New Firefox Mobile OS Looks to Challenge Apple, Android


Not interested in an iPhone? Android phones leave you cold? Microsoft phones just not interesting enough? Blackberry just DOA? Well, thanks to the folks behind the wildly popular Firefox web browser, you will soon have another choice: The Firefox Mobile OS.

Just launched on a new ZTE phone in Spain and soon to be available on an Alcatel phone in Poland, the new web-based OS is an offshoot of the Firefox browser and will feature its own version of the app store. The Mozilla people point out that the OS is the first mobile phone platform to be fully HTML 5. They also feel this will offer and simpler, less expensive alternative to the current platforms. Mozilla and Telefonica said the Firefox OS allows consumers to buy a smartphone “based entirely on open Web standards [that free] consumers and developers from the constraints of existing closed ecosystems by using the Web as the platform for all functionality and applications.”

Analysts are less enthusiastic, but then who’s surprised by that? In a market as volatile and fast-growing as smart phones, offering more choices to consumers is never a bad idea. Whether or not the new platform catches on, especially in the U.S., which lags behind many other countries in terms of cutting edge cellular infrastructure, is tough to anticipate. On one hand, the country is huge and features multiple providers. On the other hand, the two biggies, AT&T and Verizon like things as they are and tend to adopt new ideas, platforms, technologies and changes very slowly, so as not to cut into their obscene profit margins.

Most Americans are always amazed at how backward our cellular system is when they travel abroad so new developments like this don’t always make it here due to change-averse providers and a Federal Communications Commission that some feel is already in the pockets of the industry as opposed to watching out for the consumer. In any case, new is always exciting and it will be interesting to see where this new platform goes.

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