Firefox OS has been on the horizon for a while now, and Mobile World Congress in Barcelona saw the first device partnerships announced for the fledgling mobile operating system. Though not showing any hardware in Barcelona, a press release was issued detailing Sony's plans to release a Firefox OS powered smartphone in 2014 in partnership with Telefonica. 

What we have here isn't quite a Sony Firefox phone, not by any stretch of the imagination. But, what it is, is a working experimental build of Firefox OS for the Xperia E. In line with their plans to develop devices carrying the software, Sony hopes that interested developers and early adopters will take a look and garner valuable feedback. 

The key thing to remember is that Sony has released this as an experimental developer ROM. It isn't meant to be a daily driver, although from the promo video we see here it looks reasonably functional, with even the camera app working properly. 

We know some of you kids like playing around with new stuff -- our own editor-in-chief Phil Nickinson played with an early, early build of Firefox OS -- so if you happen to have access to an Xperia E and try this out, be sure to share your experiences with us. 

Source: Sony Developer World


Reader comments

Sony releases experimental Firefox OS ROM for Xperia E


I admit I haven't read anything about this Firefox OS, is it some kind of Android based rom then? I don't see how Mozilla would have the ability to deliver the level of content expected on a modern mobile ecosystem.

Firefox OS has nothing to do with Android though both are Linux-based. About the ability to deliver content to modern mobile ecosystem, Mozilla have their established brand power and many carriers already pledged their support for this OS. What they would need now is developer support (carriers support might get developers interested).

Firefox is intended to replace dumb/featurephones, not high end smartphones. The carriers will decide if they want FF OS to survive and they may support it long term since the hardware is much cheaper. Carriers subsidize a couple hundred per Android/iOS phone, they may not have to subsidize much for FF phone.

It's also an interesting approach that may work. Many smartphone apps don't need to be full blown, like a CNN or NY Times app. They just need to bundle an HTML5 package that can be stored locally, much smaller footprint. Many HTML5 'apps' could also work offline. Check out web based version of Command and Conquer to see what can be done with HTML5.

This isn't for me (or established smartphone users) but it has a shot with low end users who might only load a few smartphone apps (I know many who only have a few). FF could always add a skin app to iOS/Android to allow 'upgrading' to a full smartphone.

Would bet Google will be funding FF OS development within a year as long as they include Google services by default.