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LG Reportedly Working On a Firefox OS Phone 64

Posted by samzenpus
from the getting-in-on-the-action dept.
SmartAboutThings writes "It seems that LG is going to join Alcatel, GeeksPhone and ZTE in the Firefox OS market. During an interview with Bulgarian online outlet Dnevnik.bg (in Bulgarian), LG's mobile communications head in Bulgaria spilled the beans on company's plans for the future. While he tried to refer only to plans that regard Bulgaria, it's obvious that he also spoke about LG's global strategy. Mister Valev said that LG is also looking to come up with a new Android tablet, phablet and even a smartwatch. Valev said LG is already working on a Firefox OS that could possibly be released in the first quarter of 2014."
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LG Reportedly Working On a Firefox OS Phone

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    why waste the money on webOS?

    • by PCM2 (4486)

      why waste the money on webOS?

      Pretty good question. My understanding is they bought it for their Smart TVs.

      This is actually a pretty good idea. I have one of their Smart TVs, and the UI is ugly, inconsistent, and a little buggy. LG might be a decent hardware company, but they lack Apple's knack for building decent UIs. It makes sense to me for them to pay for an OS where somebody has already done a lot of the thinking about how things ought to work.

      As for why they can't use it for smartphones, too, I think t

      • Or, maybe they realised they made a mistake [theverge.com] after the purchase.

        LG seems extremely hesitant, and even confused about its future plans for the OS. Asked how webOS could be used to create "disruptive" smart TV products absent any of the content deals that have thus far stunted TV innovation, LG CTO Dr. Skott Ahn simply said that he believes "the environment will change from an app environment to a web environment." Further asked to name the core benefit of the webOS platform for smart TVs, Dr. Ahn simply remai

      • by Molochi (555357)

        WebOS was pretty elegant adaptation of Linux for mobile devices. It was very good mobile OS. But there wasn't anything about it that distinguished it from the highest end Android or iOS devices it was competing against, except a lack of apps.

        This is the same problem Microsoft has ran into with Surface RT,

        Even Ubuntu, who are marketing a super sexy limited edition phone (that runs a full desktop OS as well as Android) can't scrounge up 50000 semi affluent geeks.

    • by Molochi (555357)

      LG? They're making a phone for Mozilla. Rebranding their assembly of chips and plastic makes them money.

       

      • by hairyfeet (841228)

        Here is what I personally don't get...why is there all these cheers about MozOS? What problem EXACTLY does it solve, well other than giving phone carriers the ability to have their own locked down appstores which is the gist i got from their original announcement.

        I don't know, maybe I'm missing something here, but android is already FOSS, hell you can take most phones and install your own image from Cyanogenmod or AreaRomQ or wherever there is one that works on your particular hardware (a problem MozPhone w

        • by unixisc (2429386)
          But wouldn't the phone vendors, since we're not talking carriers here, have to write the drivers anyway, or get them from wherever they source them from? How are drivers an issue w/ any OS, be it Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone 8, Plasma Active, Firefox OS, Replicant or whatever? Do Carriers ever swap or support multiple OSs? They just endorse whatever the phone maker came up w/ for that particular phone
          • by hairyfeet (841228)

            Actually as I understand it just like on X86 the phone vendors write the drivers for whatever OS they intend to support and that is that. They also can NOT be made FOSS in most cases because the chips used in mobile are some of the most cross licensed and proprietary chips ever made, especially anything to do with video as texture compression on up is patented up the ying yang.

            As for how its an issue unlike X86 where other than graphics most of the chips are highly standardized and constantly reused, for ex

            • by unixisc (2429386)
              I think that that's why they'd initially be targeting niche markets, where the Android, iOS, BB or Lumia brands have either not caught on, or have the public perception of being too expensive (particularly if one conflates Android w/ Samsung Galaxy). Which is why the story above talks about Bulgaria. Similarly, if such a phone, or a Ubuntu phone, or a Replicant, or a Plasma Active phone were to sell at all, it would best be in markets pretty much in the dark when it comes to branding. Places like Russia,
              • by hairyfeet (841228)

                Dude android is to cellphones what Windows was to X86, they have every price point covered and what's more the public knows this. Hell I paid a grand total of $20 for my Android slider prepaid by grabbing it and a card during a promotion and the number of Android phones in the $50-$150 range is simply staggering.

                So I'm sorry but price alone simply won't sell the MozPhone, in fact India and Africa are coming out with sub $50 android phones so once those take off you can give it up,price alone just won't cu

        • by pspahn (1175617)

          Funny, the same thing was being said (and still is to an extent) about switching to Firefox from IE. "Why should I switch? Why should I care?"

          Then, all of a sudden, Firefox was popular and had a solid market share. Maybe they're betting on the fact that Android will start to lose steam because of some the inherent (and possibly unforeseen) flaws. When the time is right, they charge forward with a "better alternative".

          • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968.gmail@com> on Thursday August 22, 2013 @07:12AM (#44640853) Journal

            Sorry but your analogy? Giant FAIL, massive on the level of fail in fact. You see IE had SEVERAL problems, major problems that Mozilla solved. 1.- IE had been abandoned by MSFT once they had "won" the browser war so it was becoming more and more creaky and crashprone, 2.- ActiveX left a hole you could drive a truck through with the OS, 3.- Bug and security fixes were practically non-existent because the team had been broken up, thus making it more and more risky.

            Compare this to MozPhone, which even though there is a LOT of people advocating it here when I said simply "sell me on this phone" NOBODY could do it, not a single person could come up with a single reason why i should give up my Android for this phone.

            • by pspahn (1175617)

              ...not a single person could come up with a single reason why i should give up my Android for this phone.

              I guess you just glossed over and completely missed my point.

              Nobody is giving you a reason right now for the same reason nobody could give an IE user a reason to switch to Firefox way back in 2004 (at least a reason they would care about). Then waddya know, all of a sudden the DOD recommends it. Well, that's a pretty good reason... IE must be neglecting some key aspects that people didn't even think about previously.

              So, if you look back several years from now, you just might find that the same happens wi

              • by hairyfeet (841228)

                And maybe YOU complete ignored my entire post which pointed out there were SEVERAL reasons for Joe User to switch away from IE, problems that affected him every day like crashes, pop ups, and general poor performance. Yet again you give nothing but anecdotes and when i ask a simple question, "sell me on this phone" YOU CAN'T DO IT...why? Because there is NO compelling reason for me to choose this phone, same goes for UbuntuPhone or WebOSPhone or any other niche phone because there is ZERO selling points ove

        • by Molochi (555357)

          I made a kinda sarcastic remark about this earlier, but what I see is the MozPhone is based on a modern browser that can run programs. So no need for Flash or Java or any of that BS and we can go to webapps that don't care if they're running on a specific phone os/hardware or intel or whatever.

          But of course that doesn't mean shit for the life of this phone, 'cause there's no rush to rewrite everything for HTML5. That would kill the App Market which, so far, has been much more profitable than begging on t

        • I don't know, maybe I'm missing something here, but android is already FOSS, hell you can take most phones and install your own image from Cyanogenmod or AreaRomQ or wherever there is one that works on your particular hardware (a problem MozPhone won't solve as it all comes down to the drivers) and pretty much do what you want with it, oh and its free as in beer as well, so what EXACTLY is the advantage for the user to get a MozPhone over an Android or an iPhone?

          What about not needing to mod the phone in the first place to get freedom?, or updates which you quickly won't get anyway.
          Also the Google app store is totally not FOSS, and gmail is not by any stretch of the imagination. What I've seen is it's full of spyware applications anyway.
          What people get into with the security model is horrifying, they get like a couple of years of updates or less and slow at that, amirite?, if they want security they need to be tied into the 2-year contracts for renewal or buy phone

          • by hairyfeet (841228)

            You mean a whole pushing 2 buttons and rebooting, which nearly every site shows you how to do complete with pictures? Not really a selling point there bud, and from the looks of it Moz is going for the "its all in the cloud!" fail which considering how much of a resource hog HTML V5 is is really a fricking BAD idea with a capital B, which is why Google doesn't use ChromeOS on their phones.

            And I don't see anything you listed that can't be done on Android by going to Cyanogenmod or AreaRomQ or any of a dozen

            • You're right and it's weird I find myself defending javascript, which is horrible. It's a bit like buying a computer in the 80s to only run BASIC. Maybe I'd learn and write some stuff in Coffeescript.
              It's not "all in cloud", you have off-line apps I think and the phones have SD storage (which on some phones is a "confusing" feature apparently, so it's left out)
              Mind you I'm anally retentive and tin foil hat wearer and lazy, I don't use facebook and android mini-games that you download randomly like Windows s

    • by unixisc (2429386)
      Why can't they have different models with different OSs - one line of phones w/ WebOS, another w/ Firefox OS, another w/ who knows, maybe Plasma Active? Actually, isn't WebOS more of a tablet OS than a phone OS? If so, LG can use Firefox OS on phones and WebOS on tablets
  • What exactly is Firefox OS doing better than what is already available with iOS/Android/Windows Phone/BlackBerry/etc.?

    Even from a geek's perspective I really see nothing better about Firefox OS than the OSes available today.
    • Re:Why? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by gQuigs (913879) on Wednesday August 21, 2013 @11:28PM (#44639271) Homepage

      * You don't have to install apps to use them.
      * If they can pull off the update schedule (which they need to) it's going to be much better than Android for updates: https://blog.mozilla.org/futurereleases/2013/07/19/mozillas-heartbeat-quarterly-firefox-os-releases/ [mozilla.org]
      * We need at least one more Open phone option

      • Re:Why? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Stoutlimb (143245) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @01:56AM (#44639931)

        Updating the phone is the weak spot of Android. However, I'm not sure what the benefit of not needing to install apps to use them have, other than perhaps cause confusion to end users about what app they are even using at any given moment. Unless done well, this has the potential to be a security nightmare.

        • by Stoutlimb (143245)

          Just to add... won't this cause even more personal user data go onto the web, and contribute even more to the current surveillance society? What we need is the opposite. Lock down the apps onto the device, lock down the data, and only let things in/out in an encrypted fashion, and ensure encryption remotely whenever possible.

        • by Threni (635302)

          No. Nerds want the very latest - 4.3, say, instead of 4.2.2, but 99.9999% of users could not care less and have absolutely no knowledge of the difference between these releases. Developers have to deal, to some extent, with fragmentation, but nowadays that's more related to screen sizes etc than Android versions.

      • by unixisc (2429386)

        * We need at least one more Open phone option

        Isn't Replicant and Plasma Active already there?

        • Isn't Plasma Active for 10" tablets?, and no one knows about Replicant (Plasma Active has very low notoriety already and I thought it was in alpha or beta)

    • by asmkm22 (1902712)

      If they target it as a low to mid range phone option that's more substance over style, it could find a very nice market full of people that are kind of tired of the high-end expensive 2-year contract cycles.

      Or they could go after the already saturated high-end market and fail miserably.

    • by sgt scrub (869860)

      What gQuigs said plus: You can run the apps on a desktop in an html panel so the can be desktop applets and phone apps. I haven't played with it a whole lot; but, I think it could be good for non-centralized applications.

    • Presumably you're not tied to Google's services and your info not directly passed to the NSA?

    • Re:Why? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by tlhIngan (30335) <slashdot AT worf DOT net> on Thursday August 22, 2013 @01:13AM (#44639781)

      What exactly is Firefox OS doing better than what is already available with iOS/Android/Windows Phone/BlackBerry/etc.?

      Even from a geek's perspective I really see nothing better about Firefox OS than the OSes available today.

      Easy - it's an OS that OEMs can customize heavily. It's not what Firefox brings to the table, it what's the OEMs can do to differentiate their phones in the market. Basically, LG wants to have a phone to sell they can call their own. Android's fairly big and complex so it's hard to fully do what you want with it. Firefox OS hopefully promises to be much simpler so each OEM can "make it their own".

      Plus, the price is right.

      If they target it as a low to mid range phone option that's more substance over style, it could find a very nice market full of people that are kind of tired of the high-end expensive 2-year contract cycles.

      Except there are TONS of low-end Android phones. In fact, they're one of the largest reasons why Android beats iOS - why should someone spend $200 for an iPhone 5 when the sales guy is pushing their 3-Android-Phones-for-free deal?

      Even best sellers like SGS3 are barely 10% of the Android market (60M units vs. 900M Androids) - and Samsung has 80% of that market. The rest of the phones are the ones they're releasing practically daily - all the million variations of low end phones you can go and get for free or so. So the top end phones do sell tons, but the low end phones get shoveled out the door.

      • by Camael (1048726)

        Easy - it's an OS that OEMs can customize heavily. It's not what Firefox brings to the table, it what's the OEMs can do to differentiate their phones in the market.

        I don't see the distinction. OEMs already can (and do) customise Android. If the customisations go even further than that, essentially every OEM will be producing their own fork of Firefox, all of which will be incompatible with that of other OEMs. This will likely mean every OEM has its own small pool of proprietory apps. I don't see how that can compete with the iOS or Android ecosystem.

        I'm not even going into the horror of how to manage upgrades.

        Further, what's in it for the customer, the actual user of

        • Interestingly we have a precedent about Firefox : if you modify the settings or compilation flags too much you can't call it Firefox (so you have alternate debian and GNU brandings). If Firefox OS is dealt with the same way, an OEM would have to call it something else, like Scrooge OS or Weasel Words OS. So maybe an OEM would only bundle some html apps, which you can proceed to uninstall by whatever the UI equivalent of right-clicking or dragging to the trash.

          • I'm not sure the Firefox OS brand carries much weight to keep OEMs and carriers in line. Google has the Play store, Gmail, Maps, Calendar, Drive, Music, Books, Google Voice, etc. They use these things as leverage to keep the OHA in line and compatible. And it's still a problem -- particularly from carriers (who think they hold the keys to the kingdom). I highly doubt carriers & OEMs will stop their dirty tricks for a new and relatively powerless brand name. Firefox is well known for the browser, bu

    • by Molochi (555357)

      The idea is that HTML5 doesn't need all the add on crap to make programs work in a browser. It obsoletes third party stuff like java and flash. So you just write for the spec instead of the plugins. This replaces third party support for you browser and/or OS for dedicated support for your device through Mozilla.

       

    • Do you really trust Apple, Microsoft, or Google to put your privacy, security, or freedom before their bottom line?
      I for one cannot *wait* to get a FoxOS phone. Presumably my communications will be encrypted by default [net-security.org], and I expect better performance on account of not being spied on/tracked/marketed to all the time.

  • While they're at it, tell LG to make some battery drivers that aren't completely terrible. Like, 10 seconds worth of effort. The Nexus 4, a google flagship phone should not have these problems, yet LG apparently can't write battery drivers worth a damn. Glad to hear the Nexus 5 won't be made by LG.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 21, 2013 @11:38PM (#44639343)

    What is the point of making a Firefox phone? With the GNU/HURD phone being released very soon, it will make Firefox OS based phones irrelevant.

  • seems the smartphone os space is starting to blossom once again, too bad the market has already decided on what it wants, and its not some fresh start, its familiarity with a billion apps already available, bought at your local walmart

  • I'm looking to replace my ageing Nexus S. I'm sick of getting locked into scumbag cel phone company contracts, but I really can't convince myself to fork over the $500-$700 asking price for a tool that realistically might be usable for two years. There's just no way that these prices seem reasonable.

    I'm looking fairly seriously at the many cheap Android phones [dhgate.com] selling out of China. Even if the build quality is a bit sloppy, it looks like I can pick up a good usable Android phone for a couple of hundre
    • The nexus 4 is $300, works great on straight talk and AT&T GoPhone plan. The latter gives me amazing reception everywhere I go, but they cap your data at 2GB/month. I've just learned to download podcasts at home rather than stream all the time.

      • by rueger (210566)
        Ah yes, but I'm in Canada, the land of the Three Big Cel Companies with no competition. The Nexus 4 at Telus runs $425, and good luck finding a decent plan for less than $60 a month - that includes 500 megs of data, voicemail that will only hold THREE messages, and everything in the world is $10 a month extra.
        • by Fancia (710007)
          You can buy the Nexus 4 straight from Google [google.com] for basically the American list, no contract required. Wind has some nice no-contract plans if you're in a part of the country they cover.
  • This is a niche product that will never ramp to significant volume. You heard it here first.
    • by PCM2 (4486) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @02:07AM (#44639961) Homepage

      This is a niche product that will never ramp to significant volume. You heard it here first.

      Its "niche," though, is people who are using feature phones and are thinking about buying their first smartphone. For these people, the main draw of a smartphone is being able to access the web. Firefox OS delivers that at a price point of $80, or even less with carrier subsidies. It won't ramp to a significant volume in rich countries, but there is a much larger "significant volume" of customers in places like China, India, Brazil, Latin America, etc. So you never know.

      • Furthermore, to build complex HTML5 applications, a game for instance, requires creating tools in HTML5...

        What's the one thing you can do with a PC you can't really do with a Smart Phone or Tablet? Create Applications.

        So, think about that. You could make money with your phone... You could even use a phone to make programs that run on desktops.

        While I'm hedging my bets a bit using some advanced compiler tricks to target more than just FirefoxOS natively, I wouldn't just dismiss it altogether. I m

      • Actually there's huge volume of dumbphones in rich countries too.
        Me I'd be tempted to get a Firefox phone and use it with no SIM card, wifi only, assuming I really need it which is not a done deal yet.
        My dumbphone with insanely cheap voice only / free SMS plan would permanently stay in my pocket or very near me the way it is now.

      • For many people, or an imperial shitload of them this could be their first computer, the same way netbooks were and are first computers for millions.
        And here I'm thinking not only of the general population in the countries you cite, but also homeless people in the first world, and the third/fourth world, bottom of the barrel like Afghanistan and Ethiopia, places were people lack access to sanitation and clean water. Lowest price, lack of vendor lock-in and clean state without spyware, security and performan

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