Reports indicate first Firefox OS tablet will be unveiled next week

Back in February, at Mobile World Congress 2013 in Barcelona, we got a look at the first smartphone to run Mozilla’s Firefox OS, the ZTE Open. The OS is a Linux-based open-source effort designed to offer an alternative to the proprietary ecosystems of its rivals, harnessing standards-based HTML5 web apps, combined with JavaScript and open web APIs.  

Mozilla’s focus – publicly, at least – has so far been exclusively on mobile handsets. That looks like it could be about to change, with indications that the first tablet based on Firefox OS could be announced in the next few days.

Reuters reports that Mozilla and Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd are collaborating on a mobile device running Firefox OS that will be announced on June 3. You’ll be forgiven if you’ve not previously heard of Hon Hai – but you might know it by its more familiar trading name, Foxconn, manufacturer of many of Apple’s devices. Recent reports have claimed that Hon Hai is seeking to broaden the range of customers for which it builds devices, in response to slowing demand for Apple products, which represent an estimated 60% of its annual revenues.

Mozilla has confirmed its tie-up with Hon Hai, which has itself stated that it plans to add Firefox OS devices to the long list of iOS and Android systems that it already builds for its customers. According to a report by Focus Taiwan, citing an unnamed “industry insider”, the first Firefox OS device that it will build – and the one that it will jointly announce with Mozilla on June 3 – will be a tablet.

Further details, such as specs, pricing and availability, are not yet known. Mozilla told Neowin at MWC 2013 that the company’s initial focus in launching Firefox OS would be on affordable entry-level devices, but that in the longer term, it envisaged a broader range of devices, covering multiple price points and capabilities, being introduced. The launch of a tablet running the mobile OS would be a significant step towards realising that vision. 

The first Firefox OS handsets won't be launched publicly until next month – aside from the developer-focused 'preview' devices that have so far been made available in limited quantities.

Source: Reuters / Focus Taiwan | Image via Mozilla

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