Monday, 4 March 2013

Firefox OS – another Mobile OS


Here comes another OS for smartphones to compete IOS, Android, Windows 8 and Blackberry OS. Is this a game changer? Let’s see the details

There is something interesting about this OS though the news did not excite me being a hardcore Android fan and user. Firefox OS is a Linux based open source OS developed by Mozilla that can integrate HTML 5 applications directly with hardware using JavaScript. The OS and apps are fully built based on the powerful features of HTML 5.

The concept of the OS is similar to Google Chromebook, treating website as apps, runs without native code. Also similar to Chrome OS, Firefox is a web browser running top of Linux.

HTML 5
Now the question comes about HTML 5. Is it powerful enough to replace Java or C++ and build entire mobile eco system? There was news about Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s comment about HTML 5, that it is not ready and Firefox made a big mistake by choosing HTML 5. HTML 5 developers took this challenge and created an app called Fastbook, which was extremely faster than IOS and Andropid versions of Facebook native app. 

Have a look at the video - http://vimeo.com/55486684. One thing which stopped me developing android app was Java and HTML 5 is a good start to create some since it’s extremely simple.

Architecture

Different layers of Firefox OS are

Gonk: - Middleware, which contains Linux kernel + Software Libraries + Hardware abstraction Layer à Runs on top of mobile chipset and drivers
Gecko: - Application runtime, which implements HTML 5 + CSS + JavaScript
Gaia: - User interface which includes Home screen + Application launcher


Devices
Sony has shown the guts to experiment with Firefox OS and launched Experia E for developers. Also the 1st smartphone should be released by July 2013, first in South Africa, and later to Asian and European markets (good that they choose African country to avoid competing with latest and powerful OS versions – Android 4.2 and IOS 7). Also Mozilla is working with other manufacturers – Alcatel, LG, ZTE and Huawei


Issues
Security will be a main concern since there is no native code and hackers started targeting smartphones these days.

The End
So, is this a game changer? I don’t think so at this point of time. Even though HTML 5 is good, not sure if it can create all apps available in Android, IOS and Windows 8. Anyway, it’s good as a develop to create few apps and explore the smartphone development



Reference



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