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To avoid Android pitfalls, Mozilla shoulders Firefox OS update burden

BARCELONA, Spain -- Mozilla will take over some responsibility for issuing Firefox OS updates that carriers today have, a move that could help users avoid the fate of Android phone owners saddled with older operating system versions.

"We are pushing that envelope," Chief Technology Officer Brendan Eich told CNET. "We think we can get people on Wi-Fi upgrading through Mozilla."

That would mean a person could step into an Internet cafe then update the software as soon as Mozilla releases a new version or security fix, rather than waiting for a handset maker to build, test, … Read more

What mattered at Mobile World Congress, day 2: BlackBerry, Samsung's Galactic dominance, and plucky Kazam

BARCELONA, Spain -- Hard to believe it's only day 2 of Mobile World Congress, which already feels like it's been going on for months. The CNET team is now fluent in Catalan, cannot remember any food that isn't tapas, and has renounced all other religions for that of Lionel Messi.

With most of the main announcements out of the way, it's time for some of the smaller companies to share the limelight. Speaking of which...

CNET's full coverage of Mobile World Congress

BlackBerry unveils Z3 and Q20 Poor BlackBerry. Where once it would have merited … Read more

Hands-on with the bare-bones ZTE Open II Firefox phone

BARCELONA, Spain -- At MWC this year, ZTE introduced two ultra-budget Firefox handsets: the 4-inch Open C and the more compact ZTE Open II (the sequel to the original Open). Though no pricing or availability information has been released, the Open II is aimed at emerging 3G markets outside the US.

Design The Open II is a compact device that has a smooth, almost pebble-like construction. Its wide bezels give it a notably deep chin, which is accented by a single, circular home button.

Its aesthetic actually reminds me of a more playful Grand S, ZTE's flagship handset last … Read more

Firefox OS getting interface overhaul in coming months

BARCELONA, Spain -- Big changes are coming to Firefox OS over the next year as Mozilla moves the browser-based operating system away from its current Android-style functioning.

At the Mobile World Congress show here Sunday, the nonprofit organization showed what's in store for its mobile OS. Much of it's about the interface changes -- notifications, task switching, app discovery, search.

"With the new model, we're really simplifying and making what we think is the ultimate browsing experience," Josh Carpenter, the user experience leader for Firefox OS, said at a press event. Browsing on Firefox OS … Read more

Mozilla's $25 Firefox OS: It's real, and it works

BARCELONA, Spain -- An iPhone fanboy will sneer at it. A long-term Android user will have unpleasant flashbacks to the early versions of Google's operating system.

But Mozilla's $25 Firefox OS smartphone is real.

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 … Read more

Huawei reveals Firefox OS smartphone, Huawei Y300 (hands-on)

BARCELONA, Spain -- Huawei is showing off its first Firefox OS smartphone here at Mobile World Congress 2014, the Huawei Y300.

The 4-inch WVGA (800x480) handset is running Firefox OS v1.1, features a dual-core 1GHz Snapdragon 8225 processor, 512MB RAM, 4GB storage, 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1, a 5-megapixel rear camera and a VGA front camera.

Careful not to confuse the Huawei Y300 with the Huawei Ascend Y300. It seems Huawei is using the same basic spec as the earlier Android smartphone for its Firefox debut, but a name change may have helped avoid a lot of potential … Read more

Originally posted at

By Seamus Byrne

Alcatel brings trim, stylish Firefox phone to MWC 2014

BARCELONA, Spain -- Taking a thinner approach with its Firefox line of smartphones, Alcatel adds the new Fire E to its Mozilla-powered selection. Slim, trim, and compact, the Fire E flaunts a big 4.5-inch screen plus dual-core processing for 139 euros.

Showing the device at the MWC 2014 trade show, the Fire E also will use a digital camera with a 5-megapixel sensor and LED flash. Other photo abilities include an HDR mode, 4x digital zoom, along with smile and face detection. Up front and sitting above the screen is VGA front-facing camera for vanity shots.

CNET's full coverage of Mobile World CongressRead more

Alcatel announces its most affordable Firefox phone yet

BARCELONA, Spain -- Clearly targeting the entry level smartphone market, Alcatel has unveiled the Fire C. Expected to cost an amazingly affordable 59 euros unlocked, the handset will run Mozilla's Firefox mobile operating system.

CNET's full coverage of Mobile World Congress

Other details for the phone include a 3.5-inch HVGA screen and a 1.2GHz dual-core processor. A VGA camera will take care photo duties. As you can see from these specifications, you'll no doubt get what you pay for in terms of performance here. Indeed Alcatel's described components place the Fire C well below … Read more

With Firefox OS, Mozilla begins the $25 smartphone push

BARCELONA -- Mozilla doubled down on its bet that low-end smartphones will give Firefox OS a place in the crowded mobile market, announcing partnerships Sunday that will bring $25 smartphones to the large number of people who can't afford high-end models like Apple's iPhone 5S and Samsung's Galaxy S5 that cost hundreds of dollars.

At the Mobile World Congress here, Mozilla announced a deal with Chinese chip designer Spreadtrum Communications that will mean Firefox OS smartphones will arrive in extremely cost-sensitive markets like India and Indonesia where people often buy phones from a bin in a store. … Read more

Alcatel's Fire 7 looks to be a no-frills budget Firefox OS tablet

BARCELONA, Spain -- Making its debut at Mobile World Congress 2014 is Alcatel One Touch and Mozilla's first Firefox OS-based tablet, the 7-inch Fire 7. I was lucky enough to attend a briefing to try out the slate, but as luck would have it, the only working prototype available broke when I tried to unlock it.

Sadly, that left me with only a dummy shell unit to play with, but I was able to get a good idea of how the tablet feels. The one great thing about the Fire 7 is the material used for its rear. It'… Read more