Light Reading
Open source device operating system specialists are desperately courting the mobile industry

Firefox vs Ubuntu: Pick Me!

Light Reading
LR Mobile News Analysis
Light Reading
7/1/2013
50%
50%

SHANGHAI -- Mobile Asia Expo -- With their booths just 20 meters apart in the cavernous Shanghai New International Exhibition Center at Mobile Asia Expo, it wasn't hard to see that open source champions Mozilla and Ubuntu share similar ambitions.

Both are working on a low-cost mobile handset operating system (OS) aimed at helping carriers and vendors break the duopoly of the big two platforms, Apple Inc.'s iOS and Google's Android. (See 5 Challengers to Apple & Android.)

Right now, Mozilla has a clear lead with its Firefox OS. The first devices hit the streets on July 2, when Telefónica SA offers a ZTE Corp. device (the ZTE Open) for €69 (US$90) to its customers in Spain. Firefox also enjoys the backing of heavyweights such as Deutsche Telekom AG and Qualcomm Inc.

"Operators want more choice for their users besides Android and iOS," says Dan Horner, product manager for Firefox OS. "In the future we will take this to higher spec handsets, but at the beginning we're very much looking to feature phone users in emerging markets."

The initial phones, from ZTE and TCL Communication (Alcatel One Touch), will hit the stores in Latin America and Eastern Europe in the coming weeks.

One major attraction of the devices is that Web content is immediately accessible. Users don't have to download and store dedicated apps and that's important for bandwidth-constrained markets. Firefox also allows operators to offer their own custom apps, such as the mobile data meter, built by Telefónica (another feature appreciated by emerging market customers).

With a massive developer community about 8 million strong, Firefox has attracted an impressive slate of supporters that includes Telefónica, Singapore Telecommunications Ltd. (SingTel) and Telenor ASA -- all of which have numerous emerging market operations -- along with handset vendors LG Electronics Inc. and Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. and contract manufacturer king Foxconn Electronics Inc., which plans to hire up to 3,000 people to make Firefox OS devices.

Ubuntu has a similar pitch. "Operators are interested in new OSs that allow them to differentiate their services compared with what they get from iOS and Android," says Richard Collins, Ubuntu Mobile product manager. "OEMs are looking for things that are cost-effective to manufacture."

The one difference is that Ubuntu is not confining itself to entry-level consumers in emerging markets. It sees mid-tier users in all markets as potential customers. It also puts greater stress on the ability of handset players and operators to customize the user interface.

But these are early days. The first full software release won't be available until October and handsets won't arrive until 2014.

Ubuntu doesn't have Firefox's A-list of backers, either. Collins says handset manufacturers need to feel there is interest from mobile operators before they commit.

But it has just announced a Carrier Advisory Group that includes operators such as Deutsche Telekom, Telefónica, KT Corp. and LG, all of which are Firefox supporters. (See Ubuntu Creates Carrier Advisory Group.)

And like Firefox, it has interest from the apps developer community: A recent poll by Appcelerator found that 25 percent of developers were "very interested" in Mozilla and 19 percent in Ubuntu, ahead of other alternative OSs such as Tizen, Kindle Fire and BlackBerry 10.

The operators are hedging, but they're clearly desperate for an OS alternative.

-- Robert Clark, contributing editor, special to Light Reading

(4)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
greg S
50%
50%
greg S,
User Rank: Light Beer
7/2/2013 | 3:54:46 PM
re: Firefox vs Ubuntu: Pick Me!
Actually could someone explain the point of this whole HTML plan Firefox has I don't quite understand. I believe they are trying to position that it is an advantage because HTML is the future or something sappy but all phones can run HTML 5 applications + a bunch of other nerdy stuff that no doubt have their own circumstantial advantages.
bibliotastic
50%
50%
bibliotastic,
User Rank: Light Beer
7/2/2013 | 9:01:03 AM
re: Firefox vs Ubuntu: Pick Me!
Firefox "developer community about 8 million strong" - this is a bit misleading. There might be 8m web developers but they would not all be capable of building an HTML phone app. And calling describing them as a Firefox developer community is poetic licence.
Indian_Art
50%
50%
Indian_Art,
User Rank: Lightning
7/2/2013 | 7:50:15 AM
re: Firefox vs Ubuntu: Pick Me!
Its a good thing Ubuntu OS & Firefox are coming to mobiles. They have very fresh & innovative ideas.
greg S
50%
50%
greg S,
User Rank: Light Beer
7/1/2013 | 4:37:58 PM
re: Firefox vs Ubuntu: Pick Me!
19 compared to the 25 is actually quite an accomplishment for ubuntu when you contrast its popularity vs Firefox
Flash Poll
From The Founder
It's clear to me that the communications industry is divided into two types of people, and only one is living in the real world.
LRTV Custom TV
Using Service Quality to Drive WiFi Monetization

10|22|14   |   6:51   |   (0) comments


Live from the SCTE conference: Heavy Reading's Alan Breznick explores the forces shaping the WiFi opportunity in an interview with CableLabs' Justin Colwell and Amdocs' Ken Roulier.
LRTV Custom TV
Distributed Access Architectures – 2

10|21|14   |   8:51:00 AM   |   (0) comments


ARRIS CTO Network Solutions Tom Cloonan discusses why many if not most MSOs will continue with integrated CCAP, while addressing why some are also looking at two futuristic, distributed access architectures: Remote PHY and Remote CCAP.
LRTV Custom TV
Distributed Access Architectures – 1

10|21|14   |   9:01   |   (0) comments


SCTE Sr. Director of Engineering Dean Stoneback discusses the pros and cons of distributed access architecture (DAA) and its various forms, which range from basic Remote PHY to full CMTS functionality in the node.
LRTV Custom TV
The WiFi Road to Riches – 2

10|21|14   |   3:58   |   (0) comments


ARRIS Senior Solution Architect Eli Baruch talks about how MSOs can enable public and community WiFi through 1) outdoor access points, 2) businesses seeking to offer WiFi to customers, and 3) residential WiFi gateway extensions.
LRTV Custom TV
The WiFi Road to Riches – 1

10|21|14   |   10:15   |   (0) comments


SCTE Director of Advanced Technologies Steve Harris discusses WiFi deployments, drivers, challenges and advances, including 802.11ac, carrier-grade WiFi, community WiFi, Hotspot 2.0, Passpoint, WiFi-First and voice-over-WiFi.
LRTV Custom TV
Advantech Accelerates 100G Traffic Handling

10|17|14   |   7:56   |   (0) comments


Paul Stevens from Advantech explains why handling 100GbE needs a whole new platform design approach and how Advantech is addressing the needs of equipment providers and carriers to give them the flexibility and performance they will need for SDN and NFV deployment.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Holland's Imtech Traffic & Infra Discusses Huawei's ICT Solution and Services

10|16|14   |   4:49   |   (0) comments


Dimitry Theebe is from the business unit at Imtech Traffic & Infra which delivers communications solutions for transportations. His partnershp with Huawei began about a years ago. In this video, Theebe speaks more about this partnership and what he hopes to accomplish with Huawei.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Comprehensive Storage Solutions Vital for SVR

10|16|14   |   6:16   |   (0) comments


SVR Information Technology provides cloud services for academic and special sectors. With Huawei's support, SVR and Yildiz Technical University has established Turkey's largest and most advanced High Performance Computing system. CSO Ismail Cem Aslan talks about what he hopes Huawei's OceanStor storage system will bring for him.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Mexico's Servitron's Impression of Huawei at CCW 2014

10|16|14   |   6:35   |   (0) comments


Servitron is a network operator in Mexico that has been in the trunking industry for the past 20 years. Its COO, Ing. Ragnar Trillo O., explains at Critical Communications World 2014 that his company has been interested in the long-term evolution of LTE technology and its adoption for TETRA.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Building a Better Dubai

10|16|14   |   2:06   |   (0) comments


Abdulla Ahmed Al Falasi is the director of commercial affairs, a telecommunications coordinator for the government of Dubai. Their areas of service span across multiple industries, including police, safety, shopping malls and more. In this video, Abdulla talks about his department's work with Huawei.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Lights Up Malaysia Partner Maju Nusa

10|16|14   |   1:59   |   (0) comments


Malaysia's Maju Nusa is an enterprise partner to Huawei in networking, route switches and telco equipment. At this year's Critical Communications World in Singapore, CTO Pushpender Singh talks about what Huawei's eLTE solutions mean to his company and for Malaysia.
LRTV Custom TV
Evolving From HFC to FTTH Networks

10|15|14   |   2:19   |   (0) comments


Cisco's Todd McCrum delves into the future of cable's HFC plant, examining how DOCSIS 3.1 and advanced video compression will extend its life and how the IP video transition will usher in GPON and EPON over FTTH.
Upcoming Live Events
October 29, 2014, New York City
November 6, 2014, Santa Clara
November 11, 2014, Atlanta, GA
December 2, 2014, New York City
December 3, 2014, New York City
December 9-10, 2014, Reykjavik, Iceland
February 10, 2015, Atlanta, GA
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
Infographics
WhoIsHostingThis.com presents six of the world's most extreme WiFi hotspots, enabling the most epic selfies you can imagine.
Hot Topics
Analysts Warn of Major NFV Gaps
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 10/22/2014
Is Health the Killer App for the IoT?
Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Gigabit Cities/IoT, 10/22/2014
Drones Hover Over the IoT Sector
Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Gigabit Cities/IoT, 10/23/2014
The Human Gain of the Smart Home
Robin Mersh, 10/20/2014
Zayo Zooms Out of the IPO Gate
Dan O'Shea, Managing Editor, 10/17/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed