Mozilla Entering Mobile Operating System Market

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Mozilla the famed standards compliant browser developers are rumoured to be looking at developing a mobile operating system to rival Google’s Android and Apples iOS among others.

Mozilla Mobile Operating System

Boot to Gecko is Mozilla’s new project aimed at providing the world with a standards compliant mobile operating system like no other, this makes a lot of sense with such a massive drive away from the traditional browser interface to a more dedicated device centric experience provided by individual apps.

Have Mozilla seen that the future of the web is not on the PC?

Mozilla Boot To Gecko
Mozilla Boot To Gecko

Boot to Gecko the slightly bizarre new name for the project will try to be a non proprietary OS for smartphones and mobile devices, and in this will not be locked into any one specific mobile device, becoming a real potential threat to Android.

With Google’s Android under attack legally on many counts, could this be an inspired move from the reputable browser giant?

Andreas Gal a researcher at Mozilla states:

“Mozilla believes that the web can displace proprietary, single-vendor stacks for application development,”

“We want to……find the gaps that keep web developers from being able to build apps that are – in every way – the equals of native apps built for the iPhone, Android, and WP7.”

Big ideas many problems:

With the Boot to Gecko project eschewing native mobile apps in favour of HTML5 based versions, carriers are likely to be less than enthralled at a potentially more data hungry operating system entering the market, when data issues are still going to be an issue for the foreseeable future.

It is not to say that HTML5 based apps are particularly data hungry but they do tend to reply more on connectivity than naive based apps, times these small data increases by millions and you have issues no carrier is looking to gain.

How will the OS be built?

Taking code from Google’s Android operating system at the lower end, Mozilla then intend to design a cool under interface and application stack which will be based around Gecko, Firefox’s HTML rendering engine.

Mozilla and the web do not have a great past

Now not one to sound like a ill joy, I personally think that there is still room for a mobile OS that offers better HTML5 app integration for developers, and I dont think it is too late to get a foot in the ever shutting door, but….

Mozilla’s history in mobile is pretty dire so far:

The first main mobile project was termed Fennec, now called Firefox mobile, a project that is perpetually in development and never seems to be quite the finished article and woefully underused anyway.

They released nothing but non functional alphas during 2009 and in mid 2011 released one of the worst rated Android browsers…not great so far Mozilla, lets hope your energy is more focused on your OS..maybe this is all a cunning plan!

Though if Boot to Gecko takes its stock from its past mobile endeavours, then the likes of Google’s Android and HP’s Web OS, RIM and Windows 7 need not worry too much just yet.

Tough time for Mozilla with lack of mobile pedigree:

With the above mobile/tech software and manufacturing companies, the one thing they already have that Mozilla is seriously lacking, is close relationships with networks and manufactures already.

It will be very tough for a new entrant to come in and make sure that their OS is placed on a new Nokia, Samsung, LG etc, when so many people will be getting used to and demanding the first few entrants to the smartphone and tablet device OS market. This is not to say they can not succeed, fortune favours the brave, but it also has to be said that the early bird catches the worm…..

I look forward to hearing more about this project, though “Boot to Gecko” is surely a name that needs quite simply…booting.

Anthony Munns