Mozilla had announced the Firefox OS at the beginning of July this year and stated that they had been working on a "Boot to Gecko" project, which is basically a mobile operating system that is based on the Web and HTML5. Towards the end of the month, the brand announced the availability of the Firefox OS nightly builds, which are available for testing from the Mozilla website. The latest information regarding this upcoming operating system comes via Engadget in the form of some screenshots of the mobile Firefox Marketplace.
A report by Jon Fingas states, “From what we've seen of the current store, it's a significant break from the top-level storefront we saw back in the Boot to Gecko days, not to mention Mozilla Marketplace on the desktop. The deeper exploration shows a minimalist store that's focused on quickly delving into individual categories rather than an abundance of highlighted apps. We're not seeing any startling revelations -- there's only free apps visible in these early images, for example -- but the gallery is proof that Mozilla is well on its way to fleshing out the core of its OS for a launch next year.”
First sighting of this future OS
For those not in the know, the Firefox OS for mobile devices is built on Mozilla’s “Boot to Gecko" project, which unlocks many of the current limitations of web development on mobile, allowing HTML5 applications to access the underlying capabilities of a phone that were previously only available to native applications. Telefónica’s digital unit had partnered with Mozilla early this year to take this work and showcase a new phone architecture where every phone feature, which includes calling, messaging, games, etc., is an HTML5 application.
Mozilla claims that due to the optimisation of the platform for entry-level smartphones and the removal of unnecessary middleware layers, mobile operators will have the ability to offer richer experiences at a range of price points, including at the low-end of the smartphone price range, helping to drive adoption across developing markets. Mozilla and all other participants are committed to ensuring the project is fully open and the reference implementation of the required Web APIs is being submitted to W3C for standardisation.
Speaking at the announcement, Gary Kovacs, CEO, Mozilla, said, “The introduction of the open mobile OS continues the Mozilla mission to promote openness, innovation and opportunity on the Web for users and developers. As billions of users are expected to come online for the first time in the coming years, it is important to deliver a compelling smartphone experience that anyone can use. The large number of operators and manufacturers now supporting this effort will bring additional resources and diversity to our global offerings.”
Also commenting at the announcement of the Firefox OS, Matthew Key, Chairman and CEO of Telefónica Digital said, “Firefox OS will bring a better smartphone experience to a higher proportion of the population at a lower cost. This is crucial for us to accelerate the adoption of smartphones in developing markets. The breadth of support for this initiative across the industry makes it clear that there is an opportunity in the market for a new, open mobile ecosystem.”