Rumor Mill: Mozilla, Foxconn team to expand Firefox OS to tablets


Mozilla and Taiwanese electronics manufacturing giant Foxconn Technology Group will hold a joint press event in Taipei on June 3 to launch a new product running the open-source software development initiative's fledgling Firefox OS.

An industry insider told Focus Taiwan the two firms will unveil the first Firefox-based tablet. No concrete details of the product are known, but CNet notes other recent rumors of a Firefox tablet, lending further credence to the report. Neither Mozilla nor Foxconn responded to requests for comment.

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.

Late last month, Mozilla and OEM partner Geeksphone released the first Firefox developer preview phones. 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.

The Wall Street Journal reports 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," said one Foxconn executive.

For more:
- read this Focus Taiwan article
- read this CNet article
- read this Wall Street Journal article (sub. req.)

Related articles:
Mozilla's first Firefox OS developer preview phones sell out hours after launch
Mozilla unveils first Firefox OS developer preview phones
Mozilla's Firefox OS launches remain on track
Mozilla CEO Kovacs to step down; Gong appointed SVP of mobile devices
Mozilla's Firefox OS unlikely to reach the U.S. market until 2014