Mozilla hasn’t even made Firefox OS something that people recognize, let alone something that’s actually relevant. That could all change with the company’s recently announced collaboration, however, which would bring Firefox OS-powered smartphones to first-time smartphone buyers, particularly those in developing nations. It remains to be seen whether or not these devise, which will hit markets in 2016, will be able to compete with low-end Android smartphones.
In a bid to make its Firefox OS Phones relevant, Mozilla today announced that it will collaborate with a group of telecom partners on a new class of phones for people who haven’t joined the smartphone revolution yet. The partners will develop phones for first-time buyers, primarily in developing markets, that look like the flips and sliders of yore, but also offer limited ability to run apps, play music, take pictures, and browse the Web like a very basic smartphone. “By leveraging Firefox OS and the power of the Web, we are re-imagining and providing a modern platform for entry-level phones,” said Li Gong, president of Mozilla, in a press release. The announcement came on the eve of the Barcelona Mobile World Congress, where more than 30,000 people will gather this week to see and hear about the latest news in mobile computing and communications. Mozilla is hoping to make a big splash at the event by holding a large press event tonight before the official show begins tomorrow.