Mozilla has announced the launch of handsets based on its operating system for mobile phones by 18 operators

Firefox creators reveal 'open Web' mobile OS

Mozilla has previewed handsets based on its operating system for mobile phones.

The not-for-profit organisation behind the Firefox Web browser made the announcement before the start of Mobile World Congress in Barcelona yesterday and revealed new operator rollout plans.

The first wave of Firefox OS devices will be available to consumers in Brazil, Colombia, Hungary, Mexico, Montenegro, Poland, Serbia, Spain and Venezuela and additional markets will be announced soon.

To date, 18 operators from across the globe have committed to the open Web device initiative and the Firefox OS smartphones are the first built entirely to open Web standards, enabling every feature to be developed as an HTML5 application.

"Firefox OS brings the freedom and unbounded innovation of the open Web to mobile users everywhere," said Gary Kovacs, CEO, Mozilla. "With the support of our vibrant community and dedicated partners, our goal is to level the playing field and usher in an explosion of content and services that will meet the diverse needs of the next two billion people online."

Web apps access every underlying capability of the device, bypassing the typical hindrances of HTML5 on mobile to deliver substantial performance. The platform's flexibility allows carriers to easily tailor the interface and develop localised services that match the unique needs of their customer base.

Mozilla is working with manufacturers Alcatel (TCL), LG and ZTE to build the first Firefox OS devices, with Huawei to follow later in the year, all powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon mobile processors.

Operators to have signed up include America Movil, China Unicom, Deutsche Telekom, Etisalat, Hutchison Three Group, KDDI, KT, MegaFon, Qtel, SingTel, Smart, Sprint, Telecom Italia Group, Telefonica, Telenor, TMN and VimpelCom.

"Partnerships are an important method in paving the way for innovations. We rely on open platforms because we want to create freedom of choice on behalf of our customers," said Rene Obermann, chairman of the board of Deutsche.

"That's why we support Mozilla in developing an innovative and open standard for mobile terminals. The launch of the first smartphone in Europe with the new Firefox operating system is an important step on the way to more competition between the different ecosystems."

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