Boot to Gecko was a hot topic during the recent Mobile World Congress in February and yesterday, Mozilla announced that the industry support, or at least carrier support, is growing behind its plans to launch a new fully open mobile ecosystem based on HTML5. The operating system, which Mozilla now unveiled, will use its Firefox brand and is said to will power the launch of smartphones built entirely to open Web standards, where all of the device's capabilities can be developed as HTML5 applications. Previously know under its code-name "Boot to Gecko", Firefox Mobile OS is mapping to key Firefox footprints around the globe.
Leading operators such as Deutsche Telekom, Etisalat, Smart, Sprint, Telecom Italia, Telefónica/O2 and Telenor are backing the open Firefox OS as an exciting new entrant to the smartphone marketplace. They have also identified the potential of the technology to deliver compelling smartphone experiences at attainable prices. Chinese device manufacturers TCL Communication Technology (which mostly builds devices under under the Alcatel One Touch brand) and ZTE announced their intentions to manufacture the first devices to feature the new Firefox OS, using Snapdragon processors from Qualcomm. The first Firefox OS powered devices are expected to launch commercially in Brazil in early 2013 through Telefónica's commercial brand, Vivo.
The Firefox OS for mobile devices is furthermore said to unlock 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. Telefónica's Digital unit joined forces with Mozilla earlier this year to take this work and showcase a new phone architecture where every phone feature (calling, messaging, games, etc.) is an HTML5 application.
Due to the optimization of the platform for entry-level smartphones and the removal of unnecessary middleware layers, mobile operators will have the ability to offer richer experiences at a range of price points including at the low end of the smartphone price range, helping to drive adoption across developing markets.
Mozilla and all other participants are committed to ensuring the project is fully open and the reference implementation of the required Web APIs is being submitted to W3C for standardization.
Cheers ~ Arne