Mozilla calls these Firefox OS smartphones open Web devices, and wants them usher in a new way of developing for mobile devices that embraces open Web standards instead of closed, proprietary approaches. Despite some visual similarities, Firefox OS is not like Apples iOS or Googles Android, much less like BlackBerry or Microsofts Windows Phone. These are platforms that run on operating systems built with native code specific to that platform. They all feature browsers that handle quite a bit of a smartphone’s basic functions, but they still live in proprietary ecosystems. As such, they’re all vying for developer attention to their platforms, with varying degrees of success.
The Mozilla Foundation, the creator of the Firefox web browser, has just entered the mobile operating system fray, launching its Firefox OS on a line of smartphones. The phone and its new operating system, is intended to appeal particularly to users in emerging markets who may be first-time smartphone users. Firefox OS is an open-source, browser-based mobile operating system. That means that apps that run on the phone are not tied to an operating system as users of other devices are to Apples iOS or Android. That makes it a lot easier for users to switch phones, since their content is not tied to a particular operating system, and Firefox OS open-source platform means that anyone who can write a page for the web should be able to create an app.
Firefox OS brings the freedom and unbounded innovation of the open Web to mobile users everywhere. With the support of vibrant community and dedicated partners, their goal is to level the playing field and usher in an explosion of content and services that will meet the diverse needs of the next two billion people online.