Firefox squares up to Google and Apple with new mobile platform

MOZILLA, the organisation behind the Firefox web browser, has launched its own smartphone operating system, a move that will challenge Google’s Android software.

The Firefox mobile operating system, targeted at smartphones that sell for £100 or less, will feature on devices made by Alcatel, LG and ZTE, with apps that run on HTML 5 – the language of the web – rather than on the phone’s own programming, as with Android or Apple phones.

Mozilla head Gary Kovacs said yesterday this would mean an open environment, rather than one controlled by Apple or Google.

“We don’t believe you should have one or two companies that approve every single piece of content… that’s a broken model and it needs to change,” Kovacs said.

Mozilla announced tie-ups with network operators including Telefonica, the Spanish owner of O2, which will see Firefox smartphones sold in Latin America.

Firefox phones will also be sold in eastern Europe and Spain before launching in other countries.

O2 chief executive Ronan Dunne said last night he expects Firefox handsets to launch in the UK in early 2014.

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