Mozilla's CEO has confirmed that the smartphones and their open-source operating system will be landing in Brazil, Colombia, Hungary, Mexico, Montenegro, Poland, Serbia, Spain, and Venezuela this summer.
During the D: Dive into Mobile conference, held in New York on Monday and hosted by tech site All Things D, Gary Knowles, the head of the organization that also produces the Firefox web browser, said that he hoped the phones will have launched in 16 countries in total by the end of the year, and that to begin with, Mozilla's focus would be on emerging markets. "In Silicon Valley we tend to see the world through high-end devices," Kovacs said. "But that's not true in the rest of the world. So in the short term, we're launching in emerging markets where Firefox is particularly strong. ... It didn't make sense for us to launch a version-one device around the world."
Which is why the handsets won't be arriving on US shores until 2014 when the supporting ecosystem is more robust.
Although the company's CEO was understood to have said the phones would launch in five countries in June, following the conference, Mozilla's PR department published a clarifying statement explaining that he had meant to say nine, not five countries.
Although there are already four competing operating systems in the global smartphone market (Google's Android, Apple's iOS, Windows Phone 8 and BlackBerry 10), what sets the Firefox OS apart from its competitors is that its operating system is truly open source and has been developed to break down the walled garden of traditional app stores and network operators. Because its operating system supports HTML5, the latest iteration of the language of the world wide web, phones running Firefox OS will be able to run browser-based apps or download applications directly from websites. Also, because the coding language is a truly open global standard, anyone practically anywhere who knows how to code, knows how to do so for Firefox phones, making them the perfect devices for developing markets where developers work from a bedroom or part time after work.
Mozilla debuted the first FireFox OS phones at this year's Mobile World Congress in February and revealed that five handset makers including heavyweights Sony and LG were committed to building phones that run the operating system. The operating system also received firm backing from Europe's myriad network operators, all of whom want more choice in their domestic markets and more negotiating power when it comes to dealing with device makers such as Samsung and Apple.