Product Engineering // Blog

A Sneak Peek at the Mozilla HTML5 Mobile Web Operating System

While Google’s Android, Apple’s iOS and Microsoft and Nokia’s Windows Phone are all competing for consumers’ attention, there is no clear leader in the mobile web marketplace at the moment. Mozilla is positioning itself to take on this role in 2012, as it plans to release the first HTML5-based operating system later this year.

At Mobile World Congress, held in Barcelona in February, Mozilla announced a partnership with Madrid-based Telefonica, the third largest mobile network operator in the world. Together, the two companies are designing the first open-source mobile operating system for devices. The platform will be based on Mozilla’s Boot to Gecko platform and has already been garnering interest from mobile app developers and tech journalists.

In a Tech Crunch article this week, Chris Velazco wrote:

Boot to Gecko’s big draw, if you hadn’t heard yet, is that it’s completely platform agnostic — all of the heavy lifting, from telephony to geolocation to messaging to hardware-accelerated graphics are handled with HTML5 and a slew of impressive APIs. Mozilla has been submitting those APIs (and those in the pipeline) to the W3C for standardization, and the end result in Mozilla’s words, will be a “complete standalone operating system for the open web.”

The Mozilla HTML5 Apps Marketplace

Mozilla’s move to create an HTML5-based operating system is exciting for mobile app developers and consumers because there is no existing marketplace to buy and sell HTML5 apps. Mozilla’s app market will facilitate easier distribution of mobile apps and allow for better growth and monetization of apps.

According to Mozilla:

The Mozilla Web Apps platform gives content owners, operators and service providers an unprecedented direct connection to their customers and limitless possibilities for consumer interaction and customized experiences, while also enjoying open and flexible billing options. What’s more, the “write once, deploy everywhere” nature of the platform will massively reduce the cost of creating, versioning and maintaining applications, enabling a truly open, standards-based Web that advances opportunity and innovation for all.

The Mozilla HTML5 apps marketplace will have three important features:

1. It will be based on open web technologies like HTML5, JavaScript and CSS.
2. New Mozilla-proposed APIs will be submitted to the W3C for standardization.
3. Users will be in control of their own content, linking mobile apps to the user and not the device or platform.

In a ReadWriteWeb article, Dan Rowinski predicted:

This is Mozilla’s chance to become a major player in the mobile ecosystem. It can chip away at the base of the native platforms while setting itself up to be the location that developers flock to with mobile Web apps.

We are looking forward to seeing more developments from the Mozilla HTML5 OS over the course of the year.

Contact Applico to learn more about creating a custom mobile solution for your company.

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