Telstra to sell Firefox OS smartphones (Updated: Maybe not)

zte

As expected, MWC has given ground for some smartphones to launch with Mozilla’s Firefox OS; LG, ZTE and Huawei all with devices to come. Firefox OS is meant to be a lightweight operating system based entirely on HTML 5 on cheap, low powered hardware (Think single core processors, 512mb ram, low res screen etc) for markets with low smartphone penetration or just a cheap introduction to smartphones for those who can’t afford an iPhone or Galaxy S III.

At its conference, Mozilla announced that 18 carriers world-wide were to stock the devices including Australian telcos Telstra and possibly Optus. It’s unclear what devices will be released or when they will be released, although Telstra’s previous relationship with ZTE leads me to think they will be a main partner for them.

Telstra said that it

…is welcoming the Mozilla initiative as an opportunity to deliver an innovative mobile Web experience to their customers.

Telstra in the past has loved putting its own bloatware software on devices, so the use of HTML 5 in everything, even the contacts and diallers apps, as well as the operating systems endless customisation options could mean that Telstra might use this as a cheap device filled with all their services to release in the pre-paid market, which actually really makes sense and I’m surprised they haven’t done this before.

Mozilla posted a new video walkthrough of Firefox OS this morning.

For more information, check out www.mozilla.org/firefoxos

Update: Thanks to the investigation work over at Lifehacker it seems that the very vague comment Telstra left meant something else. They told Lifehacker this:

 

We welcome new entrants to the mobile OS market – ultimately it means more choice for consumers. At this stage we’re yet to decide whether we will offer Firefox OS mobiles. We’ll be evaluating phones running the OS in the coming months. One of the potential advantages of Firefox OS is that it could help bring smartphone features to lower-cost devices.

That basically just means. They have one they’re testing and it may or may not be put onto the market.