January 17, 2013, 3:14 PM — Smartphones running Mozilla Firefox and Jolla Sailfish will launch separately in 2013 amid a crowded smartphone market.
Their impact will be small but important initially, as the smartphone community seeks alternatives to the frontrunner mobile operating systems, Apple's iOS and Android, analysts said.
Smartphone maker ZTE last week said it will work with a European wireless carrier to introduce a smartphone based on Mozilla's Firefox mobile OS. ZTE might also offer a device on the same OS in the U.S., ZTE's U.S. unit CEO Cheng Lixen told the Bloomberg news service.
Jolla means "dinghy" in Finnish, and the company is made up of former Nokia employees who had worked on the MeeGo OS before Nokia dumped MeeGo in favor of Windows Phone in February 2011.
Some early reviewers have compared the Sailfish interface to the live tiles in Windows Phone 8, since users can interact with icons directly on the home screen. Jolla has posted a glimpse of the interface on YouTube.
Engadget also posted an eight-minute video demo by a Jolla developer of Sailfish on a prototype device.
The Firefox OS smartphone
Mozilla workers also showed a "mystery" Firefox OS smartphone device before the International CES trade show, but visitors could not run it well over the show's Wi-Fi network. The device was not branded by any particular manufacturer.
Mozilla has said Firefox will be powered by HTML5, and that it will be manufactured by Hong Kong's TCL Communication Technology, under its Alcatel One Touch nameplate, as well as ZTE. The phone will first appear in South America later this year, according to Mozilla representatives at CES.