One of the worst-kept secrets this year has been Mozilla’s work on a phone OS, but its focus and target market has been left up for grabs. Our friends at BSN* had the chance to talk to two folks from Mozilla Foundation about their plans, and sure enough, *shock* a phone is en route. But it’s not exactly going to compete with the best Android and iOS-based phones out there – the initial target is a $50 model.
In the video showing the phone off, one produced by Chinese vendor ZTE, we can see a fluid OS, and one that’s not so dissimilar from current market options. It’s obviously very difficult to differentiate the basic mechanics of a phone OS, so the best Mozilla can do, it seems, is to make sure all of the app icons are circular – much like those found with Mozilla’s desktop apps.
The phone itself looks a little dated, a la Android 2009, but at $50 I don’t think Mozilla is focusing too much on the hardware. For consumers, what’s important is that the company stresses the importance of open-source, and it claims to have no interest in restricting what people can put on the phone, and it definitely doesn’t want to censor any of it.
Firefox OS is likely the most ambitious project Mozilla has ever undertaken, and it’s made all the more challenging by having its front-end written in HTML5. But coupled with the fact that it’s based on Linux, and Mozilla’s goal here is freedom, it could be a fun phone to hack or modify. Oh, and there is the fact that those who can’t spend hundreds on a phone will be able to get access to a new option that beats the pants off other ~$50 offerings.