Will Firefox on tablets lead to lower-cost offerings?



The specs for the first tablet that has been designed to run Mozilla’s Firefox operating system have been published this week by project head Asa Dotzler as the OS prepares to give Apple’s iOS, Microsoft’s Windows 8 and Google’s Android a run for their collective money.

The blog posting says that the tablet will feature an ARM Cortex A7 quad core processor running at 1GHz with a PowerVR GPU and 2GB of RAM. It will have 16GB of flash storage that presumably can be upgraded via its MicroSD slot.

The tablet, called the InFocus New Tab F1, will feature a 10.1 inch 1200 x 800 touch screen and have dual cameras, a 2megapixel and a 5MP camera as well as support 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi but no cellular support, at least in the first go-around.

The tablet is not a surprise since the company showed the OS for mobile phones a year ago at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona and has been talking about the tablet since last summer when it said that it would partner with Foxconn to build the device. The interesting thing will be what impact it will have, if any, on its rivals.

The Firefox operating system has taken a big chunk on market share in the PC browser space, which along with Chrome has given Microsoft’s Internet Explorer much more competition that it could have wished for.

A number of handset developers use the mobile Firefox OS in offerings for emerging markets and now we will see if tablet developers will follow suit. There are an increasing number of low-cost offerings that offer primarily Android OS but along with the OS there are already a huge number of apps, probably as important as the OS.

It looks like an uphill battle for the OS, but it is also a hill that the development team has surmounted in the past. I could see purchasing a low-cost tablet that could be dedicated for single use. However for fans who want a tablet to serve as a second screen option, slow, low resolution offerings will not make it, but could serve to free up a primary, higher quality tablet for a more dedicated use as well.

Firefox Powered Phone Here- Tablet on the Way


Developers now have another platform to write apps for in the mobile device market as Mozilla, the organization that is behind the free Firefox web browser has started rolling out smartphones that run a Firefox operating system.

Mozilla is claiming that by using Web technologies it has an original take on how smartphones will operate. On first glance it sounds like a lot of other OS that are available. It will include the ability to make calls, messaging, email, camera and has built-in social features with Facebook and Twitter.

One interesting new feature is an adaptive search app that finds a range of related components to a search topic- the example give being you search an artist and find not just songs but concert tickets, song and album purchase and more. The OS has the ability to enable users to create customized apps for single or long term use as well.

Users can look for global and localized apps at Firefox Marketplace that will include everything from business apps, games and news and media offerings.

The rollout will be regional in nature with devices soon to hit the market with the Alcatel One Touch Fire and the ZTE Open phones offered by Duetsche Telekom and Telefonica. Telefonica is expected to start selling the phones in Spain and then move to South America.

Executives for Telefonica said that the company expects to have a range of smartphones running Firefox OS by the end of the year with a range of price points as the company will seek to aggressively go after the Android and Apple iOS market.

According to Mozilla the platform will be supported by approximately 20 hardware and operator backers globally with carrier Telenor set to launch their first Firefox OS phones in Central and Eastern Europe this year.

So that is what we have today, and Brendan Eich, Mozilla’s CTO has said that tablets that will also be capable of running the operating system are on the way, and while declining to give a timetable for when customers can see the devices, he did say that it would be soon.

This will be interesting. When the Firefox browser came out many thought it was dead on arrival and yet it has wrested away a huge chunk of market share from the established power, Microsoft. Now it is attacking another market, one that does have more diversification that the web browser space did but still fairly insular. The failure or success will obviously be determined, at least in part, by developer support because users are not expecting a wide variety of apps for their phones and its hard to see any mobile OS survive without a wide variety of offerings.