Mobile

What is Firefox OS?


Put your hands together in welcoming another mobile OS. Not just any OS but the one that is going to revolutionize the web standards. “Boot to Gecko” was the code name given to Mozilla Corporation initiated Firefox Mobile operating system before its name was changed during July 2012. Firefox OS is the new operating system for smartphones and tablets. It harnesses the goodness of HTML5 to the fullest to integrate the devices hardware directly by using JavaScript.

The project was announced Dr. Andreas Gal, Director of Research in July 25 2011. Right now the OS is available publicly as an open source for you to try. You can download the latest release from the link below. With the help of the Firefox addon you can install it on your PC and get a taste of the latest OS. You can also test the apps from its marketplace using this addon

Download Firefox Build

“Our strong focus is on high quality and distinctive design in the marketplace” says Mozilla’s Patryk Adamczyk. To complement his words we find the new Firefox OS Website to be quite revolutionary. Well the website is responsive but it is no big deal these days as most of the new websites that come out are mobile friendly, but wait till you get to the Marketplace page. The dropping animation of app icons use the new jquery physics plugin Box2D is stunning and dynamic. Every time you refresh the page the icons doesn’t fall the same way. While the plugin is still in its alpha stage the project is quite interesting.

What does this new OS mean?

The phone’s functions like calling, messaging, calendar are all based on HTML5. Which means that to develop them developers will no longer need to learn and develop against platform-specific native APIs. Using HTML5 and the new Mozilla-proposed standard APIs, developers everywhere will be able to create amazing experiences and apps.

Firefox is in talks with phone manufactures and have already got few supporting them already. As stated by mashable’s recent post, China’s two largest phone manufactures ZTE and TCL, have said they will build Firefox OS handsets. The first Firefox OS handsets are expected to be released by 2013. Strategy Analytics forecasted that Firefox OS would account for 1% of the global smartphone market in 2013.

The APPS MDN gives the developers community all the resource needed to start developing install-able websites. While the Firefox OS marketplace already has few apps and more are coming in as we speak. Twitter’s official app has already been released for Firefox OS.

Just like Mozilla’s popular browser Firefox which has paved way for high web standards and is completely open source, the Firefox OS too does not use any propriety software. Mozilla’s Director of Research said “We use completely open standards and there’s no proprietary software or technology involved.” This is a good news for OEM and telecom providers as they can start customizing their content for the consumers.

And for the consumers – us, we don’t have to get used to the new phone when need to change one. Imagine this like upgrading or buying new computer, but once you install your preferred OS on your new PC you know what to do and it becomes immediately comfortable. There is no learning curve or need for exploration. Now it will be the same kind with Firefox enabled mobiles.

Few sightings

Many tech enthusiasts have already tried Firefox OS on their Android devices and their feedback are quite positive. While look and feel resembles any other mobile OS the design of it certainly different and clean.

The Firefox OS is very young and its latest build (link given above) is still buggy. There are a lot of room for improvements and more are being done at the Brazil research center. So let us hope to see a beautifully designed and consumer friendly OS very soon. And as usual I will keep you posted on the updates as and when it happens.

Let me know what do you think of the new OS in the comments below.

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