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Mozilla Making Phone Using Community Ideas

Gordon Kelly


Mozilla Making Phone Using Community Ideas

Hands up who saw this coming...?!

Determined to prove it does more than make a superb web browser and less popular but still rather nifty email client, Mozilla has announced it plans to make a mobile phone. Yep, you heard that right.

Currently dubbed the 'Mozilla Phone' or 'Mozphone' it aims to be all things to all people - by using the input of all people. In short this means the whole project is an open forum where web users can suggest ideas and input feedback while a partnership with the famed Yanko Design will recreate the proposals feeding off these discussions.

Mozilla acknowledges this will initially be chaotic but expects over time for core aspects to be hammered out and certain universal features to be agreed. Where this will lead, who knows? To kick things off Yanko has already pushed out the 'OLED BlackBerry' - a BlackBerry 7130 melded with an Optimus keyboard. It's throwaway concept but represents a starting point to get user debate flowing.

Wildly optimistic or truly inspired and utilising the best aspects of its 'open source' mindset? I guess we'll have a better idea a few months down the line...

Update: Doh! It seems Mozilla is taking a step back here saying it currently has no plans to manufacturer a handset at the end of this process. It did leave us hope with this statement however:

"While Mozilla doesn't have plans to produce an OS or phone hardware at the moment — this doesn't mean that either are out of scope for Mozilla Labs and that's the point of the Concept Series. Everything is on the table."

Let's hope so.


The Open Web Phone


February 6, 2009, 9:38 pm

3"+ touchscreen (AMOLED?), 2/3 physical buttons on the front, MicroSD expansion + 8/16GB on board, removable battery/SIM card and most importantly Android with a decent custom UI/skin please.


February 6, 2009, 9:55 pm

It is funny. This is something I have always thought of as the ultimate idea. Every time a new phone is released there are always a million things that could have been done better according to &#8220The community&#8221.

But now that I see the idea in the flesh, I am not really so sure about it brilliancy. I mean, how much is open source really good for? Admittedly Firefox is a brilliant browser, but look at the other serious open source projects. Primarily Linux is a near catastrophe. I mean, it has been around for ages, but essentially it is an operating system designed by geeks for geeks, and as such it has zero mass market appeal. I mean no offence to Linux as I myself like to play around with it from time to time, but I guess you catch my drift. My point is it has not reached nearly the critical mass necessary to make it feasible for the average consumer. This is fine for software since the only real cost is the development cost, and this is either sponsored or voluntary in the case of open source. The problem comes when you try and apply this idea in a project where you actually have to put in some serious cash to get a product to market. I am not sure that a GeekPhone will be able to make a turnover that is comparable to the cost of its production, and it the end it could mean financial ruin for Mozilla.

Of course, Mozilla being mighty clever fellers, I am sure it would never come to this.

Also, I wish to emphasize that my use of the term "geek" is not used with any negative intonation, as I see myself as one of these.


February 7, 2009, 12:05 am

Does anyone remember the Simpsons episode where Homer meets his long lost brother, who's a car manufacturer, and he lets Homer loose on designing his own ideal car? If you do, you know where this could go.


February 7, 2009, 12:45 am

@Moche - brilliant analogy :) I suspect Mozilla expects this initially - depends how it pans out from there though...


February 7, 2009, 2:23 am

it seems the success of firefox has gotten to the heads of the mozilla staff

maybe if they focused more on improving their main project which although improving is still a fair distance behind opera and not on ridiculous concepts such as this


February 7, 2009, 4:54 am

I rather like the OLED keyboard :)

Would be nice if that idea made it through this "process".

Having just got my N96 today the only other thing I would really like to see is quality components used in the phones construction, no cheap plastics etc :)


February 7, 2009, 7:52 am

@Keldon fair points, but why oh why buy an N96? The Samsung i8510 is virtually identical but better in almost every way - and we told you this in the reviews ;)


February 7, 2009, 5:16 pm

A moment of madness I guess :) I quite like it so far, not the fastest interface in the world but better than the xda exec it replaced :D

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