Firefox OS Set to Invade the Mobile Market, Mozilla Announces Handset Hardware Partners

Ahead of Mobile World Congress, Mozilla has made several announcements pertaining to Firefox OS, not the least of which is the list of manufacturing partners that will be producing handsets running the mobile operating system. The list includes Alcatel, LG, ZTE, and Huawei, all of which will be making Firefox OS devices this year.

The handsets will run a Qualcomm Snapdragon chip, and although there are no additional hardware details, the phones are expected to be middle to lower end devices, especially if the two developer preview phones from Geeksphone are any indication.

Firefox OS Developer Preview
Developer preview phones

Firefox OS is built on open Web standards, with an emphasis on HTML5. The Firefox Web browser will be on board these new devices, in addition to tools for making calls, sending texts and emails, social media integration, and taking photos, but Firefox OS devices will also ship with access to the Firefox Marketplace.

The marketplace will have apps in categories including games, business, productivity, media, and more, and they’ll be tied to your online ID instead of to a specific device.

Firefox OS Marketplace
Firefox OS Marketplace

There’s something to be said for unwalling the garden, so to speak, and relying more on the Web itself for the mobile experience instead of running every app locally. Just as we’ve seen with Chromebooks, when the Web is the focus, hardware needs can be significantly reduced. Whether or not Firefox OS proves to be as powerful and user-friendly as it portends to be remains to be seen, but if it’s successful, it could lead to more people being able to afford smartphones and could shake things up at the lower end of the mobile market.

The first Firefox OS devices will roll out later this year.