The following is an excerpt from QUENTIN HARDY | September 7, 2012 | nytimes.com |
The smartphones going into the world’s next two billion pairs of hands may not belong to either Google or Apple, but to Mozilla.
The Mozilla Foundation, which oversees open source software projects like the Firefox Web browser, expects to release a mobile operating system for smartphones early next year. Its target market is Latin America, then the rest of the developing world, where smartphones from Apple and Google are still too expensive for most people.
The Firefox models will be anywhere to one-third to one-sixth the cost of the competition, according to Mozilla and its partners.
“This is the connection of the world to each other” though mobile devices connected to the Internet, said Gary Kovacs, chief executive of the Mozilla Foundation. “This is about a standard, compliant easily accessible Web” for mobile devices, he said. The phones would be “in the middle of the high end of the feature set, and the low end of the price,” he said.
Mozilla’s main partner is Spain’s Telefonica, which already has about 215 million mobile subscribers in Latin America, and operates 6,500 stores worldwide.
Telefonica also has co-investments with China Unicom, a major Chinese carrier, and is an investor in Telecom Italia. Other carriers, including the German giant Deutsche Telekom, are also participating in the technical work. Qualcomm, a major maker of mobile phone chips, is also part of the Mozilla project.
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