Panasonic and Firefox makers Mozilla have announced that they’re working together to bring Firefox OS to smart TVs.
By adopting an open and HTML5-compatible system, this move will in theory make it easier for developers to create mobile apps – remote recording apps, programme guides, personalised user interfaces – and other second screen experiences for Panasonic customers.
This should mean Firefox OS-based Panasonic smart TVs will benefit from faster rollout of future services as they arrive, allowing it to compete with the likes of Samsung and LG.
The app stores of rival smart TV platforms are already well populated with apps and streaming services and existing relationships have seen the likes of Netflix and Amazon embark on content deals with the likes of LG, Samsung and Sony.
Mr. Yuki Kusumi, Director of the TV Business Division of the AVC Networks Company of Panasonic said: “Panasonic had been expanding content and services dedicated for Panasonic TVs on our own portal site and our collaboration with Mozilla on Firefox OS will further accelerate various innovations and encourage many new services.”
Panasonic also hopes that Firefox OS-based TVs will be become central hubs for families, allowing users to monitor and interact with connected devices inside and outside the home, although the company hasn’t given any examples of how it expects the TV app ecosystem to evolve.
Dr. Li Gong, senior vice president of mobile devices and president of Asia operations at Mozilla said: “We are very excited to partner with Panasonic to bring Firefox OS to more people on more platforms. As we see more partners supporting Firefox OS and the open Web, Firefox OS helps solidify open Web standards for smart screen solutions.”
It could be that Panasonic and Mozilla come up with something similar to what LG has done with webOS.
WebOS, which began life as an operating system for Palm mobile phones, has transformed the user interface of LG’s smart TVs, offering viewers a bright and intuitive user experience. Although they didn’t sell well, Palm and later HP’s phones and tablets were highly rated for their polished interfaces that were easy to get to grips with.
Firefox OS by contrast has only made the tiniest of dents in the market, arriving on just one phone – the ZTE Open – which hasn’t exactly set the world on fire.
Panasonic and Mozilla haven’t suggested when the first fruits of their collaboration might arrive, but we would hope to see something by next year’s CES trade show at least.
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