Report: Foxconn to triple to 3,000 number of workers for Mozilla Firefox OS effort

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Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., better known as Foxconn, will triple the number of workers it is recruiting for its program to develop devices running Mozilla's Firefox OS to up to 3,000, according to a report from the Taipei Times

The report, without citing its sources, said the workers will be based at Foxconn's software center in Greater Kaohsiung, Taiwan. When Foxconn and Mozilla announced their plans to collaborate earlier this month, Foxconn said would add between 500 and 1,000 engineers by the end of the year.

"Hon Hai will do its best to develop the Kaohsiung software center as the company's software powerhouse," Foxconn said in a statement, according to the report. "There will be no budget limit for fostering software talent."

Foxconn has said it will build devices running Mozilla's Firefox OS including smartphones, tablets, TVs, electronic whiteboards and outdoor displays. The companies said there are more than five devices planned, according to Reuters. For Mozilla, the partnership could help spread the Firefox platform into emerging markets, where Mozilla is concentrating much of its mobile strategy.

Foxconn--best known in the U.S. market for building Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone and iPad-- has said that Firefox OS will serve as an open-source alternative to Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android. Foxconn has also talked about expanding its presence in cloud computing services, as AllThingsD notes.

One of the key features of Firefox OS is that it has drawn support from global operators. Mozilla said 17 operators have so far committed to launching Firefox OS devices, including Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S), América Móvil, China Unicom, Deutsche Telekom, Etisalat, Hutchison Whampoa's Three Group, KDDI, KT, MegaFon, Qtel, SingTel, Smart, Telecom Italia, Telefónica, Telenor, TMN and VimpelCom. As for handsets, Mozilla said that TCL's Alcatel brand, LG Electronics and ZTE will build the first Firefox OS devices, with Huawei to follow later this year. More handset makers will likely be added in the future. All of the devices will run on Qualcomm's (NASDAQ:QCOM) Snapdragon processors.

The first Firefox OS devices are expected to be available in emerging markets this summer. However, they likely will not hit the U.S. until next year.

For more:
- see this Taipei Times article
- see this ZDNet article
- see this AllThingsD article

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