Mozilla Releases Firefox OS Simulator 3.0

Rotation simulation is one of the newest features.

Three months after it released Version 1.0 of the Firefox OS Simulator, Mozilla is releasing Version 3.0. A lightweight mobile OS based on HTML5, the Firefox OS (once known as “Boot to Gecko”) offers a user interface highly reminiscent of Google Android and Apple iOS, with grids of icons linked to applications.

A March 13 posting on Hacks.Mozilla.org admitted that Version 3.0 is still a “bit rough around the edges,” but that the decision was made to release it. “We’re Mozilla,” the posting explained. “We do things in the open, and we share our progress. Because we want you to know what’s going on and to be able to come along with us in the process.”

But there’s also some pragmatism in that nobility. Releasing the rough-around-the-edges version “gives you [a] unique opportunity to test it out, give feedback, contribute and much more before it’s released.”

New features include a rotation simulation, a basic geo-location API simulation, stability fixes related to installation and app-updating, and newer versions of the Firefox rendering engine and Gaia (the latter is the user interface for Firefox OS). There’s also Push-to-Device, which allows the user to push apps from the Firefox OS Simulator to an existing device supporting Firefox OS via USB.

Mozilla is also posting some cautions with this version. There’s incomplete Windows support, and anyone playing around with the Simulator needs to ensure they’re running the latest version of Firefox OS. Remote bugging must be enabled on the device. Mozilla also had a very specific piece of advice:

On Linux (at least Ubuntu), you must create the file /etc/udev/rules.d/51-android.rules as root and then add a manufacturer-specific entry for the device as described by Android’s Setting up a Device for Development. Example for one of our test devices:entry:

SUBSYSTEM=="usb", ATTR{idVendor}==" 19d2", MODE="0666", GROUP="plugdev"

As part of its big unveiling at Mobile World Congress in February, Mozilla claimed that some 17 operators around the world have committed to the Firefox OS initiative, including China Unicom, Sprint, MegaFon, and the Telecom Italia Group. That being said, many of these firms made public statements of support without indicating when they would actually add Firefox OS smartphones to their respective portfolios.

Mozilla is also working with LG, ZTE and Alcatel to build the first generation of Firefox OS devices, with Huawei expected to follow in their footsteps later in 2013.

 

Image: Mozilla

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