Mozilla’s Boot to Gecko is now Firefox OS, and the company has a few manufacturers and carriers ready to support the new platform.
Mozilla announced the new name for the project today on its blog, and the company expects the first Firefox OS phone to land on Brazil’s Vivo carrier in early 2013. The other carriers involved in the project include Sprint, Deutsche Telekom, Etisalat, Smart, Telecom Italia, Telefónica (which owns Vivo), and Telenor.
Despite having so many carriers on board Mozilla only has two manufacturers: TCL Communication Technology and ZTE. TCL Communication Technology will make Firefox phones under its Alcatel On Touch brand. The smartphones will use Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processors, though we don’t know exactly which ones.
The big draw for Firefox OS is Mozilla built the entire OS on top of HTML5. Mozilla wrote the main OS apps in HTML5 including basic apps like the contacts, phone, and messaging. The base in modern web technologies should make the platform very easy to develop for, as anyone with knowledge of web coding should have no problem making a Firefox OS app.
Unfortunately for Firefox OS, other manufacturers that tried to make HTML5-based platforms have failed. WebOS also used web technologies as a base and it failed pretty spectacularly. All other major platforms also support HTML5 apps, but they aren’t always that great. Facebook’s current iPhone app is HTML5-based and the company is finally changing it to a native app because the current one is so slow.
If anyone can make HTML5 work in a mobile device it might be Mozilla, but we’re not sure a free, open-source Firefox OS has place in the world outside developing countries where cheap smartphones are the only way most users can access the Internet.