Feeds

ZTE to launch Mozilla-based phone in Europe in 2013

Other markets may not be far behind

The essential guide to IT transformation

CES 2013 Chinese electronics firm ZTE is ramping up its efforts in support of the Mozilla Foundation's open source Firefox OS for mobile phones, and if all goes well, it could deliver a device targeting European customers as early as this year.

In an interview at the CES 2013 conference taking place in Las Vegas this week, Cheng Lixin, CEO of ZTE's US business unit, told Bloomberg that the company was already working with a European carrier to develop a Firefox OS device.

He didn't say which carrier, but Deutsche Telekom seems a likely candidate, given that Mozilla has already announced the German firm as a partner in its Firefox OS efforts.

Cheng also didn't say in which European country ZTE planned to launch its Mozilla-powered device. There's reason to believe it might choose somewhere other than the usual suspects.

Rather than going head-to-head with the likes of Apple for the top end of the market, Mozilla is developing Firefox OS to run on low-end smartphones for the developing world. It plans to launch its first devices this year in Brazil, in partnership with local carrier Telefónica.

If ZTE follows that pattern, it's possible it could pick one of the weaker European economies for a trial run of Firefox OS, then gradually broaden the platform's reach as time goes on.

But ZTE is interested in Firefox OS for another reason, too; namely, its desire to reduce its dependence on Google's Android. Samsung is planning to debut phones based on the open source Tizen OS this year for much the same reason. Both companies worry that Google is becoming not just a supplier but also a competitor, particularly in light of the Chocolate Factory's acquisition of Motorola Mobility in 2012.

Such concerns give ZTE plenty of incentive to promote Firefox OS aggressively, and if customers take to the platform, it could even abandon the slow-buildup strategy and charge straight ahead into rich markets.

"We closely monitor the ecosystem and how it evolves," Cheng told Bloomberg. "If that is ready and if consumer studies support that data, then we may launch [a Firefox OS device] in US also this year."

ZTE currently ranks fifth in the number of smartphone units shipped to the US, giving it around 5 per cent market share. Cheng said his goal is to boost the company into fourth place by 2015. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
EE fails to apologise for HUGE T-Mobile outage that hit Brits on Friday
Customer: 'Please change your name to occasionally somewhere'
Time Warner Cable customers SQUEAL as US network goes offline
A rude awakening: North Americans greeted with outage drama
We need less U.S. in our WWW – Euro digital chief Steelie Neelie
EC moves to shift status quo at Internet Governance Forum
BT customers face broadband and landline price hikes
Poor punters won't be affected, telecoms giant claims
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.