Firefox OS for Smartphones Set to Release Early 2013

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Earlier this week at the Mobile 2.0 event, Mozilla gave a presentation of the soon-to-be-released Firefox OS, previously named Boot 2 Gecko (B2G).

Firefox OSThe upcoming smartphone operating system will be optimized for lower-end devices. To show this off, Mozilla ran its OS demonstration on an 800 MHz single-core ARM processor, which reportedly ran both the operating system and apps quickly and efficiently despite the hardware’s relatively low specs.

An Overview of this OS

The Firefox OS design will consist of the Mozilla Gecko layout engine and JIT JavaScript compiler running directly on a hardware abstraction layer sitting on top of a generic Linux kernel. The kernel will be actually similar to the Android kernel, which will make it easier for OEMs to port the OS to existing hardware.

In addition, the hardware abstraction layer will provide Gecko and JavaScript hooks to the low-level pieces, meaning that Mozilla will be able to write the user interface and all apps, including the phone’s lock and home screens and dialer.

The Firefox OS ecosystem will include an app store, though it will not be a walled garden. This means that users will be able to download apps from any source, including web apps running in browser, as they will have access to the same JavaScript APIs as installable apps.

In the future there will be an app submission process, and apps will have to meet a certainly quality and guidelines to be accepted into the store. Additionally Mozilla will keep a percentage of the sales from all apps sold via its app store.

Telefonica, the multinational mobile operator, has partnered with Mozilla and is backing Firefox OS, providing resources and even launching the first Firefox OS phone. The handset is set to release in Brazil sometime early 2013. The phones are set to sell for $100 USD. Telefonica has yet to reveal who is producing the hardware for the Brazil launch, although both TCL Alcatel and ZTE have both announced that they intend to build Firefox OS devices.

In addition to the release in Brazil, Mozilla expects that Firefox OS phones will be available in one European country and three Latin American countries shortly after the 2013 launch. In addition at least one Chinese operation is also said to be interested in Firefox OS.



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