Today, a Taiwanese publication reports that Foxconn has teamed up with the Firefox browser maker Mozilla on a mobile device to be powered by the Firefox OS.
This isn’t a rumor: the two partners have invited the press to the unveiling of a new device on June 3. According to the people in the know, the mysterious gizmo will be a tablet. The development puts Foxconn in a somewhat odd position as it assembles Apple’s iPhones and iPads, though I doubt Apple is worried much – if at all – considering the Firefox OS is an also-ran in the mobile arena…
According to Focus Taiwan which first broke the news, the invitation sent to media outlets suggests a Firefox OS device is underway, with one industry insider believing it’s a tablet rather than a phone.
A Mozilla spokeswoman confirmed to Reuters the June 3 media event and Foxconn confirmed plans to add Firefox to its product line for clients.
Although Apple is responsible for more than half of its revenue, Foxconn is taking heat amid Apple’s slowing growth and is reportedly looking for new clients. Per The Wall Street Journal, the manufacturer will revamp its higher-margin retail operations in Taiwan and invest in content and services.
In addition to building products for Apple, HP and Nokia, to name a few, Foxconn also assembles gizmos powered by Google’s Android software and is believed to be the manufacturer of choice for Apple’s rumored standalone television set, dubbed the iTV.
Mozilla said Foxconn is the nineteenth company to strike a partnership on Firefox OS devices. While it previously secured support from 18 carriers (China Unicom, America Movil and Deutsche Telekom are on board), along with handset makers Alcatel, Huawei, ZTE and LG for Firefox phones, the non-profit organization has yet to release a Firefox OS-driven tablet.
Spanish firm Geeksphone in April launched two Mozilla-powered handsets aimed at developers who want to build web apps for Firefox OS.
As for commercial Firefox phones, these will be powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon mobile processors and will target mid and low-end segments in emerging markets, where Apple is thought to be releasing a less-pricey iPhone late this year or in 2014.
Interestingly enough, Mozilla last summer demoed Firefox running on an iPad. Even more telling, the non-profit subsequently pulled Firefox Home from the App Store, its only native app for iDevices which was used to sync bookmarks.
The Mozilla-Foxconn media event takes place a week ahead of Apple’s summer developers conference.