What is Firefox OS?

Apr 9, 2013

Firefox OS is the name of a new operating system for mobile devices. Developed by Mozilla, Firefox OS is open source and free. It is built on a Linux kernel with Gecko engine. Unlike other proprietary mobile platforms, Firefox OS will run applications built entirely on HTML5, JavaScript and open web APIs. So, Firefox OS is bringing an unique approach to mobile operating systems. Devices running on Firefox OS are expected to hit the markets in first half of year 2013.

Firefox OS

About Firefox OS:

This mobile operating system was first announced on July 25, 2011. The project was initially named “Boot to Gecko”. In July, 2012, Boot to Gecko was renamed as Firefox OS. Main components of Firefox OS include a Linux kernel (Gonk), Gecko runtime engine and Gaia user interface. The Gaia is written in HTML, JavaScript and CSS. It interacts with the operating system layer (Gonk) via Open Web API.

Firefox OS Start Page

Following features will be supported by Firefox OS: home screen, lock screen, keyboard, dialer, contacts, messages, email, browser, camera, photo gallery, music, video, FM radio, task manager, status bar, settings, calendar, marketplace etc. With Firefox OS, search experience will be different. Deep contextual search will find more information than any native search app on today’s mobiles. Users will also be able to create a one-time use or downloadable application just by entering a search term.

In February, 2013, Mozilla previewed the first commercial build of the operating system and announced commercial roll-out plans. According to Mozilla, mobile handset manufacturers like LG, ZTE and Alcatel (TCL) will build the first wave of Firefox OS devices.

Firefox OS Screen Icons

Firefox OS Devices:

Firefox OS devices will have all the basic features of a standard mobile phone. For example: calling, messages, email, camera and more. There will be small number of buttons. For example: home button, power button and volume control rocker. Pressing home button will open the application launcher. Holding down the home button will open card switching view. Firefox OS devices will also come with smartphone features such as location services, social networking, web browser, application marketplace etc.

Firefox OS Calls

Availability:

According to Mozilla, Firefox OS devices will hit the consumer market in first half of 2013. The first batch of Firefox OS devices will be released by América Móvil, Deutsche Telekom, Telefónica and Telenor in following countries: Brazil, Colombia, Montenegro, Hungary, Mexico, Spain, Poland, Serbia, and Venezuela. All Firefox OS devices will be powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon processor.

Compatibility or porting:

Is it possible to use Firefox OS with other mobile devices? According to the developers, Firefox OS can be ported to any modern mobile phone with ARM-based CPU. The minimum requirement is ARMv6. But to fully use all the features of the operating system, the device must have at least Cortex A5 or ARMv7a CPU, Adreno 200 GPU, Accelerometer, Ambient light sensor, proximity sensor, A-GPS, 3G, Wi-Fi etc.

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