It’s unofficially the first day on Mobile World Congress 2013 and already mobile ecosystem players such as Mozilla have jumped in to announce their offerings. My colleagues are on the ground covering the event and we are proud to be the official GSMA research partner for MWC 2013.
Mozilla and its partners debuted their first commercial build of eagerly awaited initiative of Open Web Devices based on HTML5 based Firefox OS. The first wave of commercial Firefox OS devices will be launched in Brazil, Colombia, Hungary, Mexico, Montenegro, Poland, Serbia, Spain and Venezuela starting summer of 2013 targeting sub-US$150 retail price points leveraging HTML5 capabilities on a low cost hardware. In contrast, developed markets such as USA, UK will be getting Firefox OS phones next year in 2014. Mozilla has roped in more than 17 operators (e.g. Telefonica, Deutsche Telekom), four device OEMs (e.g. LG, Alcatel One Touch, ZTE and Huawei) and one chipset supplier (e.g.Qualcomm) as partners to build and launch Firefox OS phones on almost every continent on the planet.
Our Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS) service forecasts Firefox OS will capture 1 percent (1%) share of global smartphone shipments in 2013. To expand beyond this niche status, Firefox OS will need to address at least three main challenges; they are modest brand awareness as an independent platform among smartphone consumers worldwide compared to likes of Google and Nokia, a limited initial retail presence in the influential developed markets such as United States market, and a relatively unproven ecosystem experience of supporting apps and services. However, Mozilla will still look to leverage to cross-promote these devices to its almost half a billion Firefox user base and popularity in key countries such as Poland, Brazil, Colombia and Serbia which will see initial wave of Firefox OS phones.
It's going to be an interesting 2013 with long tail of mobile OS platforms such as Firefox, Tizen, Sailfish, Ubuntu will challenge the strong walled garden platforms chipping away share leveraging key operator and device OEM partnerships.