Just weeks after announcing its partnership with Mozilla regarding Firefox OS, Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd (aka Foxconn) said it is hiring 2,000 to 3,000 additional workers in Taiwan to bolster the company's research into software. Candidates will require expertise in HTML5 operating systems, HTML5 apps, and cloud computing.
Foxconn plans to develop more than five devices running Firefox OS by the end of the year, and is also planning to design reference models that will be the foundation for future Firefox OS-based smartphones, tablets, laptops and TVs. The Taiwanese company is the world's largest contract electronics manufacturer, and wants to provide customers with an alternative to Android and Windows.
"Currently, Foxconn is executing on a vision of 'eight screens, one network, and one cloud' with all our strength," said Young Liu, general manager of Foxconn innovation Digital System Business Group (iDSBG). "Besides the native advantages of hardware manufacturing, Foxconn is also developing a brand new integrated approach to providing hardware, software, content, and services."
The deal with Mozilla is Foxconn's move to expand beyond producing hardware for heavy-hitters like Apple, Microsoft, Sony, Samsung and other top-name brands. The company is reportedly increasing investments in research that includes developing robotics, stating in March that it was looking to hire 5,000 workers in Taiwan with expertise in robotics, automation and hardware.
Meanwhile, Mozilla is still trying to pull developers away from iOS and Android, and bring them into the HTML5-based Firefox OS ecosystem. Currently, the Firefox Marketplace, which no longer supports apps for desktop, lists just over 1,000 apps. The first Aurora release of Firefox Marketplace is available on Firefox Aurora for Android devices in addition to native support on Firefox OS.
Currently, 18 carriers and five smartphone makers have signed up to support Firefox OS including Sony, Huawei Technologies and LG Electronics. The first devices are expected to be entry-level smartphones focused on emerging markets and slated for a mid-year release.
On June 4, Foxconn said that it would hire between 500 and 1,000 engineers by the end of 2013 to work at its software center in Greater Kaohsiung to develop Firefox OS apps. As of now, the center has around 300 employees.
"Hon Hai will do its best to develop the Kaohsiung software center as the company’s software powerhouse," the firm said in a statement. "There will be no budget limit for fostering software talent."