Mozilla gains telco, phone manufacturer backing for Firefox mobile OS

Formerly known as "Boot to Gecko", the mobile OS now joins the Firefox brand

Mozilla said Monday that it has named its forthcoming HTML5 mobile operating system Firefox OS, gained support for it from more telcos and found two device manufacturers that intend to build phones using the OS.

Mozilla has been working on a mobile OS since July last year under the name "Boot to Gecko" (B2G) and announced in February that it's collaborating with Télefonica Digital and Deutsche Telekom Innovation Labs. The project with Télefonica was dubbed Open Web Devices (OWD) and built on B2G to develop a new mobile phone architecture based entirely on HTML5.

Mozilla has rebranded the project to Firefox Mobile OS and said Monday that Etisalat, Smart, Sprint, Telecom Italia and Telenor, as well as Deutsche Telekom and Télefonica, are now backing the open source OS. The Firefox OS will power the launch of smartphones built entirely to open Web standards, where all of the device's capabilities can be developed as HTML5 applications.

The OS is designed to eliminate the need for native apps by removing middleware layers and giving web apps access to underlying phone capabilities like calling, messaging and games through HTML5 applications. This approach will help the optimization of the platform for entry-level smartphones, and help reducing prices which can result in driving smartphone adoption in developing markets, Mozilla said in a blog post.

Besides announcing operator backing Mozilla said that device manufacturers ZTE and TCL Communications -- under the Alcatel One Touch brand -- intended to manufacture the first Firefox OS devices. They will use the Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, Mozilla said, adding that Télefonica is expected to launch the first commercial devices in Brazil early 2013 through its Vivo brand.

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