Yes, Mozilla is prepping a Firefox smartphone

Mozilla claims industry support “is growing” for its plans to launch a lineup of HTML5-centric Firefox smartphones.

The operating system is expected to power the launch of handsets built entirely to open Web standards – where all of the device’s capabilities can be developed as HTML5 applications.

“The introduction of the open mobile OS continues the Mozilla mission to promote openness, innovation and opportunity on the Web for users and developers. As billions of users are expected to come online for the first time in the coming years, it is important to deliver a compelling smartphone experience that anyone can use,” explained Mozilla CEO Gary Kovacs. 

“The large number of operators and manufacturers now supporting this effort will bring additional resources and diversity to our global offerings.”

Indeed, a number of industry heavyweights have already expressed support for a Firefox smartphone, including Sprint, TCL Communication Technology (under the Alcatel One Touch brand) and ZTE. 

The first Firefox smartphones – powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon processors – are slated to launch commercially in Brazil in early 2013 through Telefónica’s commercial brand, Vivo.

Essentially, the Firefox OS for mobile devices is built on the “Boot to Gecko project,” an initiative focused on promoting HTML5 as an open mobile ecosystem that allows apps to easily access the underlying capabilities of a phone. 

Due to optimization of the platform for entry-level smartphones and the stripping of middleware layers, mobile operators will likely be able to offer a wide range of experiences at a variety of relatively reasonable price points.