Feature Article

January 10, 2013

ZTE May Soon Sell Mozilla-Powered Phones in Europe, U.S. Starting this Year

ZTE is meeting with an unnamed European wireless carrier to possibly sell Mozilla's Firefox OS-powered phones in Europe – perhaps starting sometime this year, according to news reports. The phones may also be offered in the United States, if studies suggest it would be successful there.

There are sales hurdles in both regions for the company given the market strength of the operating system of Google's Android. The Android OS has three-quarters of the market share when it comes to smartphone shipments, according to the IDC research firm.

Given the current market, it looks like ZTE-Mozilla would only compete at the low end of the smartphone market, the BBC reported.

Jay Sullivan, vice president of products at Mozilla, said the company is “working with equipment makers Qualcomm (and) TCL Communication Technology Holdings on the devices,” the BBC said.

"Interest and momentum continues to grow in Firefox OS," Sullivan told Bloomberg News.

The Firefox OS is predicted to have some one percent of global smartphone shipments during 2013.

"Overcoming Android will not be an easy task,” Strategy Analytics said in recent sector analysis. "To expand beyond niche status, Firefox OS will need to address at least three main challenges; they have low brand awareness among smartphone consumers worldwide, a limited retail presence in the influential United States market, and a relatively modest ecosystem of supporting apps and services."

ZTE is China’s second-biggest manufacturer of phone equipment. This week, during the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, ZTE showed the ZTE Grand S - 5.0 FHD LTE. The ZTE Grand S is the company's first FHD smartphone and is believed to be the thinnest ever. It features the Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor.

The ZTE Grand S is the company’s latest launch of a smartphone, which will continue in 2013 with the introduction of additional high-end smartphones.

It was also reported that Deutsche Telekom AG, Sprint Nextel Corp. and Telefonica SA are developing an open mobile operating system powered by Mozilla to make cheaper smartphones and also try to compete with Google’s Android.

Also, Samsung Electronics will likely sell phones with an operating system which is seen as an option to Android, called Tizen.

Edited by Brooke Neuman

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