Blogs

Best practices and trends in technology

Firefox OS

Jan 12, 2015

The mobile market may still essentially be a two horse race, with Android and iOS enjoying a significant lead, but there are lots of upstarts trying to make inroads too. One of those is Firefox OS, Mozilla’s attempt to bring a web-first focus on smartphones. One has to respect a company or organization that tries to reinvent itself. So when an organization such as Mozilla, makers of the once uber-popular Firefox browser, decides to move step up way beyond its comfort zone and try to make a full-fledged mobile operating system, they know people will pay attention. This article is not a review but just presents information on and about Firefox.

Mozilla claims to transform the future with Firefox OS with the mission;

“We’re out to make a difference, not a profit. When you choose Firefox OS, You’re helping build a brighter future for the web and users everywhere.”

Let’s check out what this Firefox OS is and what it offers, please note this is not a rev. Firefox OS is open source and therefore free from proprietary technology and is the result of this long-term bet for Mozilla and, even though it’s still in its dormancy, it has its fair share of fans and enthusiasts. Mozilla is using very similar talking points that Google used when Android was launched: Open, customizable, free for the Man! Except that carriers will be able to bend Firefox OS to their will.

In a nutshell, Firefox OS is a Linux-based OS that boots up into a Gecko-based environment that looks like the lovechild of iOS and Android. Every user-facing element of Firefox OS, from the UI (Gaia), to the dialer, to the apps, is programmed using open web technologies like HTML, JavaScript, and CSS — and rendered using Gecko, the exact same rendering engine used by desktop and mobile versions of the Firefox web browser.

Firefox OS aims at putting the power of the Web in people’s hand. The advantage of Firefox OS is that it is built to completely open Web standards. With this it has garnered significant industry support since it was introduced at MWC 2013. Devices have quickly commanded market share in Latin America and gone on sale in 14 markets including nine in Europe, with four operators and three handset manufacturers. Its flexibility allows for easy customization to meet the unique needs of a localized consumer base that are ready to move from feature phones to smartphones. But 2013 was just the beginning. In 2014, Mozilla has announced the launch of Firefox 2.0 and plans to differentiate the user experience and the Partners are growing the portfolio of devices.

Firefox OS is also expanding to additional form factors, as partners and contributors work to optimize the software for TVs, tablets and other devices. Panasonic has announced a partnership with Mozilla to release next-generation smart TVs powered by Firefox OS. Geeksphone has been an early Firefox OS hardware supporter, and now it has launched a higher-end device with the ability to dual-boot to both Android and Firefox OS out of the box.

Firefox OS, the mobile operating system Mozilla hopes will loosen the grasp Google and Apple hold over the mobile market, whether you define it as a free OS, a low-end OS, a developing market OS, there’s already something out there and already selling handsets. Android fills all those roles mentioned above, and it does it well especially at the higher-end. Firefox OS has a big task to achieve.

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