Rating: Yet another mobile OS enters the market
Just when you thought the mobile OS sector was fragmented enough – with the likes of BlackBerry, bada and Windows Phone 7 (W7 Mango) already struggling, here comes another completely new mobile OS. Enter Firefox mobile OS brought to you by popular browser supplier, Mozilla. Unfortunately for native mobile app developers, this one stands a very good chance of succeeding. The reasons? Well, firstly this OS is based around HTML5 technology and unless GoMobile News is hallucinating, that means all existing mobile apps written using HTML5 will run on it. Secondly, Firefox OS has a whole bunch of Tier One mobile network operators behind it. Thirdly, two prominent Chinese handset manufacturers – ZTE and TCL, have already committed to it. Finally, this OS is attacking a very clearly defined niche – namely entry-level (read low cost) handsets built for emerging markets.
Take a look at the list of mobile operators backing Firefox OS. It includes: – Deutsche Telekom, Etisalat, Smart, Sprint, Telecom Italia, Telefónica, and Telenor. That’s pretty impressive.
The aim is to get Firefox OS devices out into the market by 2013. GoMobile News can see this happening.
When GoMobile News first encountered ZTE at a Windows Mobile launch in Portugal, the company was already claimed that its handset platform is OS agnostic. So running Firefox OS isn’t a problem.
That said, TCL Communication Technology which now owns the Alcatel mobile phone brand has already established a strong record for producing handsets which are re-badged by the leading mobile network operators. Including Vodafone, we believe.
This is the key claim from Mozilla. It says’ the Firefox mobile OS, “unlocks many of the current limitations of web development on mobile, allowing HTML5 applications to access the underlying capabilities of a phone, previously only available to native applications.”
Here we go again. Another Java where you write once and run anywhere’. Plus Firefox will run on Qualcomm’s SnapDragon processors, so another potential bottleneck is avoided.
It is blatantly obvious that the Firefox mobile OS is aimed at taking the smartphone app experience into markets which Apple has priced itself right out of.
Who will this impact on the OS front? Well, the prime candidates are bada and Windows Phone 7.5 (W7 Mango). They both have relatively small userbases whereas HTML5 has a huge potential userbase.
GoMobile News has seen similar initiatives fall by the wayside, however. Vodafone’s 360 is a classic and then there’s SavaJe. Remember that? It was based on Java.
GoMobile News can’t be certain that this mobile OS will succeed. But what we do know is that it will be massively disruptive in the mobile app development sector.
Our view? Get into HTML5 development now because even if Firefox OS fails, such apps will run on other platforms, too.