Do you remember OS/2 Warp?
Back in 1992, IBM launched the operating system (which had started as a joint venture with Microsoft) because it was conceivable that IBM could in fact build an operating system to take on Windows. Today, the OS wars may be over, but we're seeing history repeat itself on mobile devices.
Today, the first Firefox OS phones went on sale in Spain. The new mobile operating system is brought to you by Mozilla, the makers of the popular open source web browser of the same name.
The virtue of the new OS is that it's low-cost and lightweight, in keeping with Mozilla's open-web philosophy. It's seeing a large amount of interest from carriers who are not comfortable with Google Android's near-total dominance of the low-end market. At just $90 (which can include $40 worth of talk time for prepaid plans), it really competes with feature phones, which still sell extensively at the lower price points.
Firefox OS is also up against a few other players, including Nokia, who also see opportunity in the cheap stuff.
These new mobile OSes mean that the smartphone and mobile site will no longer be channels for high-end products, but will soon be ubiquitous at all market segments. In fact, it's the latest step in the inevitable march toward the total dominance of mobile. Smartphone ownership is becoming increasingly essential for all and part. And when companies like Walmart see mobile apps as a core part of the strategy, any business that's not already thinking mobile had better start. And all that means that the stakes in the mobile OS wars are high. The opportunity is officially everybody.
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