Mozilla jumps into mobile OS fray with “Boot to Gecko”

July 27th, 2011 | by Raymond Lau
Mozilla jumps into mobile OS fray with “Boot to Gecko”
Cellphones
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If you thought having to choose between iOS, Android and Windows Phone 7 was enough of a headache, we’ve got news for you. Mozilla, makers of the popular Firefox Web browser, has launched a new project called “Boot to Gecko”, or B2G, to “pursue the goal of building a complete, standalone operating system for the open web”.

The end product will be an operating system that boots directly into the Web, like what Google’s Chrome OS is doing, only for your phone. A core component of the OS will be drawn from Android, to allow hardware to work easily. Mozilla plans on publishing the source code as it’s developed.

For a mobile device that is always to the Internet all the time, such an OS makes a lot of sense. It is already possible to run Web apps as mobile phone apps that are natively installed. An excellent example is Gmail on iPhone’s Safari, which works like a charm. Ultimately, B2G hopes to displace proprietary systems with an open Web standard.

But B2G is very much a work in progress. Although webpages are getting more powerful with the advent of HTML5, they still lack some of the rich functionality on natively-coded apps. That’s why one of the aims of B2G is also to identify these very gaps in functionality and think of ways to bridge them through nothing but Web programming.

This mammoth task could take a long time, and as far as mobile operating systems go, B2G is very forward-looking. In fact, it is surprising that Google didn’t announce anything like this first, since they are the “Internet Company” we all know.

We doubt B2G will materialise on the market any time soon, but it certainly is one to keep an eye on. In the meantime, let’s take a trip down memory lane and re-look at last year’s mobile phone concept by Mozilla, the Seabird:

 

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