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Sunday, July 8, 2012

Firefox OS- An open source OS

      Mozilla has its complete focus on materializing its dreams to launch a fully Open Source  mobile Operating System based on open web standards particularly, HTML 5. The project was to revealed to the masses last year and was then known as  Boot to gecko, B2G. Now it has been renamed as Firefox OS and Mozilla is committed to bringing the open Web to mobile devices. Read on as I give details about the project, its features, provide a few screen shots, give particulars about its launch date and more.

So what is Firefox Os?: Firefox Os developed by Mozilla Corporation is based on Boot to Gecko project and aims to support HTML 5 apps written using open web technologies rather than native APIs. The platform and OS was developed to provide an alternative to major Operating systems including Android and iOS and bring open web to mobile devices.
  
The Firefox OS unlocks many of the current limitations of web development on mobile, allowing HTML5 applications to access the underlying capabilities of a phone, previously only available to native applications. The idea is essentially to have every user accessible software running on the phone be a web app that uses advanced HTML5 techniques and device APIs to access the phone's hardware directly via JavaScript. Image to the left shows a few aspects of the OS: [Image credit: Techcrunch]

Is it similar to Android and iOS?  To be exact, it is very much an OS like Android, iOS and Windows Phone but differs widely with them. It is fully open source (Android OS is also Open source since its launch.) and aims to promote open web standards. Firefox OS aims at bringing a better smartphone experience to a higher proportion of the population at a lower cost. An OS based on HTML 5 would make it easier for network carriers and developers to provide better applications and services to the users by eliminating various platform based restriction.

Where would the apps for Firefox OS come from?: Mozilla has made clear in a statement that it is working on creating an App store for its Firefox OS users. Mozilla has said that since more than 75% of Android and iOS apps are already written in HTML 5, developers can easily port their apps in to the app store and users would be able to access all these apps without worrying about any restrictions. Now, that's the advantage of Open Web.

On which devices would users be able to use Firefox OS? When Boot to Gecko project was announced, it was made clear that OS is meant to be an alternative to Android and iOS and users would be able to use the open web OS on most of 
the Android devices easily. However, seeing the potential of the open web standards, a variety of hardware manufacturers and network carriers have already partnered with Mozilla. Device manufacturers TCL Communication Technology (under the Alcatel One Touch brand) and ZTE have announced their intentions to manufacture the first devices to feature the new Firefox OS. Mozilla has also announced that Adobe and Qualcomm are also supporting their project. Mozilla has also made a deal with Qualcomm to provide Snapdragon processors for their devices.

The Firefox OS based devices would be targeted towards the lower end markets. This would mean that those devices would have to compete mostly with Android devices. It is still quite unclear whether major hardware manufacturers such as HTC, Samsung, Sony, etc would ever give Firefox OS a try and hence the overall probability of the success or failure of the Firefox OS is very low.

When would these Firefox OS bases devices come in the market? The first Firefox OS powered devices would be commercially released in the market of Brazil by early 2013 through Telefonica's commercial brand Vivo. They would be released in US and UK by Q2 of 2013.

A few Screen Shots of the Firefox OS: Here are a few screen shots of the UI of the Firefox UI

                    



[Image Credits: Ibnlive.com,Theverge.com and trutower.com]

Do you think Firefox OS would be able to make space for itself in the crowded smartphone market? Provide your views by commenting below. Stay tuned for more updates on the developments of the OS.









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