Sony becomes the latest in a growing number of smartphone makers to commit to the Firefox operating system.
One of the key moments of the first day of this year's Mobile World Congress was the unveiling of the ZTE Open -- the world's first smartphone to run Firefox OS. For those consumers already used to huge 4.8-inch+ HD displays, hundreds of thousands of apps, a processor more powerful than anything found in the average PC 10 years ago and a 4G/LTE mobile broadband internet connection, the handset would no doubt fail to impress. But for those in emerging markets seeking their first 'smart' device and for those that don't want to be tied to either Google's Android operating system or Apple's iOS, the ZTE Open is a revelation. And, it is about to be joined with four other handsets.
Alcatel recently announced that it will develop a handset geared to run on the open OS. On Monday morning it was joined by LG and Huawei who also announced their official commitment to the platform and now Sony has said it will be launching a Firefox phone in 2014.
Developed by Mozilla, known to many as the makers of the Firefox internet browser, the Firefox OS uses HTML5, which, as well as being totally open source, is a coding language that will soon negate the need for tailor-made apps or even apps stores; functions and features will all happen in the browser while special apps will be able to be downloaded directly from normal websites.
As Brendan Eich, co-founder and CTO of Mozilla, explained at the launch of the ZTE Open handset: "ZTE has moved very quickly and has worked closely with us to develop a robust Mozilla Firefox OS smartphone. Firefox OS brings powerful open Web technologies to the smartphone market, giving users more choice and more options that reflect their lifestyle."
"Firefox OS is a major milestone for our industry, bringing true open standards to mobile for the first time," said Marieta del Rivero, Group Devices Director, Telefónica. "We expect that the combination of accessible cost and a rich, open and dynamic smartphone experience will make the ZTE Open very attractive for our customers, especially young people, in these key Telefónica markets."
The first Firefox phones will be launched on Telefónica's networks in Spain, Venezuela and Colombia in mid-2013 and could herald the start of the next mobile revolution.