In lines with the Ubuntu Touch announcement at Mobile World Congress, Mozilla announced that they will be releasing devices with their new Firefox OS aboard to a number of different countries including Brazil, Colombia, Hungary, Mexico, Montenegro, Poland, Serbia, Spain, and Venezuela. I’m sure by now you are asking yourself, “What is Firefox OS”. You are not alone.
At AnDevCon last year I was able to catch a talk by one of the project leads for Firefox OS. Firefox OS is essentially a version of Android. Though, instead of having what we would refer to in the mobile world as native applications, Firefox OS would run all web/HTML5 applications. If I had to compare it to any other device that is out right now I would compare it to a Chromebook. Both OS’s are essentially just a browser and only run web apps. With Firefox OS, even the main applications like the camera and dialer are HTML5.
To me, I think this is interesting. Just as the Chromebook has it’s limitations, I think that any phone running Firefox OS will also have it’s limitations. A lot of the limitations come from the speed of the hardware as well as the efficiency of rendering HTML5. I think Firefox OS will have a tough time gaining traction against the heavy hitters of Android and iOS right now.
I do like how Firefox OS and Ubuntu are trying to get to a standard of using HTML5 for applications. If could write the same thing for every platform and have it behave the same, this would save a ton of development time and costs associated with mobile projects. This does go to show that if you are already creating fast and efficient hybrid apps, you may be a step ahead of the curve as with each new technology, the support is there for these types of applications.
If you are feeling adventurous and you have a Sony Xperia E, you can try out Firefox OS for yourself. Just follow the guide here.