Watch Out, Android and iOS: Another Mobile OS Is Coming

Hey, gecko, move over for another lizard. However, you won't have to worry about having one steal your insurance-company gig. This high-tech reptile only has eyes on the likes of Apple (NAS: AAPL) , Google, and Microsoft. iOS, Android, and Windows Phone, don't look now, but there's another OS getting ready to enter the mobile operating system arena.

Mozilla, the parent organization of the Firefox browser, plans to launch its mobile operating system, formerly known as Boot2Gecko, or B2G, in early 2013. B2G is open source, license-free, and built on HTML5, the latest Web standard. Because it is based on Web technology, it should allow for cheaper handsets because of lower hardware and RAM requirements than needed by devices built around proprietary software.

Another mobile OS ecosystem -- a competitive one, certainly -- would be a welcome addition for mobile carriers in their struggles to keep flesh-eating handset subsidies from eating their bottom lines. Sprint Nextel and Deutsche Telecom have agreed to support the Mozilla mobile OS -- renamed Firefox OS -- on devices that run Qualcomm's (NAS: QCOM) Snapdragon processor. Telefonica (NYS: TEF) and Telecom Italia have also committed to supporting Firefox OS phones.

Phone makers ZTE and Alcatel (NYS: ALU) have gotten on board to produce phones running Firefox OS, and Mozilla said that the Brazilian carrier Vivo will have the launching honors when the OS is ready. Vivo is a division of Telefonica.

Markets such as Brazil may be the perfect environment for Firefox OS to grow up. Ars Technica spoke with Mozilla evangelist Christian Heilmann, who explained that the OS can run on low-end devices developed for the emerging world. If that is indeed the case, Nokia (NYS: NOK) , which has relied on the low-end world market for much of its revenues, may be in for even more trouble in the coming years.

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At the time thisarticle was published Fool contributorDan Radovskyowns shares of Nokia. The Motley Fool owns shares of Qualcomm, Microsoft, Apple, and Google.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of Apple, Microsoft, and Google and creating bull call spread positions in Microsoft and Apple. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy.

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