Panasonic debuts Firefox-powered smart TVs

16 May 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Panasonic Begins Selling The First Firefox OS-Powered Smart TVs, Initially In Europe.

More than a year after revealing its plans to build Firefox OS televisions with Panasonic, the first fruits of Mozilla’s tie-up with the electronics giant have gone to market.It looks like the world of smart TVs are about to get all the more interesting, not to mention smarter if Panasonic and Mozilla have anything to say about it. Available in Europe only for now, there are six models of the Panasonic Viera smart TVs powered by Mozilla’s Linux-based operating system, depending on your country — the CR850, CR730, CX800, CX750, CX700, and CX680. The full global launch of the TVs is expected “in the coming months.” First unveiled back in 2012, Firefox OS was originally designed as an alternative operating system for smartphones and tablets.

The companies say these models, or variants of them, will be come to other international markets in the “coming months.” The smart TV space is a tricky one, particularly since Firefox OS smartphones have made little-to-no inroad among consumers who might be in the market for a new tele. Nonetheless, with Mozilla’s HTML5-based platform, Panasonic said its TVs support web apps — Mozilla has seeded APIs to help developers build for the platform — alongside other web-based content, channel favoriting, and interactions with other devices.

Apart from that, users will also be able to benefit from an intuitive and customizable interface that will be able to offer easy access to one’s favorite channels, apps, websites, and content from various devices. Mozilla said Firefox OS provides “more choice and control to users, developers, operators and hardware manufacturers” — but Google’s Android TV, and its much-speculated future plans, are the elephant in the room when it comes to smart TV volume and attention from developers. That too is starting to heat up though, with Google’s omnipresent Android operating system starting to show up on a handful of smart TV devices, and Samsung making moves in the space with its Tizen operating system. This is not the only debutant recently where the TV OS industry is concerned, since Roku has had some form of success on its own as well. [Press Release]

This is designed to make it easier for developers to port existing web applications and services over to Firefox OS, and the likes of YouTube and Netflix already provide apps for the operating system. Whether Firefox OS ultimately sinks or swims on smart TVs remains to be seen, but with a giant such as Panasonic on board, Mozilla’s in good company.

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