Why Firefox Mobile OS Is An Actual Game Changer

The Mozilla Foundation today announced plans to release a new mobile OS in the next couple of years. The OS has already gained the support of many phone carriers. Firefox OS has a lot of competitors in the field like iOS, Android, and Windows Phone 8. However, perhaps the best part about Firefox OS is that it is truly open. Companies like Google, Apple, and Microsoft do not have 100% open platforms like Firefox will. The other side of this is that the Firefox OS will allow you access to the entire phone functionality. Meaning, developers can code using HTML5 and JavaScript to build native applications, and even have access to the phone, SMS functions and other functions that are traditionally only available to native apps through programming languages like Objective-C, Java, or Appcelerator Titanium (a framework for building native apps).


Any way you look at it, this will change mobile somehow. Google isn’t exactly great at coming up with their own unique ideas. However, I’m willing to bet we will see Android adapt some of these concepts before Firefox OS goes live. Maybe they will call it Chrome Mobile.

Here are three reasons the OS will succeed and three reasons it will fail:

HTML5 isn’t beautiful in User Experience.
Apple has proven to us that beauty means a lot. Google recently announced that the Nexus 7 tablet “runs like butter” and “is beautiful” so there is an obvious demand for great running, beautiful apps. On the other hand, there will always be a demand for offline apps as well. HTML5 brings a huge market to mobile and allows for many more apps to become available to mobile devices. But there will probably always be a need for “wonderfully beautiful apps” and those will be native.

Firefox Mobile will be 7 years too late
The iPhone is 5 years old, and Firefox mobile isn’t slated to release until 2013. With Android and iOS already having a huge market share and a large developer ecosystem, it will be much harder for an OS to make its way into the market.

Firefox will lose momentum with the recent market share increase of Chrome
Even with Google’s “Don’t be evil” mantra, they sure are pretty evil. Google has been copying almost every move Firefox makes in the browser market. Not only that, they are using their wide spread presence to push Chrome onto their mobile users as well as search engine users. With the recent decline in Firefox’s market share and the fact the OS won’t release until 2013, people might just forget what Firefox is, and diminish the brand quality that Firefox once used to enjoy only a few years ago.

Three Reasons Firefox Mobile Will be Awesome!

It’s Entirely Open, Even The Phone APIs
Firefox OS will allow you to script into the phone APIs. This means you can control the phone functionality, as well as SMS functionality. This is a feature no previous phone operating system has made available to date.

Firefox is non-profit and community motivated
Android can claim to be “open source” or “open” all day long. The fact of the matter is, Google is making over a billion dollars a year and is a for profit company. Firefox is not; they are a foundation that is trying to build what’s best for us developers and people. That ensures the platform will stay open and not be corporately owned.

It’s HTML5 Based
Yes, HTML5 is also one of the things against the OS, but it’s also one of the reasons it will be plain awesome. HTML5 is flexible, open, and creating an OS based on it just proves that it might replace native apps in the near future. There is no “native vs HTML5” debate on this OS; build once and you’re done. HTML5 gone native–we can’t ask for much more than that!

6 thoughts on “Why Firefox Mobile OS Is An Actual Game Changer

  1. So basically it’s just a rehash of webOS? Can someone explain to me how it’s better than webOS – besides being 100% open source I can’t really see anything groundbreaking.

    1. It’s only ground breaking in the fact that the entire OS is written in HTML5 and you have access to all parts including text messages. Most os’s don’t allow you programmable access most of the phone.

      However, I see this as a bad thing as well. Welcome to the hacking of people’s information.

      1. Thanks for the article. I’m excited to hear more about this as the launch date approaches.

        Be careful when you say things like “the entire OS is written in HTML5”, because I think it will confuse a lot of people. Its written so that developers can use HTML5, but the OS itself is probably written in C++, with some javascript (like Firefox is).

  2. I like your points. I think they’re all fair and I agree that Firefox Mobile OS has a good shot at success. I’d like to clarify one thing. When you say

    “Android can claim to be “open source” or “open” all day long. The fact of the matter is, Google is making over a billion dollars a year and is a for profit company. Firefox is not; they are a foundation that is trying to build what’s best for us developers and people. That ensures the platform will stay open and not be corporately owned.”

    I see that as a positive as well. However, I don’t have a problem with software (or hardware) being both open source as well as profitable. Open source isn’t a philosophy which is diametrically opposed to profits (i.e. Ubuntu, Redhat, etc). Hell, even strict non-profits to indeed turn a profit.

    Still, I don’t disagree with your points and I think you did a good job expressing your thoughts here.

    1. Thanks for your response. I agree with you, I think open source software should be profitable. You worded it better than I did. What I wanted to say was, certain parts of android is open source. Does google provide the source code to it’s search algorithms? To the parts of android core? As far as I know they don’t, so it’s hard to claim that the software is all open source.

      Any thoughts?

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