The current year has already been christened as the year of 1080p droids, but it won’t be wrong to call 2013 the year of mobile platforms either. New platforms like the Sailfish OS, Tizen OS, Ubuntu for Phones and Firefox OS are expected to make advances in the mobile arena this year. While we recently learned that Ubuntu will make its way to smartphones, there has been little info about other platforms. That is until now, as new reports are claiming that Firefox OS could see a new taker (after TCL) in the form of Chinese manufacturer ZTE which plans to provide hardware for the new OS. It is being reported that ZTE will partner with a mystery European carrier to bring this alleged smartphone to the fore. The CEO of ZTE USA, Cheng Lixin, gave out these details while speaking with Bloomberg. It’s obvious that this arrangement is still in its early stages, but we’ll take any positive info in the right spirit. Mr. Cheng mentioned that the company plans to roll out the Firefox OS running smartphone sometime in 2013, so the company’s plans seem to be in motion already. Interestingly, ZTE is not the first company which has plans to roll out a Firefox OS based smartphone, as TCS is also said to be interested in launching a Firefox running device.
It’s good to see that there are manufacturers coming out in support of the newly launched mobile OS, which is the first step towards building and developing a platform. The fact that the Firefox OS behaves a lot like Android might have a lot to do with ZTE’s interest in the platform. It’s rather odd though that the company is working with a carrier and it doesn’t want people to know, which could possibly mean that it’s probably a major European carrier (T-Mobile? Vodafone?). The plan initially is to launch the device in Europe and the company will apparently assess the situation and the sales before bringing it to American shores. There’s no reason for Google or Android to be intimidated in any way with this move as ZTE predominantly makes use of Android for its smartphones.
The folks at Mozilla are clearly excited with the prospects and its VP, Jay Sullivan mentioned that the interest for the platform is beginning to pick up pace. With TCL and now ZTE vowing to bring Firefox OS to the market, we expect more manufacturers to follow suit (except Samsung). There’s plenty to look forward to in 2013, and the rise of the Firefox OS or any newly launched OS is high up in our list. It should be interesting to see how manufacturers integrate their hardware with the platform. It’s certainly going to be a challenging task but very rewarding too.