Mozilla: Firefox OS two weeks from completion
Mozilla's forthcoming Firefox mobile operating system is just two weeks away from completion, the firm tells The Verge. Operator partner Telefónica previously announced it would begin selling the first Firefox-powered smartphones in early 2013.
Firefox OS (formerly Boot to Gecko) promises a new phone architecture that relies entirely on the Web to enable HTML5 applications with complete access to core device APIs. During a demonstration at this week's Consumer Electronics Show event in Las Vegas, Mozilla Lead Developer Christian Heilmann said the OS will leverage HTML5-based mobile app platform Everything.me to access sites' manifest files and organize them into distinct app categories.
"App markets right now are like the old Yahoo directory, which Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) came along and disrupted," Heilmann told CNet. "This could be like that."
Everything.me's technology eschews conventional download-based applications in favor of dynamically matching the content and services a smartphone user needs with the most relevant HTML5 apps available, either locally or from the cloud. Apps appear on the mobile device screen according to user intent and are instantly available for use whether the user has downloaded them or not. Mozilla made an unspecified venture capital investment into the Everything.me platform late last year.
Sid Stamm, Mozilla's lead privacy engineer, told CNet the firm also has developed a Firefox OS application security and privacy permission system that factors in both device components like Bluetooth and content elements like contacts. Stamm said most permissions will appear in list form when an app is initially installed, although Firefox may ask users to authorize other permissions when the app is first used.
"If we can make the questions about these permissions more relevant to the user at the time, that will make them make more informed decisions." Stamm said. "We can't do it all as [the app] being used, so in Firefox OS we take a hybrid approach."
Firefox devices will be priced in the same range as feature phones; Mozilla is collaborating with ZTE to build the first wave of Firefox smartphones. In addition to Telefónica, Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S), Deutsche Telekom, Etisalat, Smart, Telecom Italia and Telenor also have announced their support for the Mozilla platform.
Mozilla, Telefonica lead investment in HTML5 platform Everything.me
Forecast: Firefox OS will power just 1 percent of smartphones shipped in 2013
ZTE to launch Firefox OS smartphones in shift away from Android
Sprint vows support for Mozilla's Firefox mobile OS
Mozilla, Telefónica target Brazil for Boot to Gecko smartphone launch
Mozilla partners with Telefónica for first Boot to Gecko smartphones