Firefox OS sinks its teeth into low-end smartphones

In an impressive first-year achievement, Firefox OS has found a toehold in a fiercely competitive smartphone market. The next challenge for Mozilla's browser-based mobile operating system will be to convert that toehold into a foothold.

As the struggles of BlackBerry OS, Microsoft Windows Phone, and Samsung Tizen have shown, it's extraordinarily hard to find any room in a mobile operating system market where Apple's iOS and Google's Android dominate. Yet Mozilla has managed to do just that by focusing on super-low-cost smartphones and on partnerships with carriers who want something to offer in markets where even … Read more

Global allies give Mozilla's Firefox OS a mobile foothold

BARCELONA, Spain--Laying the groundwork for its nascent Firefox OS, Mozilla has won over a sizeable list of allies including LG Electronics and China Unicom, and the first phones with the browser-based operating system should arrive in the second quarter of the year.

Mozilla announced today at the Mobile World Congress show here that it's persuaded 18 mobile network operators and four mobile phone makers to back its open-source mobile operating system. That's not enough to unseat the incumbent powers of Google's Android and Apple's iOS slayer, but it is enough to ensure Firefox OS at least … Read more

GeeksPhone reveals Firefox OS phones for developers

A small Spanish startup called GeeksPhone has started selling phones that let developers get a taste of Mozilla's new Firefox OS.

GeeksPhone announced two 3G phones for the browser-based operating system, the lower-end Keon and higher-end Peak. The phones, while geared for programmers rather than mainstream customers, make Mozilla's open-source mobile OS a lot more real, since programmers will be able to develop apps as well as to debug and advance the underlying operating system.

Firefox OS is Mozilla's ambitious attempt to build an operating system that brings more openness to the walled gardens of Apple's … Read more

Mozilla's browser OS gets partners and a name: Firefox OS

Mozilla's browser-based smartphone operating system has grown up a notch, winning over partners such as Sprint and ZTE and picking up the marketing-friendly name of Firefox OS.

In addition, Mozilla has announced several partners, a necessity for making a bunch of software into something people actually use: only a very small number of people have the skills and interest to install a mobile-phone OS.

Carrier Telefonica and chipmaker Qualcomm already were partners that emerged when Mozilla announced B2G at Mobile World Congress earlier this year. They'd said to expect phones by the end of 2012 then, but now … Read more

Hands-on Boot to Gecko: Interesting, but far from baked

NEW ORLEANS--Mozilla may not be the first thing you think of when it comes to mobile technology, but that may change early next year. Its mobile operating system code-named Boot to Gecko is developing rapidly, but it will face challenges both technical and tech cultural.

Judging from my colleague Stephen Shankland's take on how Boot to Gecko performed at its public unveiling in February, Mozilla has definitely made progress with the phone. The build I used was installed on a Samsung Galaxy S II.

The interface appears to be a mix of traditional iOS-style app icons, and Windows Phone-style … Read more

Is Mozilla's mobile OS good for games? See for yourself

BARCELONA, Spain--Telefonica today showed off B2G, the Mozilla browser-based operating system for mobile phones, saying it's good enough to sell to today's feature-phone customers later this year.

You may or may not agree. To help you judge, here's a video of Carlos Domingo, Telefonica Digital's director of product development and innovation, demonstrating a prototype phone at a press conference today at the Mobile World Congress show here. At the event, Telefonica announced its mobile OS pact with Mozilla.

Having watched the demo myself, the phone looked workable but awfully pokey. And touch input-- specially the keyboard--was … Read more

Telefonica: Mozillaphone is 'ten times cheaper than an iPhone'

BARCELONA--Half of Telefonica's customers are in Latin America, where smartphones are scarcer than in wealthier parts of the world. But the mobile network operator hopes Mozilla's new browser-based operating system, B2G, will change that.

"What we're selling the most in these countries is feature phones, which is ridiculous, said Carlos Domingo, Telefonica Digital's director of product development and innovation, in an interview at the Mobile World Congress show here in Barcelona, Spain. "We think we can bring smartphones to the masses in developing countries with this approach."

How affordable, exactly? The B2G phone … Read more

Telefonica signs up for Mozilla's mobile Web OS

BARCELONA, Spain--Mozilla took a big first step in making something real out of B2G, its browser-based mobile operating system, by signing on mobile network operator Telefonica as a partner.

In addition, the Firefox maker discussed another step, a close relationship with mobile processor maker Qualcomm to create the hardware for the first phones, expected to launch later in 2012.

Those are two very important steps. But they're only one of dozens that it must take to create an operating system competitive with Apple's iOS and Google's Android, much less one that fulfills Mozilla's grander ambition. The … Read more