Presenting the latest updates to its web-based mobile operating system, Firefox OS, at Mobile World Congress 2013, Mozilla announced today that it has expanded its range of handset partners, bringing aboard LG and Huawei (later this year) to expand the reach of its platform.
Mozilla already had Alcatel and ZTE aboard, but the Korean smartphone maker has joined the line-up, with Huawei also committing to the OS in emerging markets.
Demoing the first commercial build of Firefox OS, Mozilla announced it will make the first wave of handsets available to consumers in Brazil, Colombia, Hungary, Mexico, Montenegro, Poland, Serbia, Spain and Venezuela.
The company has partnered with 17 operators, including América Móvil, China Unicom, Deutsche Telekom, Etisalat, Hutchison Three Group, KDDI, KT, MegaFon, Qtel, SingTel, Smart, Sprint, Telecom Italia Group, Telefónica, Telenor, TMN and VimpelCom to get them into consumers’ hands.
The first operators to release the devices will be América Móvil, Deutsche Telekom, Telefónica and Telenor, in what Mozilla says will be a “mid-year” launch, with other markets following soon.
Device manufacturers TCL Communication Technology (under the Alcatel One Touch brand) and ZTE revealed back in January that they will offer the new FirefoxOS, using Snapdragon processors from Qualcomm. ZTE continues to work on its FirefoxOS device, and is said to be mulling a US launch also.
To make it easier for users to interact and enjoy their Firefox OS handsets, Mozilla has officially confirmed the launch of the Firefox Marketplace, offerings web-based apps and games without the need for dedicated installations. AccuWeather, Airbnb, Box, Cut the Rope, Disney Mobile Games, EA games, Facebook, Nokia’s HERE maps, Soundcloud and Twitter are already on board.
As for actual handsets, only “developer preview” phones have been shared with the public (aside from the above mockups). You can see the Keon and Peak phones here.
For those wanting to see what Mozilla has planned, the Marketplace can be previewed in Firefox for Android Aurora, coming to the first Firefox OS phones later this year. You can also try out the OS for yourself in Mozilla’s simulator.