Not content to let Google and Canonical have all the fun in the mobile OS space, Mozilla, the guys behind the popular Firefox web browser, have been hard at work at their own mobile operating system. Today they announced their own developer phone, to allow applications to be developed for the system.
Firefox OS is built entirely using open web standards; in other words, it makes heavy use of HTML 5 for its apps. What makes it different is that developers can use phone features within their apps do – they can make the phone vibrate, make a phone call or send a text message, all with simple HTML5.
The developer phone itself is a fairly standard affair, featuring a single core 1ghz Snapdragon processor, 512 MB RAM, a 3.5-inch HVGA touchscreen and a 3-megapixel camera on the rear. Obviously the specifications will not set the world alight, but these developer phones are meant to be for testing purposes only.
Mozilla claim that the difference they will bring to the mobile space is the same openness that made their browser a success. They aim to make the web accessible to everyone. This is highlighted by Mozilla’s store model which ensures developers and users don’t get locked in to a vendor-controlled ecosystem. Developers can distribute apps through the Firefox Marketplace, their own website, or any other store based on Mozilla’s open app store technology.
Those wishing to try Firefox OS right now can either install Marketplace for Android on any Android phone or use the browser-based Firefox OS Simulator to view and test your mobile app on the desktop business collaboration software. Whether Mozilla will have much success in a highly competitive market remains to be seen, however, they have correctly identified that you need developer support if you are to stand any chance of making inroads.
Thanks for reading,