While Apple's iOS and Google's Android are the prevailing favorites in the smartphone platform wars, there's apparently still room for more, if at a different tier.
According to the latest research from Strategy Analytics, Mozilla's Firefox OS will capture 1 percent share of global smartphone shipments in 2013. Firefox OS will target entry-level smartphone users, both her in the United States and in a emerging markets, a segment currently dominated by Android.
Mozilla's Firefox OS, which open-sourced and optimized to run browser-based HTML5 apps, has already received backing from Chinese device manufacturer ZTE, with more OEMs expected to follow. ZTE has confirmed it will release a Firefox OS device by 2013.
While 1 percent may not seem like a lot, it's worth considering that Microsoft's Windows Phone OS currently controls just over 3 percent of the total market, according to ComScore.
Scott Bicheno, Senior Analyst at Strategy Analytics, said in research notes that he expects the first Firefox smartphones to launch commercially in Latin America or Western Europe in the first half of next year.
The Firefox OS will be fighting an uphill battle. The new platform will have to compete with Android, hopefully bringing handsets to the market at or the magic $100 mark.
"Overcoming Android will not be an easy task," said Neil Mawston, executive director of Strategy Analytics, in a statement. "To succeed, Firefox OS will need to address at least three main challenges; they are low brand awareness among smartphone consumers worldwide, a limited retail presence in the influential United States market, and a relatively modest ecosystem of supporting apps and services.”