Mozilla and Spain-based Telefonica officially announced their intentions to work together on an open web device at this year’s Mobile World Congress, but I’m not sure anyone expected the launch market Mozilla CEO Gary Kovacs just announced.
According to the Brazilian blog ZTop (Google Translated here), Kovacs just recently revealed the the world’s first consumer-ready Boot to Gecko devices are expected to launch in Brazil either at the end of the year or in early 2013.
I doubt that Samsung connection will count for too much once it comes time to Telefonica, on the other hand, went with some slightly less recognizable Qualcomm-sourced hardware for their own demo, and I imagine we’ll see some similar white-label hardware we’ll see once we get closer to an official launch.
Really though, since most of the heavy lifting — think telephony, messaging, etc — are handled with HTML5 and web APIs, the hardware itself doesn’t need to be the most spectacular. As of last August, smartphones only accounted for roughly 9% of the Brazilian mobile market, but the country’s rapidly growing economy means that we can expect to see similarly-connected devices grow to greater prominence in the months and years to come.
The confluence of an open-source, web-based OS along with some purely adequate hardware means that costs can stay low, and Telefonica’s Pablo Larrieux confirmed that would be the case. According to him, Boot to Gecko devices will be priced competitively with existing feature phones, a trend that I’m hoping continues once Boot to Gecko starts its world tour.