Firefox OS 2.0 – The Web On The Phone

April 15, 2014 1:49 PM


Android, iOS, Tizen, Ubuntu, Chrome, Windows, Blackberry, Symbian and now Firefox OS, there’s a lot of options for the phones we’re always on these days. Everybody wants to have the latest and high-end specs when we flash our phones and what it can do now-a-days. Firefox OS 2.0 seems to have taken an approach that is different from all the others, low specs hardware and high-end action. Will it pay off? Let’s take a look.

Mozilla’s Firefox OS a.k.a Boot to Gecko a.k.a. B2G, debuted as Firefox 1.0 in October 2013. A frustrating experience for the delegates at the ZTE convention, the experience was better when the OS updated itself to v. 1.8. With the power of the internet and web apps harnessed enough, and the overall experience a step up from the previous one, people still left Firefox OS 1.8 with some valuable feedback about the UI. Mozilla has focused for too long on the skeleton of the OS, and the feedback suggested working on the UI next, distinguishing itself from looking like a cheap version of Android. Talk about beauty being skin deep.

A blog post from Sören Hentzschelm, a German representative of Mozilla and other blogs leaked images of Firefox 2.0’s metamorphosis from an ugly duckling to the proverbial white swan. Take a look at the pace and direction Firefox is moving in ever since it last released Firefox 1.8, just weeks ago in March 2014.

Any iOS user would be quick to notice the design similarities between, the minimalistic, flat yet appealing look of Firefox OS 2.0 and iOS7. Imitation is the best form of flattery, and Firefox seems to have nicked a few pages from iOS’s design handbook. However, this is just the design preview and not the final product. The use of bold colours and square tiled notifications is not necessarily trademark Apple property, but one never knows.Hopefully Mozilla tweaks the look and feel around to make it look less like iOS and more like its own.

The developer preview is cool though, seeing that they just released an update prior to the leak. Anticipation of a legal mess might be in the works if Mozilla chooses to take the direction it currently chose. Apple may drag Mozilla to court for patent infringement, seeing that Samsung is already being dragged around. This is not the kind of mess Mozilla needs to deal with, after they have been in the news recently for all the wrong reasons.

CNet, has also revealed that Mozilla seems to have a set of tricks up its sleeve. Apart from re-designing the look and feel of the OS, Firefox OS 2.0 will have several new features, including a find-my-phone system, an update to the Adaptive Search system, directly launch apps, and the much-loved copy and paste functionality. July 2014, sees the official testing of the updated Firefox OS 2.0. Mozilla plans to release Firefox OS 1.4, which will have 4G LTE connectivity, a new camera interface, and dual-SIM support before v. 2.0 sees the light of day.

Firefox OS Phone

The availability of all these features in a $25 phone, seems to have taken a lot of people by surprise. Carriers from countries like Spain, Portugal, Hungary, the US, Germany, and the UK have all joined Mozilla in developing handsets with the Firefox OS. Integrating the web and HTML5 based web apps across all platforms also allows developers to skilfully transform Firefox OS to run Android as well as web-based apps. With people trending with less is more, Firefox seems to target a market that the others have ignored.

Priced at $25, the phone is a replacement to the mid range priced average Android phone. To be able to beat Android and iOS, Firefox should not only look at the price but also look at making the best use of integrating the web and the smart phone. Mozilla is aiming at covering a modest 1% of the smart phone market by the end of the year.

The realistic goal Mozilla set has not escaped the notice of the others. Huawei China, and Sony Japan, have decided to release high-end phones and tablets with the OS. This gives it an easy entry into the high-end market and is unwittingly a smart move for Firefox.

As a tech enthusiast, I cannot wait for more information leaking out on Firefox’s OS 2.0. What does Firefox need to change? Would you like to see something in the final version. Let us know in the comments if the fox can outwit the bot or the apple for that matter.