Smart partners with Mozilla to launch phones with Firefox OS
Lawrence Agcaoili (The Philippine Star) - February 26, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Wireless giant Smart Communications Inc., a unit of dominant carrier Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT), has partnered with web pioneer Mozilla to introduce affordable Firefox OS (operating system) smartphones in the country.

Smart became the first telco provider in the country that has committed to distribute mobile devices running Firefox OS that would allow carriers to tailor the phones’ interface and to develop services that address the specific needs of their customers.

Orlando Vea, chief wireless advisor of Smart, said in a statement that Filipinos will be among the first to enjoy Firefox OS devices.

“We’re excited to see Firefox OS in the market because this will help bridge the digital divide. Its HTML5-based technology will make available affordable mobile devices with an open mobile ecosystem. This is aligned with our inclusive vision of putting mobile Internet in the hands of every customer,” Vea stressed.

Other leading operators that would distribute the first wave of Firefox devices are América Móvil, China Unicom, Deutsche Telekom, Etisalat, Hutchison Three Group, KDDI, KT, MegaFon, Qtel, SingTel, Sprint, Telecom Italia Group, Telefónica, Telenor, Telstra, TMN and VimpelCom.

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

Smart executive vice president and wireless consumer division head Emmanuel Lorenzana said Filipinos are expected to benefit from the release of affordable smartphones with Firefox OS.

“Firefox’s entry to the mobile phone market will bring customer experience to another level with lower cost barrier to ownership and more choices in terms of devices and mobile apps. This will also foster a healthier and more competitive developer community. We’re very keen to see a vibrant ecosystem based on HTML5 technology such as Firefox OS,” he said.

Firefox OS smartphones are the world’s first open Web devices which are free from the rules and restrictions of existing proprietary platforms. Firefox OS phones can run apps developed using HTML5 with the same flexibility as “native apps” on other platforms.

Mozilla chief executive officer Gary Kovacs said Firefox OS brings the freedom and unbounded innovation of the open Web to mobile users everywhere.

“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,” he added.

Mozilla announced operator rollout plans for Firefox OS smartphones before the opening of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain.

The PLDT Group which recently completed a P67.1 billion network modernization has a subscriber base of 68.6 million as of end-September. Subscribers of wireless arm Smart Communications Inc. stood at 25.6 million followed by Talk ‘N Text with 26.5 million, and Sun Cellular of Digital Telecommunications of the Philippines Inc. (Digitel) with 16 million.


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