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Mozilla launches its own open-source, web-based mobile operating system

Posting in Technology

The Mozilla Foundation -- the creator of the Firefox web browser -- has just entered the mobile operating system fray, launching its Firefox OS on a line of smartphones in Spain. The ZTE Open will launch Tuesday and will be sold by Telefónica's Movistar for 69 euros (US$90) -- including 30 euros of prepaid credit. Should users purchase a phone with a two-year plan, the cost drops to 2.38 euros (US$3) per month.

The ZTE Open is not intended to be a high-level product. An entry-level smartphone, it comes with a 3.5-inch, 480x320-pixel touchscreen, a 3.2-megapixel camera and 512 MB of storage space -- though the purchase also comes with a 4GB microSD card.

The phone, and its new operating system, are intended to appeal particularly to users in emerging markets who may be first-time smartphone users. Firefox OS is an open-source, browser-based mobile operating system. That means that apps that run on the phone are not tied to an operating system -- as users of other devices are to Apple's iOS or Android. That makes it a lot easier for users to switch phones, since their content is not tied to a particular operating system, and Firefox OS' open-source platform means that anyone who can write a page for the web should be able to create an app.

Going up against industry players like Apple and Google may be a daunting task, but the flexibility - and cost effectiveness - of the ZTE Open seems like a promising combination.

Photo: Mozilla

via [AllThingsD]

— By on July 1, 2013, 9:53 PM PST

Channtal Fleischfresser

Contributing Editor

Contributing Editor Channtal Fleischfresser has worked for The Economist, WNET/Channel 13, Al Jazeera English, Wall Street Journal and Associated Press. She holds degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She is based in New York. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure