Mozilla, the non-profit behind Firefox and Thunderbird, just announced at MWC that the next wave of Firefox OS devices will be much, much better overall, and have comparable features to high-end Android devices and iPhones. The company noted this in a release detailing the new OS partners:
Today, device partners ALCATEL ONETOUCH, Huawei, LG and ZTE are all using Firefox OS on a broad range of smartphones that are tailored for different types of consumers. The Firefox OS devices unveiled today showcase dual-core processors for better performance, higher screen resolution and more. The newest Firefox OS devices to join the family include the ZTE Open C and Open II, Alcatel ONETOUCH Fire C, Fire E, Fire S and Fire 7 tablet, all using Snapdragon™ processors from Qualcomm Technologies Inc., a leader in mobile communications.1
This is a major step towards Firefox OS becoming a viable smartphone platform. To-date, the devices that run Firefox OS have been less than stellar, lacking any real flagship device. The company also released an outline of what the future of Firefox OS looks like:
- Deep customization options for operators and manufacturers, developers and users. This includes the ability to create custom ringtones and replaceable home screens, which were direct requests from Firefox OS users.
- A new universal search that will revolutionize how users discover content on their phones. The feature is available on any screen – simply swipe down from the top to find new apps, content or navigate to anything on the phone or the Web.
- New navigation features to make multitasking intuitive, fluid and smart, much like how users interact with the Web. Users can easily swipe from the left and right edges to seamlessly move between pages, content and apps in a fun way that saves time.
- Easy and direct sharing of content (and even software updates) in a secure way with NFC support, without the need for data or Wifi.
- LTE support to make the mobile experience even faster.
- Firefox OS will introduce Firefox Accounts and services. Firefox Accounts is a safe and easy way for users to create an account that enables them to sign in and take Firefox everywhere. With Firefox Accounts, Mozilla can better integrate services including Firefox Marketplace, Firefox Sync, backup, storage, or even a service to help locate, message or wipe a phone if it were lost or stolen.2
As the mobile OS market is already quite saturated, this was a much needed announcement for Mozilla. If Firefox OS is to ever become a major operating system, it will take partnerships and devices that people want to use. This will certainly be a story-line to follow in the coming months and years.
- Mozilla Press Center, “Firefox OS Expands to Higher-Performance Devices and Pushes the Boundaries of Entry-Level Smartphones,” 23 Feb 2014. ▲
- Ibid ▲