BARCELONA, Spain--Mozilla is teaming with major operators like Verizon Wireless (NYSE: VZ) to bring Firefox OS devices to developed countries where it currently has very little traction. The first Firefox OS phones sold by Verizon will likely hit the U.S. market in 2016.
Verizon is the only U.S. operator that is part of the Mozilla announcement. However, the deal did include other major operators from around the globe including Japan's KDDI, South Korea's LG U+ and Spain's Telefónica.
Interestingly, when Mozilla first launched its Firefox OS at Mobile World Congress in 2013, Sprint (NYSE: S) was the only U.S. operator to publicly commit to launching a Firefox OS device. At that time, the first devices were targeted at emerging markets and the more developed countries like the U.S., were not expected to get Firefox OS-based devices until 2014.
Mozilla said that the Firefox OS phones for the 2016 launch will come in a variety of form factors and price points--from simple flip phones and sliders to more sophisticated smartphones with applications, Web browsing and more. Traditionally, Firefox OS phones have been designed as entry-level devices for customers buying their first smartphone.
Last year at Mobile World Congress Mozilla announced that it was working with partners to develop a smartphone running the Firefox OS that would cost as little as $25 and in August Mozilla and its partner Intex released a Firefox OS smartphone in India, called the Cloud FX, that cost just $33.
Rosemary McNally, vice president of device technology at Verizon, said that this initiative with Mozilla is about creating a modern, simple and smart platform for basic phones. "We're looking forward to continuing to work with Mozilla and other service providers to leverage the power of Firefox OS and the Web community," McNally said in a statement.
- see these two separate Mozilla releases
Mozilla to bring Firefox OS to Africa, partners with GSMA to help emerging markets develop web content
Google unveils $105 Android One phones in India, promises to expand to more partners and countries
Mozilla partners with Intex to bring $33 Firefox OS smartphone to India