Fancy making phone calls from your web browser? Well soon you’ll be able to as Mozilla, AT&T and Ericsson are all teaming up to bring their WebRTC-based concept to MWC. The idea will allow users to make voice calls, video chat, send SMS and MMS messages, share files, and access their address book through their web browser, which sounds alright to me.

The platform will sync Firefox using the user’s phone number, and will then allow them to make calls without downloading any additional plug-ins or software. But as you might have noticed you’ll have to switch back to Firefox if you’re a Chome fan, or for some reason stuck with Internet Explorer. A cardinal sin for some.

“But can’t I just use Skype” I hear you cry. Well the real difference between this idea and an application like Skype is that the developers want carriers to get behind the project and contribute some resources. This isn’t just a phone chat feature for Mozilla Firefox, it’s about integrating mobile communications with the wider web.

In the joint press release Magnus Furustam, Vice President Product Area Core and IMS, Business Unit Networks, Ericsson, states:

“We believe there is value for operators bundling mobile and fixed broadband offerings with browsers”.

In other words, they want carriers to bundle tariff options with deals including more online features, integrating phone and text communications, contacts, etc, with the web. Perhaps with the more long term goal to move away from traditional networks altogether, who knows.

Personally I think it’s a very interesting prospect, although at first glance it doesn’t seem entirely necessary. On the other hand, with ever faster mobile networks it makes sense that the web and traditional calls should integrate further. I’ll reserve judgement until we see a little more information about exactly what Mozilla, AT&T and Ericsson have planned.

Keep your eyes peeled for the full unveil later this week at MWC.


Ericsson, Mozilla and AT&T demonstrate WebRTC solution to illustrate seamless web and mobile integration

Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC), Mozilla and AT&T (NYSE: T) will demonstrate a Web Real-Time Communication (WebRTC) proof of concept at Mobile World Congress 2013. The joint demonstration builds on Ericsson’s Web Communication Gateway, the Mozilla Social API and WebRTC support in Firefox, and the AT&T API Platform to enable the Mozilla Firefox browser to sync with a user’s existing phone number and provide calling services without any plugins to download.

The technology builds on WebRTC, an open Web framework that is being standardized by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), of which Ericsson, Mozilla and AT&T are all members among other leading technology companies.. This demonstration shows how the Web browser can perform many functions usually confined to a mobile device such as voice and video calls and SMS and MMS texting.

Integrating communications services with Web browsers allows consumers to easily shift between devices and locations. Additionally, the proposition will allow fast innovation to new and different applications and services – whether on a mobile device or desktop computer, through the global network of developers who work on the open Firefox platform.

Building on operator’s APIs allows the demonstration, jointly developed at the AT&T Foundry as part of the company’s commitment to innovation, to integrate seamlessly with a user’s existing mobile number, which allows calls to originate from either the Firefox Web browser or the user’s chosen device. Further, users can access their mobile services on the Firefox browser, including their personal address book.

Firefox is the Web browser of choice for hundreds of millions of people around the world. A global network of developers build on the open Firefox platform, and this demonstration enables those developers to create new WebRTC applications and services for mobile devices and desktop computers.

Todd Simpson, Mozilla Chief of Innovation, says: “We are excited to enable Web to mobile voice calls, video calls and file sharing without the need for a plugin. This gives developers and operators a lot of opportunity to offer compelling services while maintaining direct customer relationships, so users can have an awesome, consistent communications experience.”

Carlton Hill, Vice President Developers Services, AT&T says: “AT&T opens our network to developers through our API platform, allowing them to create applications with AT&T services like SMS, MMS and call management seamlessly and easily integrated. Together with Mozilla and Ericsson, we’ve developed a concept that illuminates for developers and consumers the technologies made possible by our APIs.”

Magnus Furustam, Vice President Product Area Core and IMS, Business Unit Networks, Ericsson, said: “We believe there is value for operators bundling mobile and fixed broadband offerings with browsers, and Firefox will be the first browser to give them this opportunity. The open source project with Mozilla means operators can contribute resources to the project and in a new way, jointly collaborating with other innovators to shape the future of web communications.”

Ericsson is also providing Consultancy and Systems Integration services to operators to realize this solution. Ericsson and Mozilla will showcase the solution at Mobile World Congress in Hall 2, location 2D140, from February 25 through 28 in Barcelona, Spain.


Robert Triggs

Lead Technical Writer covering SoCs, displays, cameras, and everything in between. In his spare moments you’ll find him building audio gadgets.