Quoted: Smartphone news from Mozilla, HP and BlackBerry

“Being late you have to create a different set of propositions. There are still things that can be done. It’s not late. When HP has a smartphone, it will give a differentiated experience.”

Yam Su Yin, executive with the Asia Pacific division of HP’s Personal Systems Group, unlike the rest of the world seems to be confused about whether Hewlett-Packard is late to the smartphone market. After the company squandered a chance to make anything of its Palm purchase, plus a high-profile failure of its TouchPad tablet, HP CEO Meg Whitman said last year that the Palo Alto tech giant would be entering the mobile market again. Yam told an Indian news agency that “HP has to be in the game,” but could not give a timetable.

Meanwhile, Mozilla is jumping into the smartphone market dominated by Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS. The Mountain View  non-profit and its partners announced today that the first Firefox OS mobile smartphones are rolling out this week in Europe.

“Firefox OS powers the first smartphones built entirely on Web technologies and will stimulate an inspiring new wave of innovation for the Web,” Jay Sullivan, chief operating officer, says in a press release. Mozilla says it has more than 20 hardware and operator partners, and that it will launch phones in other markets later this year.

As we’ve mentioned before, the European mobile industry is embracing “open ecosystems to break monopolies and give greater choice and flexibility to consumers.”

Last week, contract manufacturer Hon Hai said it was, among other things, hiring thousands of engineers to develop devices and software for Firefox OS devices.

Finally, analysts are downgrading the stock of and basically declaring the death of BlackBerry after its shares plunged nearly 30 percent Friday on news that it reported a quarterly loss and predicted continued tough times ahead. The company also said it was closing the chapter on its PlayBook tablet.

“BlackBerry needs to refocus on the enterprise segment. They are not a major phone player nor a consumer brand anymore and will never be,” said Francisco Jeronimo, director of European mobile device research for market researcher IDC.

Shares of BlackBerry, formerly known as Research in Motion, continue to fall today. They were off nearly 1.5 percent to $10.30 as of this post.


Photo above: Chairman Terry Guo of Taiwan’s Hon Hai Precision said the company aims to hire up to 3,000 new employees to develop devices and software for Mozilla’s Firefox operating system as it seeks to diversify from its core manufacturing services. (AFP/Getty Images)


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