Mozilla, Telefonica target Brazil for Boot to Gecko smartphone launch

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Mozilla will release the first smartphones running its web-based Boot to Gecko mobile operating system to Telefónica subscribers in Brazil, Mozilla CEO Gary Kovacs announced Thursday.

Mozilla and Telefónica plan to begin selling Boot to Gecko devices by year-end or early in 2013. Kovacs did not specify who will manufacture the smartphones, but Pablo Larrieux, chief innovation officer of Vivo (formerly Telefónica Brasil), said the devices will be sold unlocked and priced in the same range as feature phones.

Vivo is the second largest telecommunications company in Brazil, serving 90 million subscribers nationwide. Brazil also represents Telefónica's largest market globally. As of August 2011, smartphones represented just 9 percent of the total Brazilian mobile phone market according to data issued by Grupo.Mobi.

Telefónica is the first operator to officially pledge support for Boot to Gecko. Mozilla and Telefónica will jointly launch the Open Web Devices platform, which promises a new phone architecture that relies entirely on the web to enable HTML5 applications with complete access to core device APIs. The firms state that all device capabilities including calling, messaging, browsing and gaming can be developed as HTML5 applications and executed via experiences based on Mozilla's Firefox browser.

Mozilla first announced Boot to Gecko last year. The organization is now accepting developer submissions for its Mozilla Marketplace app storefront, targeting a consumer launch sometime later this year. Mozilla Marketplace enables developers to create and distribute cross-platform applications optimized for any HTML5-enabled device, regardless of operating system.

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