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TMCNet:  Mozilla introduces Firefox OS phones for developers

[January 22, 2013]

Mozilla introduces Firefox OS phones for developers

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan 22, 2013 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- Browser maker Mozilla on Tuesday introduced two phones powered by its open source Firefox OS platform with focus on low-end markets.

In partnership with a Spanish start-up named GeeksPhone and Spanish telecommunications provider Telefonica, Mozilla unveiled two 3G phones, Keon and Peak, for its mobile system.

Rather than catering for mainstream customers, the two phones are for developers preview, enabling them to develop apps and improve the operating system.

"This week we are announcing our new Firefox OS developer preview phones because we believe that developers will help bring the power of the web to mobile," Mozilla said in its official blog.

The "Keon" model features a small 3.5-inch screen, 1 GHz processor and 4GB storage, making it barely comparable to a cheap Android phone in the U.S. market.

Rather than taking on major market players like iPhone, Mozilla plans to focus initially on developing markets where customers started to upgrade to smartphones from feature phones. The company plans to debut its Firefox OS-powered phone in Brazil later this year.

At the Mobile World Congress in Spain last year, Telefonica, with half of its customers in Latin America, said it hoped to bring smartphones to the masses in developing countries with Mozilla's browser-based operating system with a price "ten times cheaper than iPhone".

With the first official version not yet available, Firefox OS is a browser-based open source operating system for smartphones and tablet computers.

Launching the development project in July 2011, Mozilla touted the system as more accessible and completely open, compared to " walled gardens" of Apple iOS and Google Android.

But some analysts said although the idea of truly open is captivating, Firefox OS could stand little chance to make headway in the mobile market which has been entrenched by Apple and Google.

Mozilla, headquartered in Mountain View in the U.S. state of California, is a global, non-profit organization dedicated to creating open source products like the Firefox browser.

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