The Firefox OS from Mozilla has been out for some time now, but today Firefox OS is landing in a new market for the first time. It's coming to Smart TVs, starting with six models in Panasonic's VIERA line.
The first of these TVs have shipped to Europe and should be available through retailers soon, but at this moment the specs and details are unknown. Though six models have been announced, the model number varies by country, and potential customers shouldn't anticipate seeing more than one or two models available in their country in the near future.
The six models available in the Panasonic 2015 smart TV line up are the CR850, CR730, CX800, CX750, CX700 and CX680.
These TVs have been in development for a long time now. Mozilla and Panasonic first started this partnership to develop Firefox OS-based smart TVs back in January 2014.
During CES this year, Panasonic was showing off prototypes of these TVs. Though some of the specs might have changed during development, it is likely these displays will be 4K units just like the prototypes.
"Through our partnership with Mozilla and the openness and flexibility of Firefox OS, we have been able to create a more user friendly and customizable TV UI. This allows us to provide a better user experience for our consumers providing a differentiator in the Smart TV market," said Masahiro Shinada, Director of the TV Business Division at Panasonic Corporation.
One of the design goals for these Firefox OS Smart TVs was to be highly optimized for HTML5 in order to achieve higher performance with web-based applications and services. In addition, Panasonic and Mozilla claim that using Firefox OS allows for a more intuitive and customized design relative to other smart TVs. In addition, most Firefox OS applications are Web-based and don't need to be stored on the device itself. This could help cut costs slightly by reducing the size of the storage device.
Panasonic hopes that this performance coupled with the more unique experience will set its smart TVs apart. Though the market for Firefox OS-based smart TVs is just now being started by Panasonic, if sales of these displays are successful, the smart TV market will enjoy a strong competitor to the likes of Samsung (Tizen OS) and LG (WebOS).
Firefox OS is an open platform, so other companies should be able to easily develop smart TV solutions with Firefox OS and enter the market, but Panasonic will have an initial advantage here. Panasonic plans to sell these TVs worldwide, but currently only the European models are being shipped.
The price of these TVs and when they will reach other parts of the world is currently unknown.