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Mozilla's Firefox OS could ruffle smartphone challengers

24 Jan 2013
Firefox developer phone unveiled

There is room for the Firefox OS to compete in the mobile market but growth will initially be slow, according to industry analysts.

Earlier this week the first developer devices running the operating system were unveiled, as Mozilla seeks to generate interest in the platform, with backing from mobile giant Telefonica.

Assessing the chances of the operating system to compete in an already fiercely competitive market analysts from Ovum, Forrester Research and Canalys told V3 there was an opportunity for another OS to succeed.

In particular, they cited the failure of either Microsoft's Windows Phone platform or Research in Motion's (RIM) BlackBerry 10 yet-to-be-released system to cement the "third spot" in the market as a key opportunity.

"It is a great time for Firefox to enter the market. Vendors continue to struggle to differentiate on Android and Windows Phone is struggling for traction in the market, so vendors are in need of other options," Canalys principal analyst, Pete Cunningham told V3.

"We believe that the first devices will launch in Brazil in the first half of the year, with handsets coming to Europe in the second half of 2013. We are optimistic with regards to it chances of success in the long-term but doubt that the platform will make much impact in terms of market share in 2013."

Forrester principal analyst Thomas Husson mirrored Cunningham's sentiment, adding that Firefox success will largely depend on hardware as well as software.

"There is some room for a third ecosystem and competition will take place with Windows Phone 8, RIM with BlackBerry 10 and new open ecosystems like Tizen and Firefox OS, with the support of telecom operators," said Husson, speaking to V3.

"However, none of the players competing for the third place will gain any meaningful traction in 2013 among marketers and developers."

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Alastair Stevenson
About

Alastair has worked as a reporter covering security and mobile issues at V3 since March 2012. Before entering the field of journalism Alastair had worked in numerous industries as both a freelance copy writer and artist.

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