Everyone likes a good “Cinderella” story, but is Mozilla on the verge of being part of such a tale? Mozilla continues to release more and increasinging interesting information concerning their “Firefox OS” for smartphones; a potential competitor to the smartphone OS giants Apple and Google. With Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android with a virtual lock on the current smartphone market, it seems somewhat unlikely, but inevitable, that “someone” would rise to that challenge eventually. Blackberry and Windows seem all but incapable at the moment of mounting that kind of challenge… Blackberry because of their nearly insurmountable reputation as an uninspired “legacy” smartphone OS vendor (Blackberry 10 could change this, of course) and Microsoft because… because they are Microsoft and well known for their previously misguided attempts to push Windows technology into non-PC devices (think Zune!).
Mozilla, on the other hand, is well known for their huge (and continuing) success in the alternative browser arena. Their new project, originally known as “Boot2Gecko”, would see a new and very interesting approach brought to smartphone app development. Instead of using complex and/or proprietary languages to build these apps, Firefox OS would see these apps built using HTML5… truly becoming “Web apps”. While it is true that full smartphone functionality under HTML5 would require that certain Mozilla extensions to this standard development language would need to be adopted by W3C, nobody said that this effort would not be without its set of challenges. Keep in mind, however, that Mozilla already has significant (!) experience in developing, proposing and implementing new Web standards… the Firefox browser has long been one of the more W3C-friendly browsers around. Mozilla was also successful recently in convincing Samsung to add a “battery status” function API to the HTML code that forms the basis of Webkit; the open source browser code used by both Apple Safari and Google Chrome browsers.
Without any question, Mozilla has a long road ahead of them… as neither Apple or Google would or should take this challenge to their current dominance in this market lying down. Mozilla has recently announced the release of “GeeksPhone Keon”, a prototype “developer preview” device to show of the early capabilities of their Firefox OS. While not without the problems expected from any early “alpha”, the reviews surrounding the capabilities and the “polish” of this build have been quite positive. Expect to hear more about this new and exciting smartphone operating system in the future chapters of this developing “Cinderella” story still to be written…
Read more about this at… http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2013/03/firefox-os-hands-on-mozillas-plan-to-build-on-top-of-the-web/