Foxconn backs Firefox OS play

Foxconn backs Firefox OS play

Summary: Can the open-source, Linux-based Firefox mobile operating system become a mobile-space player? The question is far from answered but Mozilla has a new supporter: major electronics contract manufacturer Foxconn.

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While Android and Apple iOS battle it out for mobile platform operating system supremacy, other minor mobile operating systems, such as Mozilla's Linux-based, open-source operating system Firefox OS, are still trying to get a seat at the mobile operating system table. On June 3rd,  Firefox OS gained an important backer: electronics contract manufacturing giant Foxconn.

firefoxos-tablet
Want a Firefox OS-based tablet? Foxconn is making one.

The rumor that Foxconn was preparing to back Firefox OS proved to be correct. Firefox OS's parent organization, the Mozilla Foundation, announced at the at the Computex 2013 trade show in Taipei, Taiwan that "Foxconn is extending past its origins in original design manufacturing to a combination of integrated software and hardware offerings, which extends its domain to the open operating platform and positively carries out its integration plan of hardware, software, content, and services."

In a statement, Young Liu, general manager of Foxconn's innovation Digital System Business Group said: “Because of our shared vision, we are excited to work with Mozilla. Firefox OS from Mozilla is based on HTML5 and open Web technologies. The whole idea perfectly matches to the strategies promoted by Foxconn. We believe that the integration of software and hardware development will offer greater benefits to our customers and consumers."

Specifically, Foxconn and Mozilla showed a tablet running a Firefox OS beta. This appears to be the first Firefox OS-powerd tablet. Interestingly, Foxconn is perhaps best known as the manufacturer of the first Apple iPads. 

The companies also promised, according to The Next Web, that the two companies were working on a total of  five devices. While smartphones and tablets are certainly on the agenda, the companies will also be working to extend the operating system to TVs or electronic signs. Foxconn, however, will not be selling any of these devices to end-users. As it has in the past, Foxconn will be the builder behind OEMs who will then deliver the products into customers' hands.

Other  companies, such as  ZTE and Huawei, are already producing engineering samples and developer models of Firefox OS-powered smartphones.

The real question for these outsider mobile operating systems will be whether carriers will back them. For these smaller players, such as Canonical's Ubuntu, carrier support is the wild-card that will determine if they can really play in the marketplace or if they'll remain hobbyist devices. All we can say at this point is that Firefox OS is finding success in garnering the OEM chips it will need to ante into the game.

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Topics: Mobility, Linux, Mobile OS, Networking, Open Source, Smartphones, Tablets

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41 comments
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  • So basically

    Mozilla are paying Foxconn to make it. End of story. Another nice one Stevie Boy. Complete BS.
    Blogsworth
    • Or...

      ...Mozilla is following the Android model and giving away the source code.
      John L. Ries
    • That is exactly what I was thinking....

      unless Foxconn is putting their name on the devices and selling them.
      aretaksonic
    • Why?

      Why would people choose this over say a $99 Nokia Lumia 520. The Lumia is definitely more powerful and a better choice. Not to mention better build quality.

      They need to try harder.
      Dreyer Smit
  • Pay?

    It's the carriers and hardware manufacturers who are benefiting. Mozilla is likely not paying anyone.
    caspy7
  • I really, really like the Mozilla Firefox web browser

    However, I've no interest in an operating system that limits my selection of web browsers. Firefox OS is not an option for me just as Chrome OS, iOS and Windows RT are not options. Android remains the most open platform for mobile devices.
    Rabid Howler Monkey
    • So

      Apple doesn't pay Foxconn either? Foxconn aren't in the charity business. Of course they get paid for everything they manufacture.
      Blogsworth
      • Hi Blogsworth

        I believe that you meant this reply for caspy7.
        Rabid Howler Monkey
  • Isn't it cute, the way SJVN "forgot" to mention Windows 8 or WP8,

    when he made this statement: "...While Android and Apple iOS battle it out". It's like, he doesn't want anybody to notice that, WP8 and Windows RT exist, and are, as of today, already competing in the mobile OS arena, while Firefox OS is still, basically, in the design stages.

    Can anybody doubt SJVN's disdain for any flavor of Windows, or anything Microsoft?
    adornoe
    • From the article: "other minor mobile operating systems"

      Perhaps SJVN included WP8 and Windows RT with "other minor mobile operating systems" along with QNX, Tizen and Sailfish OS.
      Rabid Howler Monkey
      • Well, that would put him in the denial camp, since WP8 actually

        is third in usage now, while Firefox OS is still in the design stages.

        WP8 is on the rise, while Android has stopped growing, even while it still has the most smartphones out there.

        Within 2 or 3 years, Android will have become the third most used mobile OS, while WP8 and WinRT will have overcome the Android and iOS leads.
        adornoe
        • According to various sources

          Windows Phone and Blackberry are still fighting it out for third place. Of course, one can cherry-pick any one of the sources and have either Windows Phone or Blackberry as a distant third place behind iOS and Android. Here's a summary of sources:

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usage_share_of_operating_systems#Mobile_devices

          Also, some sources show both Windows Phone and Blackberry in a dead heat and trailing Nokia's Symbian and/or Series 40.

          And the smart money has Windows Phone eventually catching up to iOS, not Android. Here's an example from ZDNet this very morning:

          http://www.zdnet.com/canalys-predicts-a-billion-android-smartphone-sales-in-2017-and-rapid-growth-for-windows-phone-7000016329/

          Cheers
          Rabid Howler Monkey
          • Those Canalys predictions are full of holes, and I even retorted to

            the article on ZDNet.

            Canalys didn't even mention how Intel is becoming a player in the smartphone and tablets arena. Intel is introducing smaller and more power-efficient x86-based processors, and those will eventually become a major part of the mobile landscape. If Canalys can't predict what will happen with the Intel processors and the OEMs use of those processors, then the Canalys predictions are as useful as the predictions one can find in fortune cookies.
            adornoe
          • Re: I even retorted to the article on ZDNet

            But you didn't point out where the holes were. Just saying there are holes doesn't mean there are holes.
            ldo17
          • Go read the other article, and try to re-read the post to which you

            responded, because, I pointed to one of the holes in that post.

            Canalys didn't even mention how Intel is becoming a lot more competitive in the mobile arena, and by not including that fact in their predictions, their predictions have a huge hole right there.

            But, apparently, the biggest hole which I've had to deal with, is the hole in your head, because, there seems to be nothing inside that head of yours.

            So, if there really is some kind of material inside that skull of yours, do try to engage it with reading comprehension in mind.
            adornoe
          • Re: Canalys didn't even mention how Intel is becoming a lot more competitiv

            Maybe because it isn't.
            ldo17
        • Time will tell

          According to predictions of years past, x86 should have long ago been replaced with Itanium.
          John L. Ries
          • You're right, and x86 is still going strong.

            Did you have a point, other than the obvious?
            adornoe
          • Not all predictions are correct

            Not even yours.
            John L. Ries
    • Yet...

      ...Android and iOS are the major players in the mobile world. WP8 might be in the future, but I have yet to see a WP8 device in real life.

      Disclosure: My phone and tablet run Android. I don't own an iPhone or an iPad (and won't), but I know plenty of people who do.
      John L. Ries