Sony signs up to use Mozilla Firefox OS

Sony has extended its partnership with Telefnica by signing a multi-year deal which includes the development of handsets running Mozilla's Firefox OS.

Sony is the latest manufacturer to join those already confirmed to use Firefox OS - Alcatel, LG, Huawei and ZTE. The move is unsurprising as the Japanese manufacturer is keen to diversify its mobile portfolio, which relies solely on the Android platform at this time.

The company's engineers have started working with Firefox OS, according to Bob Ishida, deputy chief executive officer and head of products business group at Sony Mobile.

"At Sony Mobile we continue to evaluate innovative technologies that can help deliver the premium user experiences that Sony's consumers expect," he said a in statement.

"[We] continue to work with our operator partners, including Telefnica, on a development project with an ambition to bring a product to market in 2014."

The Firefox OS differentiates itself from competing platforms as it is built using the HTML5 web standards.

However, it remains to be seen whether it can be anything other than a niche platform. The market already has four major platforms fighting it out for a share of the market.

The Android and iOS operating systems dominate the market, but the revamped BlackBerry 10 and Windows Phone platforms are aiming to regain ground in 2013.

The first wave of Firefox devices are set to be launched in emerging markets such as Brazil, Columbia, Hungary, Mexico, Montenegro, Poland, Serbia, Spain and Venezuela. Mozilla has not yet given any time frame over when its OS is expected to launch in the UK.

Khidr Suleman is the Technical Editor at IT Pro, a role he has fulfilled since March 2012. He is responsible for the reviews section on the site  - so get in touch if you have a product you think might be of interest to the business world. He also covers the hardware and operating systems beats. Prior to joining IT Pro, Khidr worked as a reporter at Incisive Media. He studied law at the University of Reading and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism and Online Writing at PMA Training.