Firefox OS preview from MWC 2013
The Firefox OS is open source and based on HTML5 but is it good enough to compete?
Mozilla is making a lot of noise at Mobile World Congress 2013 with its Firefox OS and we finally had a chance to check out this open-source platform on some real hardware.
We played with the Firefox OS on a reference ZTE device and it's by no means a powerhouse. In fact, I've heard it being described as a "toy" by others who have played with it. Still, it's just a vessel for the Firefox OX.
The Firefox OS is an open source platform that's built around HTML5. It is meant to be a modern smartphone platform that incorporates touch from the ground up. In my brief time with it, I do have to admit that it's pretty smooth and relatively responsive.
The Firefox OS recently introduced the Marketplace as a central repository for apps and it said that many popular web apps already have an HTML5 version, so it will be very simple to port that to Firefox OS. My brief time with it did show off some of the apps that you expect, including Facebook, Box, Twitter, Cut the Rope and more.
The Firefox OS is an interesting experience, as the company is a not-for-profit, so it can experiment with this operating system to push web standards forward. The open source nature also means that carriers and handset makers will be able to customize the heck out of this and install their own app stores that they control and revenues from.
My major concern about Firefox OS is that I'm not sure HTML5 is ready for prime time. Facebook has admitted that one of its biggest mistakes was making a big bet on HTML5 for its mobile apps and I think it's still just too difficult for developers to make great mobile apps using this. Time will tell though and I'm very interested to see how this develops.