On Wednesday, ZTE spokesman David Dai Shu announced that the company will be partnering with Mozilla to develop and release a mobile operating system. The system will be released later this year, or in early 2013. ZTE also said it was working with a regional telecom operator somewhere outside China that would release phones using the new ZTE-Mozilla platform, but didn’t reveal which company it was or what region it would be servicing.
Details are very scarce so far on what this new OS will look like, though Mozilla are the folks behind Firefox so you can probably make some educated guesses. But ZTE’s spokesman made it clear that ZTE was not abandoning other operating systems, and would continue to release handsets for both Android and Windows Phone.
ZTE has also partnered with Mozilla to release devices for Mozilla’s Firefox OS, and those devices will be coming early next year. However, the joint ZTE-Firefox operating system is apparently different from Firefox OS (although we expect there to be numerous similarities between the two when they’re both released).
ZTE is of course not the first big Chinese company to push out its own mobile OS, Alibaba’s Aliyun OS and Baidu’s OS are Android alternatives we’ve known about for some time already. But are consumers going to be interested in choosing among these new OSes, especially when Android and iOS already offer very robust, compelling user experiences? We’ll have to wait and see.