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SMART Communications announces availability of Firefox OS smartphones

Firefox OS is here in Manila!

We never expected these to arrive in Philippine shores so fast, but yes, the Firefox OS phones are finally here c/o SMART Communications. Last month, Firefox OS was rumored to be unveiled at Mobile World Congress 2013 (that’s 2 days ago) and it appears that these rumors are true. The Firefox OS joins the mobile phone OS wars together with Android, BlackBerry 10, iOS, and Windows Phone 8.

What makes the Firefox OS so neat? Well, these things should be quite affordable because of its open-source nature (Mozilla is a foundation and thus a non-profit). The apps are based off HTML5 which means that it’s like having one huge web browser on your phone and these “web apps” allow you to various things. What I’m driving at: these guys are here to keep the web open, which is a huge commentary and rebuttal against the many app ecosystems out there — with lots of fingers pointing at Apple. Firefox OS will be huge. they’re not trying to lock anyone in. Case in point: Ever wanted to shift to another OS (i.e. Apple shifting to Android) but didn’t because you felt that you already spent so much money on apps? With Mozilla’s new OS, the web is the platform. And they intend to keep it open.

Now this part isn’t from SMART, but according to the developer preview, there will be two phones launched initially. Here are the specs:

The Keon model
CPU Qualcomm Snapdragon S1 1Ghz
UMTS 2100/1900/900 (3G HSPA)
GSM 850/900/1800/1900 (2G EDGE)
Screen 3.5″ HVGA Multitouch
3 MP Camera
MicroSD, Wifi N, Light and proximity Sensor, G-Sensor, GPS, MicroUSB
1580 mAh battery
Over the air updates
Unlocked, add your own SIM card

The Peak model
CPU Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 1.2Ghz x2.
UMTS 2100/1900/900 (3G HSPA).
GSM 850/900/1800/1900 (2G EDGE).
Screen 4.3″ qHD IPS Multitouch.
Camera 8 MP (back) + 2 MP (front).
4 GB (ROM) and 512 (RAM).
MicroSD, Wifi N, Light and proximity Sensor, G-Sensor, GPS, MicroUSB, Flash (camera).
Battery 1800 mAh.


Smart partners with Mozilla for Firefox OS smartphones

In line with its goal of putting the Internet in the hands of every Filipino, wireless services leader Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) has committed to support Web pioneer Mozilla’s efforts to introduce affordable Firefox OS smartphones that run on a flexible and open mobile platform.

Smart is the only Philippine operator that has committed to distribute mobile devices running Firefox OS, which will allow carriers to tailor the phones’ interface and to develop services that address the specific needs of their customers.

Other leading operators that will distribute the first wave of Firefox devices are América Móvil, China Unicom, Deutsche Telekom, Etisalat, Hutchison Three Group, KDDI, KT, MegaFon, Qtel, SingTel, Sprint, Telecom Italia Group, Telefónica, Telenor, Telstra, TMN and VimpelCom.
Mozilla is working with manufacturers LG, TCL (Alcatel), and ZTE to build the first Firefox OS devices, with Huawei to follow later in the year – all powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon™ mobile processors.

Firefox OS smartphones are the world’s first open Web devices which are free from the rules and restrictions of existing proprietary platforms. Firefox OS phones can run apps developed using HTML5 with the same flexibility as “native apps” on other platforms.

“Firefox OS brings the freedom and unbounded innovation of the open Web to mobile users everywhere,” said Gary Kovacs, chief executive officer of Mozilla.

“With the support of our vibrant community and dedicated partners, our goal is to level the playing field and usher in an explosion of content and services that will meet the diverse needs of the next two billion people online,” he added.

Smart chief wireless advisor Orlando Vea said he is happy that Filipinos will be among the first to enjoy Firefox OS devices.

“We’re excited to see Firefox OS in the market because this will help bridge the digital divide. Its HTML5-based technology will make available affordable mobile devices with an open mobile ecosystem. This is aligned with our inclusive vision of putting mobile Internet in the hands of every customer,” he said.

Meanwhile, Smart executive vice president and wireless consumer division head Emmanuel Lorenzana said: “Firefox’s entry to the mobile phone market will bring customer experience to another level with lower cost barrier to ownership and more choices in terms of devices and mobile apps. This will also foster a healthier and more competitive developer community. We’re very keen to see a vibrant ecosystem based on HTML5 technology such as Firefox OS.”

Mozilla announced operator rollout plans for Firefox OS smartphones before the opening of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. Smart executives led by Lorenzana are in Barcelona to support the event. [END]

By Jayvee Fernandez

Jayvee Fernandez is a tech enthusiast and sitting Techbology Editor for The Philippine STAR.

He is also an EAN certified SCUBA Diver and underwater photographer based in Metro Manila, Philippines. His photos and videos have appeared in various international and local publications including Random House Germany, Discovery Channel Canada, and CNN.

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