ZTE Corp (中興通訊) is working with a European wireless carrier to introduce a smartphone built on software from Mozilla Corp this year, said Cheng Lixin (程立新), chief executive officer of ZTE’s US unit.
China’s second-biggest maker of phone equipment may also offer a device based on Mozilla’s Firefox mobile operating system in the US this year, Cheng said in an interview at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. Mozilla is better known for its Firefox Web browser.
ZTE is seeking partnerships to offer devices with the new operating system to reduce its reliance on Google Inc’s Android system, which dominates the smartphone market with a 75 percent share of shipments, IDC said.
ZTE is expanding in mobile devices and cloud computing, where sales growth is faster than its traditional equipment business.
“We closely monitor the ecosystem and how it evolves,” Cheng said. “If that is ready and if consumer studies support that data, then we may launch one in US also this year.”
Deutsche Telekom AG, Sprint Nextel Corp and Telefonica SA have been developing an open mobile operating system powered by Mozilla to build a range of cheaper smartphones and take on Android.
Mozilla products vice president Jay Sullivan said the company is working with mobile chipmaker Qualcomm Inc, TCL Communication Technology Holdings Ltd and ZTE on devices.
Samsung Electronics Co, the largest seller of mobile phones, is also planning to start selling phones with a new, rival operating system, called Tizen, to reduce its reliance on Android.
Mozilla and ZTE could capture 1 percent of the mobile market this year, according to a recent Strategy Analytics report.