ZTE turbocharging Firefox mobile OS with two new phones

6 January 2014 by Steve Blum
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LG is in the Firefox game too.

The Firefox OS smart phone universe is expanding. ZTE, which launched the Open last year, essentially as a software developers’ kit, will be unveiling two new phones based on Mozilla’s open source, HTML5-centric operating system. The expected Wednesday announcement will launch the Open C and Open 2 smart phones, which are pegged to move up the value chain with more features than the $80 Open.

Two other Firefox phones were on display at the Pepcom event at CES this evening: the LG Fireweb, which is currently available in Brazil, and the Alcatel One Touch Fire. As the gap between mobile and traditional consumer electronic and computing products continues to narrow, mobile OSes are finding their way onto fixed platforms. The Firefox OS is no different. Panasonic has a Firefox smart TV in development, with availability expected before the end of 2014. Foxconn is building a Firefox tablet.

The more devices and the more carriers that support Firefox, the more apps, services and content will become available. Whether it’ll gain enough momentum to put a dent in Android’s or iOS’s market share is another question. Between them, the two dominant mobile operating systems have more than 90% of the mobile device market.

Firefox has the potential of claiming a distant third place, though. Of the HTML5 based OSes launched last year, it’s gained support from the broadest range of manufacturers. It costs less than Android and app development should eventually be far easier, assuming that HTML5 is finally wrestled into submission. With smart phone and tablet growth expected to increasingly shift to developing markets, those advantages should be enough to keep it in the game.