So far, Firefox OS has been limited to ultra-basic smartphones like the ZTE Open. LG is expanding the platform's reach today by releasing its inaugural Mozilla-powered handset, the Fireweb. The 4-inch device is still designed for newcomers between its 480 x 320 display, 1GHz Qualcomm processor and 4GB of expandable storage. However, its 5-megapixel camera is a big improvement over shooters in preceding phones -- this is the first Firefox OS phone with both autofocusing and an LED flash. Appropriately, LG is pricing the Fireweb above its simpler counterparts. Vivo Brazil is selling the Fireweb today for $449 BRL ($207 US) to pay-as-you-go customers, or $129 BRL ($59 US) to regular subscribers. It's now more expensive than LG's cheapest Android device, the $399 BRL ($184) Optimus L3 II. Hop past the break for both a video demo of the Fireweb and details of a Firefox OS market expansion that now includes Brazil, Mexico, Peru and Uruguay.
Update: We've tweaked the post to reflect that the handset has 4GB of storage, not 2GB as previously noted.
Telefónica Vivo launches Firefox OS in Brazil
* Vivo begins sales of LG Fireweb and Alcatel Onetouch Fire Firefox OS smartphones
* Firefox OS allows consumers to have the first smartphone with an open system for developing applications and at a very compelling price point
* Telefónica also will launch Firefox OS in Peru, Uruguay and Mexico
22 October 2013, Rio de Janeiro - Telefônica Vivo today announces the launch of Firefox OS in Brazil with the LG Fireweb and Alcatel Onetouch Fire devices. Already available in Spain, Colombia and Venezuela, the operating system is the result of two years of development of Telefónica Digital together with Mozilla. Besides Brazil, three other Latin American countries will launch devices with Firefox OS in the coming days: Peru, Uruguay and Mexico.
The launch of Firefox OS in Brazil is a milestone for the country's mobile industry, increasing the number of design options for intelligent devices (smartphones) and operating systems at affordable prices, based on open standards. Today's launch also marks the world's first launch of a LG Firefox OS device.
Truly open systems such as Firefox OS free consumers and developers from the limitations of existing ecosystems through the use of the web as an access platform to all features and applications. Its design and construction with open source also allows a constant and rapid evolution of the system through collaborative work with Mozilla.
According to the president of Telefônica Vivo, Antonio Carlos Valente, Firefox OS represents a relevant option to the smartphone market, currently dominated by operating systems controlled by large international companies. "We intend to offer a totally new experience to the customer at affordable prices and where the features and the evolution of the system will be defined by the immense Firefox OS developer community and not for any particular company", says the executive.
Jay Sullivan, COO of Mozilla, states, "We built Firefox OS as part of Mozilla's mission to put the power of the Web in people's hands and offer the best Web experience possible. We're happy to see Firefox OS gain momentum with partners launching new devices in new markets and developers around the world being inspired to innovate. Our partnership with Telefónica Vivo demonstrates the rich, new experiences offered on Firefox OS by combining the best global and local content with LG's elegant new device experience."
The system provides the customer with everything he/she needs for a smart telephone plus a revolutionary search capability that finds applications and internet services related to the research topic, far beyond the pure content located by traditional search engines. Firefox OS brings a simple and intuitive interface, including an expense-control app and integrated social network. The system is also "lighter" than the current ones, which allows it to run on simpler hardware.
The customer can benefit from easy access to local and global applications in Firefox Marketplace. Among the global content companies that support Firefox OS are eBay, Wikipedia, The Weather Channel, TIME, Fox Sports, AOL, CNN Money, Huffington Post, Badoo, Kayak, TMZ, SoundCloud and Tuenti.
In Brazil, the Firefox Marketplace already has more than 50 national apps from different categories developed for the platform. Among the national apps are UOL, Itau, Climatempo, IG, OLX, Decolar, Guias Mais, BOL, SporTV, Dieta e Saúde, Editora Globo, Galinha Pintadinha, Kekanto, Vivo my App and Vivo Chat. This is a result of the work done by the Innovation Center of Telefônica for a year-and-a-half in order to encourage the development of the Firefox OS ecosystem in the country. Throughout this period, the Center held hackathons, attended lectures and seminars on Firefox OS and promoted events with a community of over 1400 developers.
The two cellphone models are already on sale and offer all the capabilities of a smartphone, including messaging, email, calendar, FM radio, camera with built-in filters, location services based on HERE maps and browsing through the Firefox Web browser.
LG Fireweb has a HVGA TFT touch screen of 4 inches and has a 3G Qualcomm processor with 1GHz and 2 GB memory. It also has a 5 megapixel camera.
Alcatel Onetouch Fire has a 3.5 inch display, 3.2 megapixel camera, 3G Qualcomm processor with 1GHz and 2 GB memory card.
Considering its features and price, Firefox OS offers a great value package for customers looking for their first smartphone.