If you’ve been wondering when you’ll be able to use your VoIP apps (assuming they’re available in the Mozilla Marketplace) or your phone service on a Firefox OS-powered device, it looks like you won’t have long to wait if you’re in Europe. According to a Bloomberg report, Chinese phone-equipment maker ZTE said it was working with an unspecified European wireless carrier to sell Mozilla’s Firefox OS-powered phones.
Mozilla’s OS will be competing for the lower end of the smartphone market, so will likely compete mostly against phones powered by BlackBerry 10 as well as some cheaper Android devices, although the Nokia Lumia 620 might also be a major low-cost competitor.
ZTE chief executive Cheng Lixin also said the phones could be marketed in the United States this year, although an exact time frame was specified, nor was a likely carrier:
“We closely monitor the ecosystem and how it evolves. If that is ready and if consumer studies support that data, then we may launch one in the US also this year.”
Jay Sullivan, vice president of products at Mozilla, said “interest and momentum continues to grow” in the Mozilla-created operating system and that the company was also working with Qualcomm and TCL Communication Technology Holdings on the devices.
According to analysts, Firefox OS is already forecast to capture 1% of the share of global smartphone shipments in 2013, though Firefox OS will need “brand awareness” as well as a “retail presence in the influential United States market” and “relatively modest” app ecosystem in order to be able to effectively compete.