Monday, February 25, 2013

MWC 2013: Firefox OS comes out to play

Mozilla announced their Firefox OS sometime ago but we never actually got to see it working on actual retail devices, yet. The OS shares technology with Mozilla's own Firefox browser and runs HTML-5 based applications. According to Mozilla, they are very serious about privacy and security in the OS as they are for their browser and as they are focusing on web, they also emphasize on search. Also the OS has video calling over WebRTC which is a browser based tech(it is supposed to soon make its way to desktop browsers too) and can be previewed on Firefox Aurora Android app.

Mozilla's aim with Firefox OS is to create an open source OS where web developers can create apps and easily post them on Firefox Marketplace. As a matter of fact, you can find apps for facebook, twitter, Nokia's Here mapping solution and some games from EA mobile and Disney Mobile games on the marketplace already.

Today, Mozilla was very proud when they announced that they are officially launching the Firefox OS and thay they have snapped up deals with 18 network carriers already alongwith Qualcomm for chipsets and LG, ZTE, Alcatel and Huawei to make handsets to target the "500 million Mozilla users". A handset, each from ZTE and Alcatel, was also showcased at MWC 2013.

Alcatel One Touch Fire

The Alcatel One Touch Fire(named appropriately) is powered by a 1 GHz Qualcomm processor coupled with 256 MB of RAM and a 3.5" 320 X 480 screen. It has a 3.2 MP camera, 512 MB of storage with a micro SD card slot(it comes with a 2GB bundled card) and a 1400 mAh battery. To take care of the connectivity, it comes equipped with 3G, Wi-Fi b/g/n, Bluetooth and GPS, for which comes with Nokia HERE pre-installed.

As for the availability, the phone will first launch in China where China Unicom is Mozilla's partner, Latin America and then will be on its way to became first Firefox OS based phone to hit Europe with the first country being Poland under Deutsche Telecom. Lets have a look at the preview video of the Alcatel One Touch Fire they have made for us and their potential subscribers.

ZTE Open

The ZTE Open has very similar specifications to Alcatel's offering, One Touch Fire. It also runs on a Cortex A5 based 1 GHz processor with 256 MB of RAM and 512 MB of storage which is expandable through the on-board micro-SD card slot(it also comes with a bundled 2GB micro-SD card). Similar to Alcatel, ZTE is also offering 3G, wi-fi b/g/n and Bluetooth connectivity for its customers along with GPS and FM Radio.

LG and Huawei are supposed to announce there Firefox OS devices soon but until then ZTE Open and Alcatel One Touch Fire can enjoy the limelight. You can click here to know more info on telecom operators Mozilla has partnered with and countries Firefox will be launched in and you can click here to learn more about the OS.

As far as Firefox OS goes, although the devices have pretty mediocre configuration and thus sluggish performance, the concept of an open-source OS can be quite successful in itself if executed correctly.


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