Telefonica and Mozilla Unveil Device Platform Alliance

Tagged Open Web Devices, the intention is to create a phone architecture that relies entirely on web technology, with all of the device capabilities including calling, messaging, browsing and games developed using HTML5 and executed via the Firefox web browser.

The partners are also planning to evolve the HTML5 standard to add new interfaces which will enable them to access the full range of device features, with the intention of standardising this through W3C.

Carlos Domingo, Director of Product Development & Innovation at Telefonica Digital, told Mobile World Daily that while it has talked to other operators about the effort, and it has been “well received,” the intention to date has been driving the platform forward to a more advanced stage.

“We didn’t want to move with an operator consortium as a starting point, because the whole point of how we have managed to do this really powerfully in such a short time has by being implementation-driven,” he said.

It was reported last week that Deutsche Telekom is working with Mozilla on the related Boot to Gecko project, with an announcement likely this week.

A prototype device using technology from Mozilla, Telefonica and third partner Qualcomm is set to be demonstrated today. While price points have not been disclosed, Domingo said that “it’s way cheaper than what is out there – but the performance is really good.”

By reducing the costs associated with the device, it will possible to target the mass-market feature phone segment, which is currently underserved by smartphone platforms.

While it is early days for the platform in terms of commercial launches, Domingo said that “we are hoping to have something in 2012.”

Telefonica’s research and development team started work on an OWD concept at the start of 2011, developing a prototype for negotiations with potential partners.

When Mozilla announced its Boot to Gecko project to create an open web platform based on its Firefox browser, the companies embarked on a collaboration that led to today’s announcement – Domingo said there was a “wow” moment when it became clear the companies were working to the same end.

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