MWC 2013: Mozilla presents first Firefox OS smartphones

Mozilla conveyed a host of journalists, analysts and partners in Barcelona, just before the start of MWC 2013, for an event that saw the announcement of a number of smartphones and the formal launch of Firefox OS.

Two phones were presented, the Alcatel One Touch Fire and the ZTE Open with handsets from LG and Huawei on the way. Mozilla's CEO, Gary Kovacs, hinted that handsets based on Firefox OS would come to the US market in 2014 and confirmed that "there [mobile phone partners] are more coming".

Motorola is out of the picture given its allegiance to Google. Nokia is an interesting option as Nokia HERE maps app is one of the featured apps on the new Firefox Marketplace; and since Firefox OS is not focusing on mainstream markets, the Finnish phone manufacturer might see Mozilla's mobile platform as a fitting replacement for the Series 40 used in Asha.

In total, 18 mobile phone operators across the world have backed Mozilla in its Firefox OS venture including Telefonica, Hutchinson Three Group, China Unicom, Deutsche Telekom and Sprint. Most of the big North-American and some major European operators (Orange, Vodafone) have yet to bring their support to the platform.

Firefox OS is a HTML 5-based operating system that, like its namesake, uses open web standards. Possibly its most important feature will be Firefox Marketplace which promises to radically change the dynamics of app development, monetisation, distribution and consumption.