Firefox OS to be the VWBeetle of mobile


Mozilla bringing the internet to people who cannot afford or get Android or iOS

Mozilla's top evangelist has claimed the company will revolutionise the mobile space with its new operating system, Firefox OS.

Christian Heilmann, principle evangelist at Mozilla, stated at Mobile World Congress that the company is creating a new opportunity on mobile that will provide more choice, and that will open up access to the full web for developing markets.

Heilmann told Smart Chimps: 'Mozilla is the reason the internet is how it is right now; we stood up to Internet Explorer and opened the web up. Now we're doing the same on mobile. Anyone that can work with HTML5 can work with Firefox OS.

'We are creating another opportunity on mobile, not replacing iOS or Android, but we want to bring the internet to people who can't afford or get Android or iOS for whatever reason. We are giving people a choice,' he continued. 'This is there to replace feature phones in places where other operating systems are too expensive for the market, but because of HTML5 it is also the operating system for geeks; you can do anything with it.'

Firefox OS is set to become one of the dominant operating systems in the market globally, said Heilmann. 'Firefox OS is now the third alternative, but in a couple of years I see it being a major player, because of the countries we are aiming at, which need this, and because you have the whole power and creativity of the web with it. I'm not going to say it will be number one, as there is a place for the Android's and iOS's, but this will be the VW Beetle of phone operating systems; everyone can afford it, everyone can drive it, and everyone can fix it without having to give it to a special mechanic every two months.'

Firefox OS is a completely opensource, lightweight operating system, which makes it easy to surf the web and to programme. One of its features is it allows users to view recommended apps rather than a long list, and then lets people try them out before downloading the full application. Another is the ability to only download the specific parts of updates that are actually new, so users do not have to use up their data allowance while clogging the network and slowing down their device, with something they possibly do not need.

Heilmann commented: 'If you need functionality that isn't already included in Firefox, you can make it. As it's lightweight, you've always got enough RAM and processing power to be able to optimise the experience for the end user; the end user should never be punished by our mistakes,' he said, speaking from a developer's point of view. 'If you need a 1.6GHz update for an app, that's your mistake as the developer.'

He added that the number of mobile operator partners the Firefox OS has attracted at launch is a positive sign for the future of the operating system: 'I thought it would be hard, hard, hard to move into this area, but by innovating things and opening them up, people just come.'


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