Sydney: Phones using operating systems based on the open-source platforms Linux and Mozilla's Firefox will be hitting the market this year, challenging the stranglehold of the two market leaders, Google's Android and Apple's iOS.
Android and Apple account for more than 90 percent of the surging smartphone market, and third place is being contested by BlackBerry and Microsoft's Windows Phone, reports the Herald Sun.
The Mozilla Foundation, developer of the Firefox browser and a new mobile operating system, claims to have 17 operators on board and plans Firefox OS phones in Brazil, Colombia, Hungary, Mexico, Montenegro, Poland, Serbia, Spain and Venezuela.
The key player being watched, however, is Samsung, which is the biggest smartphone maker with some 40 percent of all Android phones, but is planning new devices using Tizen, an operating system based on Linux.
The Tizen Association, which also includes France's Orange, Japan's NTT DoCoMo, China's Huawei and US-based Intel, say the firms view openness as a key to raising the bar for user experience.
Some analysts were surprised by Samsung's move, saying it's not clear if the South Korean giant is trying to distance itself from Google and Android, which is a free operating system but offers advertising possibilities to the Silicon Valley firm.
Aapo Markkanen, an analyst with ABI Research, said Samsung is trying to break free from Google and that Tizen could be the key for that. Ubuntu, a Linux-based operating system promoted by British software firm Canonical, expects to have phones ready later this year.
And Sailfish, another Linux variant from Finnish-based Jolla Mobile, has released its program for developers.