As Firefox OS Phones Loom, Mozilla Won't Dabble on the Hardware Side
Mozilla has been involved with open source for a very long time now, and as more details emerge about how the company will approach its promising Firefox OS mobile strategy, it's clear that it is applying some lessons learned from the open source game.
In a series of new reports, there are signs that Mozilla will concentrate on development of its mobile operating system and leave it to hardware makers to make Firefox OS phones successful. It's a page taken out of Google's early Android strategy and it could redefine Mozilla's fortunes forever.
From the outset, it was clear that the first Firefox OS phones would be targeted at emerging markets. Mozilla had confirmed that the first five countries where Firefox OS will debut this summer are: Venezuela, Poland, Brazil, Portugal and Spain. Firefox OS won't even hit U.S. shores until 2014.
But now it sounds like Mozilla's partnership with Foxconn, famous for its work with Apple on iPhones and mobile devices, will play a huge part in the early rollout of Firefox OS phones. According to Fierce Wireless, via the Taipei Times:
"Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., better known as Foxconn, will triple the number of workers it is recruiting for its program to develop devices running Mozilla's Firefox OS to up to 3,000, according to a report from the Taipei Times."
"The report, without citing its sources, said the workers will be based at Foxconn's software center in Greater Kaohsiung, Taiwan. When Foxconn and Mozilla announced their plans to collaborate earlier this month, Foxconn said would add between 500 and 1,000 engineers by the end of the year."
There are even reports of a rapid hiring spree at Foxconn. Mozilla has also confirmed that it will not produce its own hardware, and will rely on hardware partners to produce devices. In addition to confirming that, Gong Li, Mozilla Mobile Device senior vice president and Asia Operations president, said to DigiTimes:
"Firefox OS is a new operating system. For vendors, the question of whether to adopt and when to adopt is based on considerations varying from one to another. Some vendors will stick to Android and need not choose Firefox OS for the time being, others want to choose non-Android platforms but may not adopt Firefox OS."
And, indeed, Samsung and HTC are two notable holdouts, each company preferring to stick with Android phones for the time being rather than join forces with Mozilla.
Mozilla has never been a force in the hardware industry, but the company understands open software development. It's clear that as Firefox OS rolls out through the remainder of this year, Mozilla will stick with software.