Mozilla Prepares to Release Firefox Mobile OS

Firefox Logo

Mozilla is getting ready to compete with Apple and Android for real. And I’m not talking about browser competition, but about mobile OS competition.

Last week, Mozilla announced TCL Communication Technology (Alcatel) and ZTE will manufacture mobile devices with Firefox OS inside. And telecom carriers Deutsche Telekom, Etisalat, Smart, Sprint, Telecom Italia, Telefónica and Telenor will back up their initiative as network operators.

If everything goes as planned, in 2013, we should see the first ever devices that feature Firefox OS. Mozilla says that they will be powered by Snapdragon processors from Qualcomm, which means we should expect some powerful mobile devices.

As expected, Firefox OS is built on Boot to Gecko project, which allows “HTML5 applications to access the underlying capabilities of a phone, previously only available to native applications.”

Mozilla and its partners say Firefox OS will be open source and comply to W3C standards. We’ll see how much this new open source project will influence the ecosystem over the next several years. Even if it’s too early to draw any conclusion, it’s nice that Mozilla wants to do deliver a free mobile OS just like Google did with Android. Hopefully, this will influence others to do the same thing.

Gary Kovacs, Mozilla’s CEO 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.

This support from carriers and manufacturers is a shift from earlier challenges that Mozilla faced with its Boot to Gecko project, which it unveiled with a demo at MWC 2012. At the time, it was an HTML 5 OS experience and people thought it was just a full web OS experience.

But Mozilla cleared that up by saying their OS would also work offline and support apps as well as synchronization across devices using the platform.

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