ZTE to debut first Firefox OS devices

By Pamela Perez

Chinese handset maker ZTE is set to showcase smartphones running on the new Firefox OS early next year, according to ZTE Executive Vice President He Shiyou.

ZTE has been focused on Android-based handsets, with a small number of Microsoft-based models, but says that it wants to shy away from becoming dependent on one main software supplier.

By Pamela Perez

Chinese handset maker ZTE is set to showcase smartphones running on the new Firefox OS early next year, according to ZTE Executive Vice President He Shiyou.

ZTE has been focused on Android-based handsets, with a small number of Microsoft-based models, but says that it wants to shy away from becoming dependent on one main software supplier.

Mozilla announced its ZTE partnership earlier this year. The company initially pegged that the first device will hit shelves at the end of this year. They are now expecting an early 2013 release with Brazil being the first landing drop.

Mobile networks have been flooded with the Apple-Android duopoly and are now keen to take in at least one other major OS to compete. Since the Nokia-Windows alliance hasn't really stirred much excitement in customers yet, a Mozilla OS device might just do the trick.

According to Mozilla, the open-source platform uses Linux, but runs applications on a version of the Firefox browser. The goal is to "eliminate roadblocks for users and developers" by placing applications in the cloud.

On the downside, the most difficult task for the Mozilla team would probably be building up the mobile app market to attract customers to buy the phones. It is known that Nokia had an app market even before Apple did, but Apple was able to populate its platform more, helping it secure the sales growth it now enjoys.

In addition to investing in Firefox OS, ZTE confirmed that it will also be launching Windows Phone 8 devices, but not until the end of this year or early 2013.

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