Mozilla’s attempt at a mobile OS has been a long time in the works. The open source smartphone and tablet operating system first began back in 2011, since which the Mozilla team has regularly kept us posted with various updates and info. An appearance at CES on an unspecified smartphones, followed by the release of a couple of developer handsets late last month has certainly heightened general interest, and those keen to get started with Firefox OS may only have a short wait left. According to a press release, the European market will see the first smartphone running Mozilla’s new OS via the Alcatel One Touch, which will first arrive in Poland venturing west across mainland Europe.
Mozilla hasn’t offered any details as to when the device will land in Poland, let alone when it will begin to trickle across the rest of Europe, but the news is certainly encouraging. In the same year Canonical’s Ubuntu is attempting to make an impression on the smartphone and tablet game with its own mobile versions, this could well be the year of the open source mobile OS, and like Ubuntu, Mozilla / Firefox has a strong enough desktop presence to secure an active developer and early-adopting user base.
Whether this will be enough to thrust the Firefox OS among the big fish depends on a lot of things, namely the efficiency of the OS, performance of smartphones, and apps, apps, apps! We know the Mozilla team are hardworking, dedicated, and capable of producing fluid and highly-functional software, but while I’ve been happy to persevere with the Firefox browser through good and bad times, the smartphone audience is notoriously less forgiving.
The first device will release on Deutsche Telekom, and as per Mozilla’s press release, both the Firefox maker and the German telecommunications company are said to be "in development partnership for more openness and competition between systems." These words certainly play nice from a PR point of view, and as well as noting that the Alcatel One Touch Fire will land in the Summer, Deutsche Telekom’s Chairman of the board René Obermann also added: "We rely on open platforms because we want to create freedom of choice on behalf of our customers."