Mozilla pitches Firefox OS
Mozilla Foundation announced on Sunday it will this year launch its widely anticipated Firefox operating system for smartphones in a direct challenge to the duopoly of Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android. Mozilla, which campaigns for open development of the online world, showed off the first commercial version of the Firefox OS on the eve of the opening of the world’s biggest mobile fair in Barcelona, Spain. Smartphones equipped with Firefox OS look familiar to those on other systems, with an array of apps to be made available on an online store, and a mapping program developed by Nokia. The foundation said it was working with handset manufacturers South Korea’s LG and China’s TCL and ZTE (中興) on Firefox OS-run devices, with China’s Huawei (華為) to follow later in the year.
Nokia unveils new products
Nokia Oyj, the Finnish mobile phone maker attempting a comeback, unveiled two cheaper Lumia smartphones and two basic handsets, broadening its portfolio to challenge Apple Inc’s iPhone and devices using Android. The Lumia 520 is to cost 139 euros (US$184) before wireless-carrier subsidies, Nokia’s cheapest handset using the Windows Phone 8 software from Microsoft Corp. The Lumia 720, which includes wireless charging similar to the flagship 920, will cost 249 euros. Both are set to start shipping this quarter, and will be available from carriers including China Mobile Ltd, and Espoo, Finland-based Nokia said in a statement. The devices will compete with cheaper Android phones from makers such as Huawei Technologies Co (華為) while trying to lure customers who do not want to spend more on an iPhone.
Riggio plans Nook deal
Barnes & Noble Inc’s founder and chairman, Leonard Riggio, has told the bookstore chain he is interested in buying its consumer business and spinning out the unit that makes the Nook tablet, a person familiar with the matter said. Riggio, who still owns about 30 percent of the company’s stock, has told the board of his interest without starting a formal process yet, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private. Riggio has made a preliminary proposal and may make it more official this week, the person said. Riggio’s plan would keep the 689 consumer bookstores, which generated US$996 million in sales during the quarter ended in October last year, the person said. A collegiate unit, which had US$773 million in sales during the quarter, and the Nook-making technology unit with US$160 million in sales would be separated.