Firefox Mobile OS Gets Green Light

Stephen Yagielowicz

LOS ANGELES — Mozilla has announced that its highly anticipated, HTML5-based Open Source mobile operating system is set to bear the familiar Firefox brand name.

Intended to power the next generation of Smartphones, including lower-cost devices targeting emerging markets, the new OS was built on the “Boot to Gecko project,” and promises to make all of a device’s capabilities available to HTML5 applications.

Mozilla says that hundreds of millions of people worldwide use Mozilla Firefox “to discover, experience, and connect to the web on computers, tablets and mobile phones” — a number of customers that it hopes to greatly expand, while serving even better.

“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,” states a Mozilla release, which notes that technical documentation has been submitted to W3C for standardization.

Mozilla CEO Gary Kovacs explains that the introduction of its new mobile OS “continues the Mozilla mission to promote openness, innovation and opportunity on the web for users and developers.”

“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,” Kovacs stated. “The large number of operators and manufacturers now supporting this effort will bring additional resources and diversity to our global offerings.”

According to Mozilla, a wide range of global support is being shown to its mobile OS initiative by leading providers — including Deutsche Telekom, Etisalat, Smart, Sprint, Telecom Italia, Telefonica and Telenor.

“Mobile operating systems natively based on HTML5 will lower the barriers to provide our customers with performing and innovative mobile applications and services,” Telecom Italia’s Cesare Sironi commented. “Open web technologies are the key for the development of a sustainable and valuable application ecosystem.”

The first Firefox OS powered device is expected to launch in Brazil, via Telefonica’s Vivo.

From an adult perspective, any technology that puts more powerful devices into the hands of consumers, and does so within an Open Source framework, is a positive thing. Mozilla’s move is another step in the deployment of HTML5, providing further incentive for adult developers to move into this vital standard, which will help open new audiences.