Firefox OS coming to US, developed markets in 2016

Mozilla and telecom carriers see demand for high-end flip phones

Firefox OS, the smartphone operating system from Mozilla targeted at low-cost smartphones in emerging markets, is coming to more developed markets.

A new project with carriers in the U.S., Japan, South Korea and Spain will see high-spec phones developed for release in 2016. But rather than challenging Android and iOS head on, the project will target something that's been largely out of fashion in recent years: flip phones and sliders.

Andreas Gal, chief technology officer at Mozilla, said some customers like the older form factors but choosing them often means being stuck with an old operating system that has none of the flexibility of a modern smartphone OS.

"Development of feature phones has essentially stopped, said Gal. "This project will bring a modern smartphone OS into this market."

The Mozilla project, announced on Sunday at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, counts Verizon Wireless, KDDI, LG uPlus and Telefonica as members.

Together, they will design entry-level phones that feature modern specifications like support for apps and high-speed data. A key part of the project will be support for LTE data networks, called 4G by some carriers, and VoLTE, which is a new technology for running voice calls over the data network.

Mozilla's Firefox OS is open source so it can be adapted and customized for different screen sizes and resolutions, said Gal.

Firefox OS is already being used in about 16 phones in 30 countries, although mostly on low-end smartphones. The sole exception is Japan's KDDI, which last year launched a high-spec smartphone called the Fx0. The phone has a distinctive see-through case and includes features that haven't appeared on Firefox phones in the past, including LTE and a chip for NFC contactless networking.

Martyn Williams covers mobile telecoms, Silicon Valley and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is martyn_williams@idg.com

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags lgconsumer electronicsTelefonicasmartphonesKDDIsoftwareoperating systemsmozillaVerizon WirelessMWC

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Martyn Williams

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?