It's still too early to say whether Firefox OS is going to be the next webOS or the next Android, but looking at the support it's getting today from telecoms and device makers I would say that the latter is a real possibility.
Mozilla held a press event today in Barcelona. Like many tech companies, this web browser maker is at Mobile World Congress to show off their latest mobile tech, and today that is Firefox OS.
According to Mozilla, smartphones running on Firefox OS can now be had in 15 markets on three devices from four different telecoms, including carriers in Hungary, Venezuela, Colombia, Brazil, Greece and other countries.
Over the course of the next year Telefonica and Deutsche Telekom plan to launch even more models in markets like Germany, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Macedonia, and Montenegro, as well as numerous countries in South and Central America: Argentina, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Panama, Uruguay.
It doesn't sound all that impressive, but Cnet got to play with it and they said that it's better than you might expect given the price:
I toyed with a prototype Sunday at its debut at Mobile World Congress here, and I have to say, I'm impressed -- given the price.
It's missing things like WhatsApp, its screen is small and coarse, and it's slower to scroll and launch apps than the state-of-the-art phones from the last decade. It's not something a rich kid from New Jersey or a businessman from Tokyo would be caught dead with.
And while that phone is going to go after what is now the feature phone market, the other new phones are going to go after regular Android smartphones.
Alcatel, for example, launched a trio of new smartphones which run Firefox OS. These phones, which are named the Fire C, E, and S, range in size from 3.5" to 4.5" and will ship with either dual-core or quad-core CPUs from Qualcomm. - TNW, Engadget
And that's not all. Huawei officially unveiled their first Firefox OS smartphone.
They're relaunching last year's Ascend Y300 Android smartphone, only now it's going to run Firefox OS 1.1. Yes, it's an older version of the OS and not the v1.3 running on the latest smartphones, and it's on old phone hardware as well.
This model has a 4" screen and a dual-core 1GHz Snapdragon CPU .That's not bad, but between the specs and the OS version I'm getting the distinct impression that Hauwei is not investing a lot of effort into Firefox OS.
BTW, the Firefox OS version of the Ascend Y300 first showed up a few weeks ago. A Hungarian gadget blog found it at a trade show and shot this hands on video:
The reviews I found of the older Android version of the Y300 weren't terribly impressive, but that might not matter so much. I think the bigger issue could be the outdated version of Firefox OS.
And last but not least ZTE also had a new Firefox OS smartphone on display, the Open C. Like the Y300 this is described as a budget phone, albeit a slightly better one. It's running v1.3 on a dual-core 1.2GHz SnapDragon CPU with a 4" screen, 512MB RAM, and a 2MP camera.
Engadget wasn't impressed with the Open C, describing it as chunky and plastic. But to be fair, only one of the smartphones mentioned in this post wasn't a budget model like the Open C. That was the Fire S froM Alcatel, and it had a 4.5" screen and a quad-core CPU.