At the Mobile World Congress last month there was a surprising announcement from the guys over at Mozilla, as they revealed they were going to jump into the mobile market with an Operating System based strongly around their strongly branded Firefox brand, recently there have been further developments on this subject as operators who will support the OS have been announced.
Mozilla demoed the product well and made the Firefox OS look as though it had a number of unique features, they turned a few heads in the process as their fresh approach to a mobile OS looks to harness the power of the internet in its entirety.
You can find the full list of features for the linux based OS in our previous post back when Mozilla made the announcement, the highlight of which was one use apps, which looks to be a revolutionary step for the market and something that is currently unprecedented.
Well Mozilla look to be starting off on the right foot, as they have announced a massive marketing campaign, one that will be hard to miss if spotted. The campaign is headed by massive international brand consultants Wolff Olins, who have worked with the Obama campaign as well as massive companies such as Nike and the 2012 London Olympics.
Getting such a big marketing company on board Mozilla showed their intention to make the Firefox OS a success and Wolff Olins duly delivered on the marketing front, as the billboards and indeed even the set-up at MWC utilised the prominence of everybody’s favourite internet fox and unleashed the brand identity in a variety of unique, stylish and bold ways.
On top of getting massive marketing experts behind their Firefox OS Mozilla have announced a long list of operators who will provide their services for handsets running Mozilla’s internet based system, which is aiming to become a forerunner in emerging markets.
The full list of 17 operators is as follows: 3 Group, Latin American giants America Movil, China Unicom, Deutsche Telekom (T-Mobile), Etisalat, KDDI, KT, Russian based MegaFon, Telecom Italia, Qtel, SingTel, Smart, Sprint, Portugal’s TMN, Telefonica, Telenor and Russia’s VimpelCom. On top of this Telstra have welcomed the initiative but haven’t actually came out and confirmed they will be collaborating with Mozilla at the moment.
This suggests the initial plans to release in emerging economies (Brazil, Colombia, Hungary, Mexico, Montenegro, Poland, Serbia, Spain and Venezuela) before more established markets looks to continue, as most of the above are low-end carriers.
In terms of handsets there is still only the four providers, which consists of Alcatel (TCL), Huawei, LG and ZTE, all of which look to be producing low-end handsets to run Firefox OS, however there are some rumours that a mid-range model running the HTML5 based OS is in the works.
There seems to be a more solid date in terms of release of handsets running Firefox OS, with ZTE’s low-end Open handset due to be available in April. This phone will feature a basic (3.2MP) camera with a 1GhZ Snapdragon S1 processor and is rumoured to be in the price region of $100-150.
Mozilla will want handset releases to come thick and fast and we can probably expect the majority of providers to have handsets on the market within the next couple of months. They will be keen to hit the ground running as a recent report from Strategy Analytics suggested that over this coming year Firefox OS can expect just a 1% share of the market, with Android anticipating a 67% share of the global market.
Of course a low market share is to be expected from a newcomer to a crowded market, however with Firefox OS aiming for emerging markets they may face stiffer competition than they initially expected from established OS’ such as Android, who seem to have their own plan to corner low-cost segment.
The announcement of so many operators will please the higher echelons of Mozilla however and shows just how many platforms will be explored by the internet giants, hopefully they will get a good reception when handsets start rolling out over the next few months and will see an increase in market share next year.
A good reception from emerging economies to Firefox OS will also see an increase in Mozilla’s focus on mobile devices, with the possibility of positive feedback spurring an attempt to infiltrate most established markets, such as Western Europe, as well as developing an OS for tablets.