Mozilla has announced that several handset manufacturers and telecomms operators are partnering with them in launching phones running Firefox OS in 2014.
There are a number of really interesting mobile operating systems but the key factor is manufacturer adoption. Both Ubuntu for mobiles and Firefox OS are very attractive to developers because of their support for HTML5 apps but at the moment actually getting your hands on a working handset with the OS installed is difficult. Also both are in the position of having supporters but no users. This is not a good prospect as a target for apps.
However Firefox seems to be pulling ahead in the contest to get hardware manufactures and more importantly phone companies to support their OS.
Sony is the latest and most high profile company to jump aboard the Firefox OS bandwagon. In partnership with Telefonica. It becomes the fifth handset manufacturer to commit to Mozilla's operating system after ZTE, Alcatel, LG and Huawei.
Sony have also prepared an experimental image for their Xperia E phone which you can see in action in the following video:
In total 18 carriers have signed up to Firefox, primarily from markets in South America and Europe. As well as Telfonica, the list includes America Movil and Deutche Telekom.
According to Mozilla the first wave of Firefox OS devices will be available to consumers in Brazil, Colombia, Hungary, Mexico, Montenegro, Poland, Serbia, Spain and Venezuela.
The two Firefox Developer phones Mozilla announced last month have been on show this week at Mobile World Congress 2013 in Barcelona from Spanish company Geeksphone.
The only downside to all of this acceptance is that so far at least it has all been on low end hardware and emerging markets. The low end hardware, the bugs and the missing features have resulted in some harsh criticisms but the same is true of Ubuntu for mobile. Even if Firefox OS ends up in a good position in the low cost and entry level market this would still provide a good app market potential.
Firefox OS structure
When Firefox OS was announced it seemed to be a longshot that the market might adopt yet another mobile operating system, but now it isn't so silly an idea.