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Three Android Alternatives to Release Phones Soon

Three open-source mobile operating systems vying to compete against Android and iOs announced their plans to release phones by the end of the year at the 2013 GMIC Beijing.

The announcements came from Marc Dillon, CEO of Finnish firm Jolla, Li Gong, SVP of Mobile Devices at Mozilla, and Leonard Tsai, Strategic Advisor of Canonical, a close partner to the Ubuntu OS project.

Dillon said Jolla will release its Sailfish OS in an in-house developed handset by the end of the year. He distanced the company a little from rumors that the phone might be coming out by May, by saying he wasn’t “exactly sure,” if the speculation was true, but added that it would be “very soon.”

The new Sailfish phone will be a “high end” model for “mid-range” price, Dillon said. He added that Jolla is unique among a handful of alternatives to Android and iOs because of its roots in product development at Nokia.

“Product development is in our spines,” Dillon said. “We approached Sailfish from a product development angle, that’s one of the major differences.”

Mozilla’s Operating system will be available for purchase in July, according to their VP of Mobile Devices Li Gong.  He said the price range will vary from about $120-150 depending on the market, and he expects to launch the OS first in Latin America and Europe. To start, five handset makers have partnered with Mozilla to run its OS.

“Mozilla in the game as a nonprofit, not for money.” Li said. “To enable the next one billion, two billion customers … We need to ask ourselves if what we’re doing is improving, adding value to their lives.”

Leonard Tsai of Canonicle said that Ubuntu, the open-source OS widely known to the tech-savvy , is already compatible with 60 devices, but that it will be available in a stand-alone format in the fourth quarter of 2013, or first quarter of 2014.  It will be a “high end” device with a screen of 4-5 inches and a price comparable to other top-end smart phones, Tsai said.

All the makers agreed that opening up the OS ecosystem to more competition would benefit consumers, and drive innovation and usability forward.

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