Foxconn hiring 3,000 to support development of Firefox OS devices
Taiwanese electronics manufacturing giant Foxconn Technology Group plans to hire as many as 3,000 workers to support development of devices running Mozilla's fledgling Firefox OS. Foxconn "will do its best to develop the Kaohsiung [Taiwan] software center as the company's software powerhouse," the firm said in a statement. "There will be no budget limit for fostering software talent."
Foxconn intends to create more than five Firefox OS-based smartphones and tablets by the end of this year. Foxconn--best known in the U.S. for building Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone and iPad--is making aggressive moves to expand its business beyond contract manufacturing, adding new clients while mulling investments in media content and software as well as plans to sell its own brand of accessories. "As our production capacity has grown to such a large scale and existing major-brand customers offer limited order growth, we need to actively expand our client base to help increase our manufacturing volume," one Foxconn executive told The Wall Street Journal last month.
Firefox OS (formerly Boot to Gecko) promises a new phone architecture that relies entirely on the Web to enable HTML5 applications with complete access to core device APIs. According to Mozilla, developers can create Firefox OS apps from existing websites by adding an app manifest--a JSON file that describes the app, including its name, its icons and a human-readable description.
Firefox smartphones will be priced in the same range as feature phones. Telefónica is scheduled to sell Firefox-powered devices in Brazil through its Vivo unit; Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S), Deutsche Telekom, Etisalat, Smart, Telecom Italia and Telenor also have announced their support for the Mozilla platform.
Mozilla and OEM partner Geeksphone released the first Firefox developer preview phones in late April. The Keon, priced at $119, boasts a 1GHz Snapdragon S1 processor, 4 GB ROM, 512 MB RAM, a 3.5-inch HVGA display, 3-megapixel camera, MicroSD storage and support for 2G and 3G networks. The more powerful Peak, offered at $194, includes a dual-core 1.2GHz Snapdragon S4 processor, 4.3-inch qHD IPS display, 8-megapixel rear-facing camera (2-megapixel front), 4 GB ROM and 512 MB RAM.
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