I recently wrote an article about Firefox OS. It is one of the newer breed of OSes. While almost every company has launched new OS (Microsoft’s WP8 and BB OS10 included), Firefox OS belongs to a unique breed in the sense that it is made by a company with no prior OS experience, let alone experience in the mobile space. Its browser Firefox itself is not the best browser in the mobile space. I also mentioned that most of its revenue comes from its main competitor Google.
In such a situation, it seems surprising that Mozilla is getting the kind of support that it is getting. Almost all the two and three tier companies like what they are seeing. The three main companies that are not interested (Nokia, Apple and Samsung) have almost zero incentive hence it is a good achievement for an OS that will see daylight in no time soon.
What particularly interests me is the recent addition of Sony. While it is not a big deal in itself, the surprise to me is the almost immediate launch of an experimental ROM for its Xperia E. The ROM is currently without radio features meaning one cannot call from it and the touch is not properly calibrated but still this is fast, incredibly fast. More importantly, it shows commitment.
Sony is serious about Mozilla’s Firefox OS. On first sight it seems a bit shocking that with Android working so well in itself Sony might want to wander around. A little deeper look shows that Android is benefitting Samsung the most as I have mentioned earlier. This has made other partners a bit uneasy.
The specs of Xperia E shed even more light on the choice of OS. With 1GHz processor and 512MB RAM, this phone is strictly middle class. Sony mentioned earlier that it only wants to create good user experience. For Android, this would become increasingly difficult to do in the lower segment for Sony. Firefox OS on the other hand is made ground up for such phones.
My theory would be that Sony would do something like Samsung and create a premium Xperia brand for its Android phones and a new brand for its Firefox OS phones that will fight the lower end phones. The user experience won’t be compromised and Sony will not have to optimize Android for low end phones. Countries like India, China and Brazil will and should be a huge potential market for Sony Firefox.
What are your views on the matter? Is Sony betting on the right new kid on the block? Is Ubuntu Touch a better choice?