Android, iOS and Windows Phone… and soon there will be one more player, Mozilla. Mozilla has had a mobile phone OS called Boot 2 Gecko for a year, but it’s mainly just been geared towards open source tinkerers. Today, they announced that B2G would now be called ‘Firefox OS’, and would be coming to phone carriers internationally. The first Firefox OS phones will be in Brazil in 2013, with the US coming a little later.
The first Firefox OS devices are expected to launch in Brazil in 2013, through Telefonica’s Vivo. Device makers TCL Communication Technology, via its Alcatel One Touch brand, and ZTE plan to manufacture the first Firefox OS phones, which will be based on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon line of processors.
Firefox OS was announced last July under the name Boot 2 Gecko as an effort to build an open mobile operating system based on Web technologies. Mozilla’s primary benefactor, Google, already offers open-source mobile and Web-based operating systems, Android and Chrome OS. But Google’s openness is insufficiently open for Mozilla.
“The introduction of the open mobile OS continues the Mozilla mission to promote openness, innovation, and opportunity on the Web for users and developers,” said Mozilla CEO Gary Kovacs in a statement. “As billions of users are expected to come online for the first time in the coming years, it is important to deliver a compelling smartphone experience that anyone can use.”
Firefox OS aims to allow developers to create mobile apps using HTML5 atop a Linux-based operating system that anyone can modify. The two dominant makers of smartphones, Apple and Google, limit the ability of developers to alter their operating system code, and would-be challengers like Microsoft do the same.
HTML5, however, has not proven to be as appealing to developers of high-profile gaming projects as writing apps in native code. This is due to the immaturity of HTML5-oriented development tools, gaps in HTML5 compared to native APIs, and lingering performance issues, particularly related to audio.
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