Feb.27 - Mozilla, makers of the popular Firefox internet browser, is preparing to challenge Google and Apple's grip on smartphone software. It's unveiling its operating system for mobile devices at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Ciara Sutton reports
It's not just the battle of the handsets causing a buzz at this years Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Mozilla - makers of the Firefox internet browser, is challenging Google and Apple's grip on smartphone software. A new Firefox operating system for mobile devices is to be released in the summer, after winning the backing of 13 wireless service providers. Spain's Telefonica is one of them. The company's devices director Carlos Fernandez Casares says the deal will make products more accessible. (SOUNDBITE) (English) TELEFONICA DEVICES DIRECTOR, CARLOS FERNANDEZ CASARES, SAYING: "We are not targeting advanced consumers. We are targeting people that want to have a smartphone, want to have a full internet experience, but don't have the money to buy an expensive device." Apple and Google's Android power the majority of mobile devices around the world. But Mozilla insists there's room for a software developer-friendly mobile platform. Christopher Lee is the company's product lead manager. (SOUNDBITE) (English) MOZILLA PRODUCT LEAD MANAGER, CHRISTOPHER LEE, SAYING: "We're initially starting with emerging markets and building an experience for those types of users. And then over time we want to build features and capabilities that allow us to go into the higher end devices." Firefox OS is open-source and Web-based, making it easier for third-parties to make and sell mobile applications - without needing to share revenue with Apple or Google. Among the brands signed up to make devices based on Firefox OS are South Korea's LG and China's Huawei. But whether a smartphone built on Web standards can deliver the performance that consumers demand remains to be seen. Facebook famously stopped using HTML5 - which Firefox OS uses - to develop its iPhone app last year. Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg called the endeavour one of the company's "biggest mistakes".