Can Firefox OS be the new Android?

This is a market where low income users prefer to pay only their operator for both air-time and apps rather than pay a third-party like Apple or Google. It's also a market where inexpensive Android devices currently dominate.

"This market is not being well addressed by current offerings," says Appelquist about Latin America. "High-end smartphones are priced out of the reach of the vast majority of consumers and we see low end Android devices offering a very poor experience."

Firefox OS messages

However, for now, at least, most of the lower-end devices are - and will remain to be - based on Android. "It is standards-based and open source, so of course it will be the OS of choice for manufacturers of lower priced handsets," says Mohammed Hussain, MD of mobile phone accessories retailer, Mobile Fun, "but it will be interesting to see if Mozilla's Firefox OS gains traction in the budget smartphone sector." He expects Samsung's Tizen and Nokia's budget Windows devices to try to crack this sector, too, particularly in emerging markets.

Others are not convinced that Firefox OS can carve-out success despite its open-hearted intentions. "While I love the idea of the Firefox Phone OS, and a Firefox media based system on TV," says Peter Chadha, Founder of DrPete, "at the moment I am not convinced that these will gain market penetration, unless it is funded by Google or Yahoo on the basis of search and adverts, as Android is already free. Perhaps Firefox is hoping that by offering this operating system, open source developers will want to come on board and deliver something really different and innovative?"

Firefox OS camera

That would please those who want to see an end to the 'walled garden' approach to the mobile web, such as World Wide Web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee, though the success of Firefox OS is far from inevitable.

Jamie Carter

Jamie is a freelance tech, travel and space journalist based in the UK. He’s been writing regularly for Techradar since it was launched in 2008 and also writes regularly for Forbes, The Telegraph, the South China Morning Post, Sky & Telescope and the Sky At Night magazine as well as other Future titles T3, Digital Camera World, All About Space and He also edits two of his own websites, and that reflect his obsession with travel gear and solar eclipse travel. He is the author of A Stargazing Program For Beginners (Springer, 2015),