“I’m not going to project when, but I’m going to say we’re moving aggressively and you’ll see things soon,” he said during a San Francisco news conference Monday.
A tablet PC had been one of the original ideas for the operating system but development was influenced by community feedback, said Eich.
“We thought ‘tablet should be easier for us,’ but all the inbound interest was in the direction of smartphones,” he said.
A lot of developers expressed interest in a Firefox smartphone, and the easy availability of Android phones provided a relatively open system on which development could take place, he said.
“So we went to smartphones, but we’re going to get to tablets ASAP.”
Mozilla’s Taiwan office last month showed a prototype tablet PC running Firefox OS. It was developed with Foxconn, a major computer equipment manufacturer that is one of the most enthusiastic initial supporters of the operating system.
Foxconn is planning to hire between 2,000 and 3,000 engineers to support development of HTML5 and cloud software for products based on Firefox OS.
Foxconn is the world’s largest contract electronics manufacturer. It doesn’t sell directly to consumers but to other electronics companies that put their brand name on the devices and promote them to end users.
The company is interested in development on devices with screens larger than just smartphones and tablets.
“We’re looking forward to working with them to see how Firefox OS scales up. We think it scales well,” said Eich. “The Web scales better than any graphical UI system I’ve seen thanks to things like CSS. The tablet we showed was an example of that.”
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Martyn Williams produces technology news and product reviews in text and video for PC World, Macworld, and TechHive from his home outside Washington D.C.. He previously worked for IDG News Service as a correspondent in San Francisco and Tokyo and has reported on technology news from across Asia and Europe.