak for 149.50 euros plus tax (about $194 US). The page directs would-be buyers over to shop.geeksphone.com, which is temporarily down, presumably to be updated with listings for the new devices.
Apr 7, 2013
Part of Mozilla’s pitch to operators has been a bigger share in the value chain and more ownership and control over relationships with customers, and so it’s likely that we’ll see them tapping into this API to offer direct billing for their own app stores, for instance.
Feb 28, 2013
Mozilla says that in order for Firefox OS phones to bear the Firefox logo, they'll need to meet a variety of software and hardware requirements, including mandatory installations of the Firefox mobile browser and the official Firefox Marketplace app store.Read Article >
Though the existence of a "blessed hardware" program is similar to Google's model for Android — which only permits compliant devices to ship with the Google Play store, the Gmail app, and other elements — there's a key difference: Mozilla is actively encouraging carriers and developers to embrace alternative app stores and payment methods. A carrier launching a "Powered by Firefox OS" device would very likely have its own branded app store on deck alongside the Firefox Marketplace, for instance, since it could enable direct billing and give the carrier a cut of the sales revenue.
Feb 27, 2013
At MWC this week, showgoers are finally getting a look at the first Firefox OS devices that will come to market in the next few months.Read Article >
To be blunt, they’re not very good: the ZTE Open and Alcatel One Touch Fire look and feel like low-end handsets from two or three years ago. The operating system — which is "made of the web," as Mozilla proudly proclaims — seems to struggle at times to overcome the cheap silicon it’s been saddled with.
Feb 26, 2013Read Article >
Sony may be on board, but there's at least one company that isn't interested in Firefox OS: Samsung won't be working with the new operating system, according to CNET. Mozilla's OS is intended for devices in regions that are just now adopting smartphones, a market that Samsung seems to have in mind for its own Tizen operating system. Samsung is only one partner in Tizen's development, but the company today announced plans to fold its previous homegrown operating system, Bada OS, into Tizen — a big move that speaks to its hopes for the new platform.
Feb 25, 2013
Firefox OS just landed another major hardware vendor: Sony has announced its engineers are currently developing hardware running the new operating system and that it aims to bring a product to market in 2014. The news was part of an announcement between Sony Mobile and wireless carrier Telefonica. Both companies have signed onto a multi-year agreement that, aside from guaranteeing continued support for Sony's Android lineup, creates "a joint technical collaboration to explore the development of a handset running Mozilla’s Firefox OS open source mobile platform."Read Article >
Sony executive Bob Ishida makes it sound as though the manufacturer is already past the exploration stage, however. "“At Sony Mobile we continue to evaluate innovative technologies that can help deliver the premium user experiences that Sony’s consumers expect," he said. “Our engineers are now working with Firefox OS Mobile and HTML5, evolving technologies which show great potential. In addition, we continue to work with our operator partners, including Telefónica, on a development project with an ambition to bring a product to market in 2014.”
Feb 24, 2013
At a Q&A session this afternoon, Mozilla CEO Gary Kovacs mentioned that he expects Firefox OS phones to hit the US "somewhere in the 2014 timeframe." That would be after the first round of launches that are being spearheaded this summer, mostly by European carriers with global presence in emerging markets and areas where smartphones running iOS and Android haven't already taken hold. (The ZTE Open being shown here, for instance, most certainly won't be sold by an American carrier.)Read Article >
But which carriers? Kovacs simply says that Mozilla has partners "lined up," but considering that Sprint is listed as a "special guest" at today's Firefox OS event, it's a safe bet that they'll be in the first volley.
Feb 24, 2013
We're seeing the first wave of Firefox OS smartphones at Mozilla's MWC event, including Alcatel's One Touch Fire, which shares the stage with ZTE's Open. Like the Open, the One Touch Fire is small and fairly low-end: it's based on the Keon reference design, with a 3.5-inch screen and 1GHz processor. There's a 3.2-megapixel rear-facing camera, 256MB of RAM, and 512MB of storage, expandable with an SD card. That's similar to what we've seen on the low end of Alcatel's One Touch Pop line of Android phones, which were set for a spring launch in Asia. Like the Pop line, Alcatel is going for cheap and colorful, with seven hues to choose from.Read Article >
We're not yet sure how widely the One Touch Fire will be distributed or how much it will cost, but based both on where the budget Pop phones were released and the fact that Mozilla seems to be targeting developing markets, we wouldn't necessarily expect to see it in the US. Mozilla has said that Brazil, Colombia, Hungary, Mexico, Montenegro, Poland, Serbia, Spain, and Venezuela will be the first markets for its phones, with 18 total carriers announced as partners; several of these have said they're aiming for launch in the summer of 2013.
Feb 24, 2013
Mozilla's Firefox OS event is just kicking off, but the company is announcing a number of new details on both the hardware and software front. A first round of apps has been confirmed, and it includes unsurprising selections like Facebook and Twitter — two apps that are essential for a proper mobile experience. There are also the usual suspects in the gaming realm, including Cut the Rope, Where's My Water, Where's My Perry, and games from EA. Other options include Box, SoundCloud, and AccuWeather, but overall it's quite a small selection for starters. The long-term success of Firefox OS will depend on getting more key apps into the store, but at least users will be able to tweet from their new Firefox phones when they launch later this year.Read Article >
In terms of wireless carrier support, Mozilla announced Firefox OS will be available on 18 carriers total, including América Móvil, China Unicom, Deutsche Telekom, Etisalat, Hutchison Three Group, KDDI, KT, MegaFon, Qtel, SingTel, Smart, Sprint, Telecom Italia Group, Telefónica, Telenor, Telstra, TMN and VimpelCom. That's up from the seven carriers first announced last July.
Feb 24, 2013
Mozilla's preparing to make some big announcements at Mobile World Congress, but it's let one cat out of the bag ahead of its press conference. The ZTE Open is the first phone we've seen running Firefox OS other than a few developer units, and just as we figured it's an extremely low-end device. It's very small, and feels pretty good to hold, but we immediately noticed its washed-out screen. Details are scarce for the moment, but we've heard rumblings that the Open is running a Cortex A5 processor, has a 3.5-inch HVGA touchscreen display, and is reminiscent of Android phones from several years ago.Read Article >
Update: Now that the event's over, we've spent considerably more time with the Open side-by-side with its stablemate from Alcatel, the One Touch Fire.
Jan 22, 2013
Mozilla has today revealed a partnership with Spanish startup Geeksphone for a pair of Firefox OS developer devices, Keon and Peak. In line with the company's pursuit of low-end, emerging markets, the company is making more noise about the Keon model. It's a very basic device more akin to a featurephone than a fully-fledged smartphone. Powered by a single-core 1GHz Snapdragon S1 from Qualcomm, it has a 480 x 320 HVGA touchscreen, 512MB of RAM, and 4GB of on-board storage, along with a 3-megapixel camera and WiFi / 3G antennas. The first editions of the low-end device are expected to arrive next month.Read Article >
Peak, although still unexciting when compared to even 2011's flagship models, should be a far more powerful phone than Keon. Powered by an unspecified 1.2GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor — it's not clear if it's a high-power "Krait" or a lesser Cortex-A5 chip — Peak has a 4.3-inch qHD (960 x 540) display and an 8-megapixel camera. It comes with the same 512MB of RAM and 4GB of storage as Keon. There are no details on cost or release date for the device just yet, but Geeksphone says it'll arrive with a price tag "you could never have imagined," so we expect it to be priced very competitively.
Jan 8, 2013Read Article >
Mozilla is at CES showing off its upcoming Firefox mobile OS on a prototype device. It's come a long way since we saw it as "Boot to Gecko" back at MWC last February, and now looks a bit more like a fully-fledged operating system — Mozilla say it's two weeks from being completed. It's aimed at low-end, low-cost devices, and will be restricted to single-core 800MHz processors at launch. Mozilla's UI philosophy here is similar to Android: unlocking the phone takes you to a homescreen that can display your favorite apps and bookmarks, with the rest of your apps stored in an app drawer. Unlike Android, however, it's entirely HTML5 based — most of the apps are simply websites, and although there's a store planned you'll also be able to find apps through a built-in search engine based on SEO.
Sep 26, 2012
For those who are waiting for Mozilla to finally take the wraps off Firefox OS, "early 2013" feels a long ways off. However, if you want to whet your appetite for the long-awaited project, the official Mozilla blog has shared a wealth of details behind the design of the forthcoming OS. The post itself is essentially a recap of a presentation given at MozCamp Warsaw earlier this month; in it, designer Patryk Adamczyk walks through the design philosophy, iconography, typography, and sound elements involved in making Firefox OS a beautiful and modern tool.Read Article >
There's an incredible amount of detail in this post, but it gives a great idea of how the OS will look and function — for example, content layering through the use of sliding panes (like in Facebook and Sparrow's iOS apps) appear to be a key design element. Mozilla also laid out the details on when to use light backgrounds vs. dark backgrounds, the latter of which are meant to be reserved for media applications to create a more "cinematic" experience. On the other hand, productivity apps with an emphasis on typography are meant to have a white background to "create a sense of an office."
Sep 19, 2012
ZTE is coordinating with Mozilla to release a handset running Firefox OS in the first quarter of next year. The Wall Street Journal and Reuters both report that ZTE is looking to diversify its product portfolio to shift reliance away from Android and Windows Phone. According to ZTE spokesperson David Dai Shu, the company is working with "a regional telecom carrier outside of China." It’s unclear exactly who ZTE is referring to, but Mozilla has previously announced partnerships with carriers such as Sprint, Telefónica and Deutsche Telekom.Read Article >
The cost of licensing Windows Phone was revealed back in January, with ZTE paying Microsoft between $20 and $30 for each handset it produced running the operating system. ZTE may also be paying a patent license fee to Microsoft for Android, so the inclusion of Firefox OS could be an attempt by the Chinese company to reduce its licensing costs while maximizing notoriously small margins on devices.
Sep 3, 2012Read Article >
Mozilla has been demoing its Firefox OS (née Boot to Gecko) since Mobile World Congress earlier this year (and developers have had access to it since this summer), but there are still a lot of unknowns with regards to how the final product will look when it arrives in 2013. One question appears to have been answered today, as Engadget has obtained what it says are images of a fairly complete version of the Firefox OS Marketplace. As expected, the Marketplace will be where users go to download new apps for their Firefox OS devices, which are due to first arrive from Telefonica, with other carriers to follow. The images show typical app store features: there is a search bar, categories, ratings, and details for each app, but not much else. Curiously, there appears to be only free apps available in this version of the Marketplace, so Mozilla still may be hammering out its payment methods for purchasing paid apps through the store. Either way, we expect to see more of Firefox OS revealed as we get closer to its 2013 launch.
Aug 16, 2012
While smartphones running Mozilla's web-based Firefox OS aren't expected to ship until 2013, that hasn't stopped enthusiasts from porting the open source operating system to other platforms. The latest device to get a version of the system — formerly known as Boot to Gecko — is the Raspberry Pi, the $25 card-sized computer designed to promote computer science in schools.Read Article >
In the video below, developer Oleg Romashin demonstrates the device performing some basic functions such as swiping through the OS's menu. It doesn't look like a particularly smooth experience, but, then again, the Pi only contains a relatively meager 700MHz CPU and 256MB of RAM, shared between the CPU and its Broadcom GPU. Mercifully, the latter seems more than capable of handling hardware-accelerated 3D graphics using WebGL, just as it performs well playing high-definition video.
Jul 19, 2012Read Article >
Earlier today, Mozilla uploaded new nightly builds of its web standards-based mobile operating system, Firefox OS. You can download and try them for yourself, but be warned: this isn't your garden variety application install. You'll first have to install one of the nightlies from Mozilla's website, then use the command line to download and configure Gaia, the HTML 5 UI layer. Don't worry if we've already lost you — these builds are mostly intended to be used as a tool for developers to test their webapps against. If you're curious about what makes Firefox OS tick or just eager to give the new OS a try, a blog post by Mozilla's Tony Chung has some brief instructions on how to get started.
Jul 2, 2012
Mozilla made a big announcement about its long-awaited Boot to Gecko (B2G) project today, officially dubbing it 'Firefox OS' and revealing that the first devices running the web-based platform will be produced by Chinese manufacturers ZTE and TCL Corporation. The foundation also laid out details of new carrier partnerships with Smart, Sprint, Telecom Italia and Telenor, adding to previously-announced agreements with Telefónica and Deutsche Telekom.Read Article >
According to a press release, the initial Firefox OS hardware will be powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon system-on-chip. As Mozilla CEO Gary Kovacs announced back in April, the phones will be available in Brazil early next year, via a partnership with Telefónica — in accordance with Brazilian restrictions, they will not be locked to the carrier. It is not yet clear whether the first device will be produced by ZTE or by TCL under the Alcatel One Touch brand.