In a recent statement, Mozilla Corporation has said that it has rebranded its own mobile phone operating system and has decided to call it the Firefox OS, in an effort to link it to the Firefox browser, the most popular product from the company. The devices that are going to be running this OS will most likely venture into the market only by next year and will be manufactured by TCL Communication Technology in Hong Kong and ZTE in China. Mozilla has also received support from network operators such as Sprint in the United States, Deutsche Telekom in Germany Abu Dhabi’s Etisalat, Smart Communications in the Philippines, Italy’s Telecom Italia, Spain’s Telefonica and Telenor in Norway.
The idea of a mobile OS was initially announced in 2011 when Mozilla had stated that it would be based on the Gecko browser engine that will render Firefox as an OS of its own, intended mainly for using internet based services. Till now, Firefox has not been allowed on the iOS, the most popular mobile phone platform which lead Mozilla to decide that the best way to increase the browser’s reach is to develop its own OS.
The interesting thing about Firefox OS is that it is built on HTML-5 standards, a standard that is still under development and every function of the OS is a separate application. For example, making and receiving calls is a HTML5 script that runs within the Firefox browser operating system. In addition, Mozilla has released several APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) for developers who wish to interface hardware for creating new applications. What Mozilla really seems to be taking pride in is that the OS can run on basic hardware and hence will most likely be used even in entry level phones giving potential customers the smartphone experience at a price that was never thought possible earlier.
Mozilla also announced that the OS is going to be open source which will mean that smartphone manufacturers are welcome to modify it and not have to pay for it, making it very similar to Google’s Android OS. Reactions to the announcement from Mozilla were rather mixed. On one side, analysts claim that the company has forayed too late into the market while others claim that it can capitalize on the monopoly it is going to have on low end smartphones. However, the fact remains that the key aspect to determining its success is going to be how the network operators receive it and choose to market it.