More chip vendors are expected to get into the Firefox OS fray.
Kundojjala said the Firefox OS is built on HTML 5 and likely to have minimum hardware specs such as a single-core apps processor and 256 MB of RAM. Firefox OS code shares many commonalities with the Firefox web browser code. "The Firefox web browser is already supported on Android by various chipset companies, so I wouldn't see any barrier in supporting Firefox from a chipset point of view."
Firefox "is focusing on low-end, so it would suit chipset companies that have cost-effective, highly integrated chips," he said. "Companies such as Spreadtrum, Qualcomm, and MediaTek are well positioned to address this kind of price points."
So far, Spreadtrum and Mozilla have completed the integration of Firefox OS with Spreadtrum's SC6821 and SC7710 WCDMA smartphone chipsets. Next month, they expect to complete a turnkey reference design for the SC7715, Spreadtrum's single-core WCDMA smartphone chipset with integrated connectivity. Jovin said her company's collaboration with Mozilla will extend across Spreadtrum's full chipset portfolio.
Not everyone believes the Firefox OS plunge into the smartphone market will be easy.
"Firefox OS needs to identify a sweet spot where it clearly offers an experience at a price point that Android can't address," Geoff Blaber, vice president of research for the Americas at CCS Insight, told us. Android's price erosion and an improving low-end experience have made it difficult for Firefox OS. "It's difficult to see those dynamics fundamentally changing."
Blaber sees another big challenge for Firefox OS: "whether operators actually need another platform, given the diversity of the Android ecosystem." However, the partnership with Spreadtrum is "an important move." It provides an opportunity to build momentum through open channels in emerging markets. "If Firefox OS is to grow, then open distribution is likely to be a major catalyst."
— Junko Yoshida, Chief International Correspondent, EE Times