Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

First Firefox Mobile OS Phones Announced

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the in-the-beginning dept.

Handhelds 116

judgecorp writes "The first devices running Firefox Mobile OS, originally known as Boot to Gecko, have been announced. TCL and ZTE are making the phones, which will show up on Brazil's Telefonica Vivo network. Other operators are planning to give the phones a try. From their blog: 'Device manufacturers TCL Communication Technology (under the Alcatel One Touch brand) and ZTE today announced their intentions to manufacture the first devices to feature the new Firefox OS, using Snapdragon processors from Qualcomm Incorporated, the leader in smartphone platforms. The first Firefox OS powered devices are expected to launch commercially in Brazil in early 2013 through Telefónica’s commercial brand, Vivo.'"

cancel ×

116 comments

oh great (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40518499)

now you need to upgrade your phone every six weeks instead of two years...

lovely.

Re:oh great (5, Funny)

squiggleslash (241428) | about 2 years ago | (#40519261)

Yeah, but on the other hand while you may be stuck with your iPhone 4, I'll be using my fPhone 23. Uh, wait, hold on, sorry fPhone 24.

Crap, need to reboot the phone, I've used up all its memory again...

Re:oh great (0)

PRMan (959735) | about 2 years ago | (#40519559)

Where's my mod points? This is funny.

Re:oh great (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40520399)

You know what is really hilarious? Squiqqleslash saying that the Apple would NEVER produce an iphone:

http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=193127&cid=15846677

Re:oh great (1)

vivek7006 (585218) | about 2 years ago | (#40521383)

Here is the best part of the comment "I'd advise selling whatever AAPL stock you have, because it'll be their XBox: a product they'll be subsidizing for years trying to get into a market they have little experience of."

HAHAHAHA...........

Re:oh great (1)

jez9999 (618189) | about 2 years ago | (#40522573)

lol, nice. I guess squiggleslash really is good at predicting the future: just do the exact opposite of what he says!

Re:oh great (1)

ifiwereasculptor (1870574) | about 2 years ago | (#40523441)

To be fair, /. as a whole is a big prophet of doom. Every piece of news that mentions a new product or technology receives mostly comments along the lines of "that's stupid", "won't work" and "$EXISTENT_TECH is better". Just like Android would never be a viable alternative to iOS, AMD's Bulldozer was a dead end, underpowered keyboardless laptops would never sell... I could go on. We're right about as often as psychics or stock brokers. What I found funnier about the linked discussion was the most spot-on error of judgement I've seen in years (not squiggleslash's, BTW):

Also, a few years ago Apple could have offered a seriously better UI experience over existing phones. These days, manufacturers like Sony-Erriccson seem to be getting their UI acts together, so Apple would have to come up with something seriously magical to differentiate themselves.

Re:oh great (1)

exomondo (1725132) | about 2 years ago | (#40524237)

You know what is really hilarious? Squiqqleslash saying that the Apple would NEVER produce an iphone:

http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=193127&cid=15846677

I guess we won't be taking any predictions of the future from him! lol!

Re:oh great (5, Informative)

chrb (1083577) | about 2 years ago | (#40519477)

You jest, but one of the interesting things about Boot 2 Gecko is that all the apps are just localled cached web apps, which means that they get "updated" seamlessly without having to interact with an app store or package manager. You get all of the updating advantages of a web app like Google Docs or Gmail, in that installation and upgrading is completely invisible to the user. Even the included apps (the launcher, the dialler, photo viewer, web browser, etc.), which would be native on any other platform, are all just web apps loaded from a particular URL - you can access the same URL using Firefox on a desktop PC, or from an Android phone running Firefox Mobile, and those apps will run. It's the cross platform solution that eliminates the need for native code (think Phone Gap [phonegap.com] ).

Mozilla is aiming to produce a platform that will make apps just an extension of the web. And to standardize everything that they need to do, so that other platforms can implement their APIs. Is it possible for everything? Perhaps not. Does it feel like we are throwing away decades of work on native code? Perhaps, but the web stack of HTML and Javascript is the only cross-platform, globally accepted solution we have. Google tried to add native code to Chrome [google.com] - it's impressive, it works, but nobody's using it. We had Java applets on the web, but those are effectively dead now. There are projects now that can compile from native code to Javascript [github.com] - see this amazing demo of Sauerbraten in Javascript running with accelerated WebGL [syntensity.com] . It's not difficult to imagine a world where Javascript is basically the common bytecode, and with bridges to native APIs it becomes possible to access all hardware, do anything, from a web app that is running on any platform, be it iOS, Windows, Android, Linux, etc.

As I wrote in another comment: the current situation with apps is a bit of a throwback - can you imagine if viewing a web site required you to install it through an app store? And for an author, updating their web site required them to push their site to Dell, who would then approve it and push it out to people with Dell computers? But you need a different web site for people with Asus computers, and you have to push your Asus-build site to them for approval and redistribution? It's crazy, if that were the situation with the web it would've never taken off. Making apps more like the web, or expanding the web to consume apps, whichever way you look at it, is a good thing.

Re:oh great (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 2 years ago | (#40519785)

locally cached? well, fuck if that's what locally "cached" is then all the apps on my phone are locally cached now. just because it's js doesn't mean that it's loading the stuff from network on boot.

essentially they're doing a free version of what some vendors have been trying to push for years.

HOWEVER.. it remains to be seen if their native bridge api's are good and how good their acceleration of the renderer is(that is, if it's possible to do an angry birds clone or not).

this is what nokia was pushing for a while with their web runtime, except using it for the whole ui. afaik tizen was going to this route too. it's possible to achieve basic phone functionality apps with this sure(phonebook, messaging etc), not so sure how well you'd run a barcode scanner algo with it or a voip encoder though.

+ the way these announcements go in this space, I'd wait for the actual shipments(and hopefully mozilla has the brains to understand that they need to port the apps engine to android - why not ios? well on ios you'd need to bake the runtime into the app when distributing it on appstore..).

Re:oh great (1)

DuckDodgers (541817) | about 2 years ago | (#40521355)

The point is that for app upgrades, instead of going to an app store to get them, you go right to the website and the HTML 5 local storage gets updated by the site.

I suspect if this works at all, it will be because of the mobile phone hardware available in 2013 - multi-core processors, 2 GB of RAM, etc... might allow a completely HTML5 interface to perform well enough to satisfy users.

The HTML5 APIs that Mozilla is submitting to W3C include VOIP, accelerometer, GPS, taking pictures, taking video, etc... so the complete set of standard features you get from other mobile phones should be available.

I'm really excited by the project, but I can't imagine they'll get enough interest to dent the Apple and Android share of the smart device market.

Re:oh great (1)

ifiwereasculptor (1870574) | about 2 years ago | (#40523497)

I suspect if this works at all, it will be because of the mobile phone hardware available in 2013 - multi-core processors, 2 GB of RAM, etc... might allow a completely HTML5 interface to perform well enough to satisfy users.

Their partners are ZTE and Alcatel. ZTE's best offer so far is the Blade, powered by a 600MHz ARMv6 (very capable phone, actually, but not exactly zippy), and Alcatel was far behind, last I checked. I think going for the higher end of the spectrum is out of the question, at least in this first push.

Re:oh great (1)

Lennie (16154) | about 2 years ago | (#40522311)

I would like to mention a few things:
- A large part of apps on smartphones are already build with things like PhoneGap. So it isn't a big change from what people use now.

- You don't need to create VoIP encoder, there is already a HTML5 standard for that: WebRTC: http://arstechnica.com/business/2012/04/html5-roundup-mozilla-demos-standards-based-video-chat-in-firefox/ [arstechnica.com]

Re:oh great (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40521581)

Seriously, you call that Sauerbraten semo "amazing"? Yeah, it would have been, in 1992. It can't even capture the mouse, because oh, the browser can't do that (and for excellent reasons).

About the seamless updates, we had that too with Java's WebStart. Works quite well, online and offline.

It doesn't stop to amaze me how... seemingly limited? the knowledge of many web developers is beyond their own little world. They keep reinventing stuff we had 10-20 years ago, but this time in the ugly jacket of HTML and Javascript. It saddens me.

Re:oh great (1)

ozmanjusri (601766) | about 2 years ago | (#40522091)

It's not difficult to imagine a world where Javascript is basically the common bytecode, and with bridges to native APIs it becomes possible to access all hardware, do anything, from a web app that is running on any platform, be it iOS, Windows, Android, Linux, etc.

Or you could download xPud and give it a try.

The user interface, Plate, is a combination of Mozilla Gecko Runtime and desktop integration with the underlying Linux stack. That makes it very fast, quick to boot, small (under 35MB), and binary compatible with normal Linux apps.

It runs from USB, so is easy to experiment with.

Re:oh great (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 2 years ago | (#40522133)

One thing I love about Android is being able to back up apps and keep old versions. Back when Shazam changed from unlimited tagging to something ridiculous like five a month I just downgraded to the last good version.

Re:oh great (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40522235)

Why would I want a future were all apps are written in crappy interpreted languages? Apple tried that with iOS initially and everyone hated it. Native apps rule on mobile devices not shitty apps with huge interpreted overheads.

Re:oh great (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40520933)

Better than not being able to upgrade at all... *cough* android

Re:oh great (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40520991)

Don't worry though, rapid release on that platform will only have open bugs going back a couple months vs. a couple years since it's a new platform, so it'll be a lot better than firefox.

Do we need another mobile OS? (3, Insightful)

rodrigoandrade (713371) | about 2 years ago | (#40518531)

Serious question.

Besides the heavyweight iOS and Android, there are Bada, Symbian, Tizen, Windows Mobile/Phone, RIM...

Ah crap, full list here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobile_operating_system [wikipedia.org]

Do we really need another OS with a .0001 market share?

Re:Do we need another mobile OS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40518569)

FINALLY! Another mobile-OS. Hopefully this will resolve all the rampany gaping issues!

Re:Do we need another mobile OS? (3, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#40518571)

Yes, any other stupid questions?

More competition is better, without it you get the stagnation that desktops have been since the 90s.

Re:Do we need another mobile OS? (1)

rodrigoandrade (713371) | about 2 years ago | (#40518637)

If that competition isn't even a blip in Apple's or Google's radar, is it still competition?

Re:Do we need another mobile OS? (3)

wiedzmin (1269816) | about 2 years ago | (#40518767)

At some point iPhone wasn't even a blip on the RIM's radar...

Re:Do we need another mobile OS? (4, Insightful)

Amouth (879122) | about 2 years ago | (#40518993)

that's only because RIM's radar was broken - everyone elses radar saw it coming before Apple even confirmed it's existence.

Re:Do we need another mobile OS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40519257)

everyone elses radar saw it coming

Wonderful that a 4 digit UID posted this at Slashdot. Read this [slashdot.org] to get an idea of whose radar this was or wasn't on. Start with the very first comment. Or here [slashdot.org] .

Sure, Slashdotters seldom let reality get in the way of pretending their worldview will conquer the world, but they most certainly did not see this coming.

Re:Do we need another mobile OS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40519967)

Gah,

Your UID is 6 digits and that first link was supposed ot point here [slashdot.org] .

Re:Do we need another mobile OS? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#40519151)

Yes, in the same way the Linux server was not a blip on Commercial UNIX in generals radar at one point.

Re:Do we need another mobile OS? (2)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 2 years ago | (#40519285)

To the Moz devs all that matters is they ape Google, just as they've done with FF aping Chrome. I mean what's next guys, Mozvision eyewear? This is as sad as Canonical putting out Ubuntu Netbook edition long after that ship had done sailed, anybody trying to get into mobile OSes now is frankly batshit insane.

Re:Do we need another mobile OS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40519457)

>FF aping Chrome
OMG, breaking news!

Re:Do we need another mobile OS? (1)

Belial6 (794905) | about 2 years ago | (#40519475)

Almost as crazy as trying to get into the browser market when IE owned 98% of the market share.

Re:Do we need another mobile OS? (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 2 years ago | (#40519977)

Big difference there friend, MSFT had all but abandoned IE (even going so far as disbanding the IE dev team) and so was simply coasting on an increasingly creaky POS browser that wasn't compliant with jack shit to begin with and which had become a haven for malware.

Compare that to the mobile OS market where you have Google spending a billion a year on development, who knows how much Apple and MSFT are spending, and you are trying to get in when both iOS and Android are both HEAVILY supported by app development and are insanely popular.

Again a more realistic comparison would be Canonical putting out Ubuntu Netbook edition when the netbook craze had already worn off and tablets were starting to get hot. you have three major competitors, all outspending you by huge amounts, and in the case of two of them you have huge markets filled with customers and an already mature SDK toolchain that takes the work out of the development of apps. Mark my words they'll get some piss poor recompiles of FOSS programs, AbiWord, VLC and the like, and most of it will be done by the Moz team themselves. This thing is gonna end up with even less support than WebOS, mark my words.

Re:Do we need another mobile OS? (2)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 2 years ago | (#40521961)

I support Mozilla because I do not want tablet makers deciding what browser I run and having webkit take over the market. The only reason IE 9/10 are somewhat decent browsers is because MS got its ass whopped on a silver platter by both Mozilla and Google.

Windows RT will be IE trident only [zdnet.com] with FF and Chrome negligated to the desktop mode only on x86. If MS gets rid of the desktop in Windows 9 you are screwed and it is no more Comodo Dragon for you!

Apple is evil too and is doing the same with Safari as Chrome for IOS is just a Safari skin with a limited no JIT version of javascript provided by Apple. Firefox shouldn't have to make its own OS to keep its browser relevant but no one will write laws or their representatives about this issue to change this. Even if I do not run Firefox anymore I sitll want them to be relevant as to enforce all the other browser makers to play nice. Still I can see Apple CSS with iStore integration, and Chrome's newest ajax requires Dart on Android, and all sorts of other horrors, but I hope I am wrong.

Re:Do we need another mobile OS? (1)

Patch86 (1465427) | about 2 years ago | (#40521027)

Mozilla obviously hope that one day it'll be more than a blip.

iOS was a blip on RIM's radar once. Android was a blip on Apple's radar after that.

If Mozilla's business model is more appealing to carriers or device makers than Android or iOS, they might do well. The fact that they've got some big names like Alcatel, Deutsche Telecom and Sprint interested is vaguely promising for them, so we'll see how it pans out.

Re:Do we need another mobile OS? (1)

John Bokma (834313) | about 2 years ago | (#40518705)

Yeah, and that was really because of a lack of desktop OSes, right?

Re:Do we need another mobile OS? (3, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#40519255)

Yes, it was. MS Monopolized the market, then sucked out all the profit. This meant that hardware vendors did not have the money to take risks.

Re:Do we need another mobile OS? (1)

John Bokma (834313) | about 2 years ago | (#40519805)

Personally, I think it has much more to do with (in my experience) people somehow picking mediocre.

Re:Do we need another mobile OS? (1)

AmberBlackCat (829689) | about 2 years ago | (#40519301)

You could have answered without calling it a stupid question. But I agree with the rest.

Re:Do we need another mobile OS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40520337)

Will it still take 2-4 Mins to open the browser every time like the Android version does?

Re:Do we need another mobile OS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40518651)

Indeed, it seems to me that people have already chosen their ecosystems. It will be very difficult to break into that.

Re:Do we need another mobile OS? (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 2 years ago | (#40521735)

Indeed, it seems to me that people have already chosen their ecosystems. It will be very difficult to break into that.

I could say the same argument about WindowsCE and Windows on the desktop 5 years ago? WindowsCE had a monopoly on the PDA market and consumers loved IE 6 and their MS only monopoly.

Man, has the world changed fast since then.

Re:Do we need another mobile OS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40518671)

No other phone will allow you to make an app directly out of HTML, JS and CSS. So its your choice: Objective C, Java or HTML. What would you rather use?

Re:Do we need another mobile OS? (2)

jader3rd (2222716) | about 2 years ago | (#40518713)

Why not just make a mobile version of a website?

Re:Do we need another mobile OS? (1)

whisper_jeff (680366) | about 2 years ago | (#40518745)

Um, the iPhone. You can _absolutely_ make a web app out of HTML, JS, and CSS. In fact, the phone was initially designed with the idea that that was going to be the ONLY way to make apps until Apple changed their minds.

Also, I believe, though am not certain, that the new Windows mobile OS will also allow it (but haven't followed it closely so I could be wrong).

Re:Do we need another mobile OS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40518973)

Once Apple made its point about Flash, they went back to not really giving a shit about HTML5, and Safari has largely stagnated. Everyone in the world is developing native iOS apps, so now they really have no incentive to improve the HTML layer to point where it could pass for native.

And the Android 2.x browser (90% of userbase) is a total shitpile. So a phone which really pushes the state-of-the-art for HTML applications would be welcomed.

Re:Do we need another mobile OS? (1)

chrb (1083577) | about 2 years ago | (#40519639)

No other phone will allow you to make an app directly out of HTML, JS and CSS.

Um, the iPhone. You can _absolutely_ make a web app out of HTML, JS, and CSS.

Notice the difference. With Boot 2 Gecko, the apps are "real" apps that can access hardware, make phone calls, etc. But they are also standard web apps. The aim (as far as I can tell) is to take everything that they need to implement for hardware access and standardize it, perhaps handing it over to the W3C, so that other browsers will implement it. At that point, we can have full, cross-platform apps, publishable and accessible from individual URLs, that run on every platform that Mozilla runs on. It's a big, bold goal, and if they can achieve it native apps are going to be in trouble. At the end of the day, would you rather develop your app multiple times for multiple platforms, and rely on third party app stores to distribute and take 1/3 of your revenue, or do you want to develop it once, have it run on multiple platforms [phonegap.com] and be able to keep 100% of your revenue? This is the whole reason the web was created, to give all devices and manufacturers standards that they could compete in implementing, whilst still retaining cross-platform compatibility.

You mean like webOS? (1)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | about 2 years ago | (#40520479)

Correct me if I'm wrong...but wasn't that the whole point of webOS? Which HP bought and then Leo the Druggist backed out of because he couldn't see the point of a company whose entire history was in hardware continuing to do hardware...

Re:You mean like webOS? (1)

Lennie (16154) | about 2 years ago | (#40522397)

Who knows what HP is thinking, I think HP doesn't even know what it is doing.

Re:Do we need another mobile OS? (1)

mitzampt (2002856) | about 2 years ago | (#40518877)

Isn't it... HTML5, HTML5 or HTML5 right there? That covers... phones and tablets. Oh, and webapps and soon (hint: Google Chrome OS, Metro) desktop apps. Surprise, surprise :) HTML5. I think it won''t be painfully difficult to penetrate the market, even if they don't start with a 'native' ecosystem.

Re:Do we need another mobile OS? (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#40518725)

Is this really an OS? I thought it was just the Firefox browser being used directly to run apps.

Re:Do we need another mobile OS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40520547)

It's an OS in the same sense that Android is an OS. It's sitting on top of the linux kernel but all the user will see is the top layer.

Re:Do we need another mobile OS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40524321)

It's sitting on top of the linux kernel but all the user will see is the top layer.

Ah, a facade over the real OS to "protect" it from the user.

So, just like Android, if the user needs to do something Not Quite Normal ( like change the interface MTU to work with a particular corporate WLAN because Android ignores the DHCP Options flags ) then... they're screwed.

No, "just root your phone" is not an acceptable answer. Why doesn't the OS come from the vendor with a root / non-root flag for such occasions?

Re:Do we need another mobile OS? (0)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | about 2 years ago | (#40518753)

The more the better. It means people will actually have to use standards to target the most people and competition is always a good thing. Apple is getting a bit lazy and Android is still a POS so the competition is needed.

Re:Do we need another mobile OS? (2)

gman003 (1693318) | about 2 years ago | (#40518765)

Yes, because that 0.0001% could grow into 10%. That means it drives the 40% vendors to innovate (or at least, to copy *their* innovative ideas).

Or because that 0.0001% could have needs that just are not met by another OS. There's probably some people who would like a smartphone with a full set of IPA characters on a hardware keyboard, or a smartphone with 5.1 TOSLINK audio outputs, or maybe one that runs on an Itanium processor. Would I (or any reasonable person, really) want those? No. But someone probably does (yes, even the Itanic phone).

Re:Do we need another mobile OS? (1)

exomondo (1725132) | about 2 years ago | (#40524329)

Yes, because that 0.0001% could grow into 10%.

But that's highly unlikely unless it provides something, some compelling reason to switch. It needs something so good that it outweighs the benefits of choosing a platform with a broad, mature and well-established ecosystem.
We see the same thing with Windows Phone, by most accounts it's actually a very good OS compared to the market leaders but the difficult question to answer is: Why would you choose it instead of iOS or Android? Or more accurately why would 10% of people do so.

When you enter an established market you can't just be as good as the competition, you have to be considerably better!

Re:Do we need another mobile OS? (4, Informative)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#40518771)

Not an OS. Just the Firefox browser running like an OS. "Is this going to be yet another platform for developers to code for?
"No..... We don't want this work to lead to applications that only run atop one platform, or only run in Firefox. That's an important difference between what we're doing and proprietary mobile stacks today: we don't seek a competitive advantage for Mozilla, we seek a competitive advantage for the Web." Read more here: http://www.mozilla.org/en-US/b2g/faq/ [mozilla.org]

Re:Do we need another mobile OS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40519601)

Competitive advantage for the web, where have I heard that before? Would there be millions of apps if everything was so nice and tidy running in a browser?

Re:Do we need another mobile OS? (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 2 years ago | (#40521787)

The fact that IE will be the only browser in Windows RT is a bad thing and we finally broke free of IE 6 just 3 or 4 years ago. I remember just 4 years ago some sites I had to use IE still. I do not want those days again.

I love IE 9/10 and think they are great standards compliant browsers. But I do not agree on limiting choice no more than Apple owning 90% of the market with Safari would be just as evil and sue everyone out of existence. Only competition ensures they wont do something stupid as the expense of us and web developers everywhere.

Firefox was practically forced into it as I do not think it is fair that tablet and phone makers can bar competing browsers and javascript applications. FF will just be a skin for IE by the time Windows 9 comes about sadly.

Re:Do we need another mobile OS? (1)

Lennie (16154) | about 2 years ago | (#40522419)

I still consider Microsoft up to their tricks for example.

There won't be a IE10 for Windows 7 either.

Re:Do we need another mobile OS? (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 2 years ago | (#40522523)

There will be one. My guess is MS will break their new promised annual IE update and include it with Windows 7 SP 2. They are more focused on getting it on Windows 8 with its WDM 1.2 graphics driver first, and then backporting it to WDM 1.1 since it heavily uses hardware acceleration unlike its past versions.

Still IE 10 can be awesome for now, just like IE 4 and 5 were good browsers at the time and then will turn into shit with its own proprietary extensions like we witnessed in IE 6.

We need more browsers and competition to prevent them doing something so crazy people will ignore the stnadard. If they own 80% of the market then web developers will focus just on IE and ignore the W3C as proprietary like we had from 2001-2007.

Re:Do we need another mobile OS? (3, Interesting)

ArhcAngel (247594) | about 2 years ago | (#40518787)

Funny...This comic [xkcd.com] seems to be getting a lot of use lately.

Re:Do we need another mobile OS? (1)

chrb (1083577) | about 2 years ago | (#40519797)

Funny...This comic [xkcd.com] seems to be getting a lot of use lately.

Yes, but the great thing about Mozilla's standards is that they are open source, and they want web browsers to implement them. At the moment we have multiple standards for apps - Android, iOS, Windows Phone, Symbian, WebOS, Bada. I'm pretty sure none of those (apart from perhaps Android) are actually open source and freely re-implementable by everyone else.

Remember when actually did have multiple protocols and document standard (MSN Classic, AOL, Compuserve etc.) competing to be the network that people would publish and browse information on? And then the Internet and HTML killed them. That is the aim of Mozilla, to do to proprietary single-platform apps what the internet and the web browser did to MSN and AOL.

webOS (1)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | about 2 years ago | (#40520509)

I know it's a dead platform, fallen off its perch, gone to join the choir immortal, insert Monty Python references ad nauseam - but webOS is being open sourced right now. And I'm trying to evaluate Enyo as a candidate for a cross platform front end for one of our applications. It isn't dead, it's resting.

Re:Do we need another mobile OS? (3, Insightful)

pmathew (1597155) | about 2 years ago | (#40519009)

If they play their cards right it wont be a .0001% . We need an OS out of the clutches of microsoft, google and apple,from somebody we trust more with our personal data . So far Firefox is the Mr. Clean and that is a brand image it has worldwide . Also using a standard compliant language (html) for development they will attract a lot of developers as learning curve may be small ( I hope so) . RIM recognized the need for momentum with apps when they started designing QNX based blackberry OS but they chose the alternative of android emulation i guess. But somehow i feel that choice of Mozilla is better . With Regards to Bada Tizen et al , i dont think anybody other than avid tech readers may have heard of them however good they may be . But even a layman may be willing to try something from makers of firefox . Branding is what makes selling a tad lot easier . And if quality is good people should stick .

Re:Do we need another mobile OS? (2)

David_Hart (1184661) | about 2 years ago | (#40519281)

No... The market will eventually weed it down to 2 or 3 major players, iOS, Android, and ???? What's prompting the entrance of additional contenders are the strategic miss-steps of phone stalwarts Nokia and RIM. In addition, the cell phone market still has high margins, unlike the rest of the tech market. I'm surprised that Dell and/or HP hasn't announced their own phone lineup.

Personally, I think that Nokia will make a comeback with Win8 and it will take the 3rd position and RIM will likely evolve to provide phone management tools for the enterprise.

Re:Do we need another mobile OS? (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 2 years ago | (#40521719)

Yes!

Windows RT will only use Trident and IE [zdnet.com] , and if MS decides to go Metro only in Windows 9 you can kiss Firefox goodbye.

iOS locks out javascript and competing browsers are just webkit Safari based with different UI skins. Andriod is it the same with webkit and only Chrome gets V8. Where does that leave Gecko or anyone else in the new browser wars?

What if IE takes 80% of the market again in 10 years? What is there to stop them from making IE 6 2.0? What is to stop Apple from making their own extensions to CSS and HTML that integrate with its iStore?

The more competitors the better as the DOJ and congress wont write laws to allow competitors to come in and with locked appliances being the standard.

Re:Do we need another mobile OS? (1)

ifiwereasculptor (1870574) | about 2 years ago | (#40523549)

iOS locks out javascript and competing browsers are just webkit Safari based with different UI skins. Andriod is it the same with webkit and only Chrome gets V8.

Firefox for Android runs Gecko and Jägermonkey, so no.

Re:Do we need another mobile OS? (1)

Lennie (16154) | about 2 years ago | (#40522365)

Maybe, yes.

Because HTML5-based applications (sometimes using frameworks like PhoneGap) can be fairly ported to all these platforms. The more code you can share for your applications on all these platforms, the faster you can develop, right ?

Maybe you can even share code with your website too.

So if people use HTML5 already. Why not build all applications, including the system applications with HTML5 so you'll get an API for all the native code so developers of HTML5-based appications are not second class citizens like on all the other platforms.

Commitment? (5, Insightful)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 2 years ago | (#40518547)

I didn't learn from TFAs what Mozilla's commitment is to this. It seems like a good idea, but Mozilla has such a long history of abandoning [lawrencemandel.com] really good ideas [mozilla.org] when they turn out not to be easy.

Re:Commitment? (1)

jlebar (1904578) | about 2 years ago | (#40519697)

Mozilla has such a long history of abandoning [lawrencemandel.com] really good ideas [mozilla.org] when they turn out not to be easy.

[Insert cliche about how if you're going to climb a mountain, you'd better be willing to turn around and run if you encounter a pack of hungry polar bears.]

While you certainly have a point, I think Mozilla gets treated unfairly in this kind of thing. You'll never hear about Apple's failed projects; they might have a much worse history than we do with this sort of thing, for all either of us knows.

FYI, the multithreaded bug has been recently resurrected [mozilla.org] . I'm still not convinced it's possible, but bhackett is one of the best hackers at Mozilla; if anyone can do this, it's him.

Re:Commitment? (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 2 years ago | (#40520145)

While you certainly have a point, I think Mozilla gets treated unfairly in this kind of thing. You'll never hear about Apple's failed projects; they might have a much worse history than we do with this sort of thing, for all either of us knows.

True. And one shouldn't mock failure - that's anti-productive. But does Apple have fundamentally important projects that it abandons because they're too hard? Sure, we know about some of their canceled projects (especially the ones canceled for Jobs' ego, e.g. Asteroid & ZFS) but was a firewire input box really critical?

I chose to highlight Electrolysis specifically because it was started as a response to Chrome's competitive advantage and everybody loudly agreed it was necessary for the future of Firefox when it was started - for security, stability, performance, OS integration, etc. But then it was suddenly too hard and not important. Yet, Chrome continues to grow in market share, for the same reasons as outlined at the start of Electrolysis. In my opinion, the narrative changed but the conditions on the ground did not.

It's like if Apple had said, "hell, we'll just make OS9 better."

So, here we have Mozilla saying, "porting Firefox to a process (nee thread) model is too hard, but we're going to build an operating system!"

PS - thanks for the link to the new bug. One dedicated hacker at Mozilla made a huge difference on the memory problem ("we can prove that we have no memory problem") so perhaps that really is their best development model. It gives me hope anyway!

Re:Commitment? (1)

jlebar (1904578) | about 2 years ago | (#40520377)

So, here we have Mozilla saying, "porting Firefox to a process (nee thread) model is too hard, but we're going to build an operating system!"

FWIW, most apps in b2g^WFirefox OS will run in separate processes. The difficulty is specifically in porting Firefox to a multi-process architecture; Gecko is pretty capable of working multi-process.

Yet, Chrome continues to grow in market share, for the same reasons as outlined at the start of Electrolysis. In my opinion, the narrative changed but the conditions on the ground did not.

I totally agree. It's possible that the snappy project will get us many of the performance improvements we want without the trouble of electrolysis -- it's hard to say at this point.

Re:Commitment? (1)

Lennie (16154) | about 2 years ago | (#40522481)

The problems with making Firefox multi process is they don't want to break 99% of all the addons.

And there is an advantage to not doing multi-process, which is less memory usage. Just look at memory usage benchmarks, it is always Opera, Firefox and Safari that when those. Not Chrome.

Re:Commitment? (1)

grouchomarxist (127479) | about 2 years ago | (#40523423)

Do you have any evidence that Asteroid & ZFS were cancelled for Jobs' ego?

Re:Commitment? (1)

Lennie (16154) | about 2 years ago | (#40522461)

Actually Apple does have a worse history in a sense. When Steve was still at the top, he would let them almost completely design and build whole new competing products by different teams and then choose or abandon all of them.

Re:Commitment? (1)

exomondo (1725132) | about 2 years ago | (#40524393)

You'll never hear about Apple's failed projects;

Ping? G4 Cube? Pippin? eMate?

Do Not Want. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40518557)

I'll stick with my trusty iPhone.

Re:Do Not Want. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40518715)

I love my MBP, but I hate iTunes. I used to have an iPod and hated having to sync it every fscking time I wanted to get a song or install an app. With Android, I just go to marketplace, add it, and it downloads and installs. No syncing necessary.

By Mozilla... (0, Flamebait)

BenJeremy (181303) | about 2 years ago | (#40518681)

...so it will only run a single core, single thread, and use up memory exponentially every minute it is on, requiring a complete reboot after three calls, right?

Re:By Mozilla... (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 2 years ago | (#40521881)

...so it will only run a single core, single thread, and use up memory exponentially every minute it is on, requiring a complete reboot after three calls, right?

The memory problems were fixed in FF 8 & 9.

I know you were joking but I found FF 13.01 a drastic improvement over FF 5 which was the last one I used before ditching it last year! I guess not using it for so long the improvement was dramatic for me. I still wont switch to it full time from IE 9 and Chrome yet as Mozilla is still working out the wrinkles and bugs from its 6 week release, such as system restore messing up Mozilla Update and the new plugin api which ensures plugins do not break when updating is ready.

FF is fast and uses hardly any ram! I can have 30+ tabs open and it only uses 2 gigs of ram which is about the same as IE 9 and Chrome. Did I mention it is fast? FF 3.6 is sluggish in comparison.

FF needed a kick in the butt thanks to Chrome as its only competitor IE 6 was like trying to beat the retarded kid in an IQ test before Google came along.

Webtech-based apps? No thanks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40518717)

Why anyone would think that a webtech (HTML5, CSS, Javascript) powered platform is *the* way forward is totally beyond me. A XUL-based mark-up language might just be acceptable for creating GUI's, but plain HTML riddled with classes and id's (like Tizen) certainly is NOT. In all these years I haven't seen a good (open) library for creating nice, fast and cross-platform GUI in webtech-land. ExtJS might look nice, but they put everything in Javascript like so many other libraries. And we all known Javascript sucks the sh*t out your ass when things get a little bit more complicated.

I've developed an app for the fantastic Nokia N9 recently, written in Qt Quick / QML. Now THAT is a nice platform for apps, with superb databinding. It's based on Ecmascript as well, but it keeps things tidy. As ease-of-programming goes I haven't seen anything better yet. And of course with "normal' Qt for the tougher and more low-level bits. (fwiw, JavaFX 1.x looked very promising and capable as well. Too bad Oracle managed to mess that up too.)

UPDATES! (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 2 years ago | (#40518763)

Given their affinity for Firefox updates, I'm sure everyone can assume their entire data plan will be burned up just on updates if they get one of these phones.

Re:UPDATES! (0)

AmberBlackCat (829689) | about 2 years ago | (#40519415)

The phone company won't co-operate. Any bugs found in Mozilla will remain in the phone forever, with your only solution being to buy a new phone that is exactly the same as your old one except it has an updated operating system.

Definitely interested (3, Interesting)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | about 2 years ago | (#40518793)

My experience with Android has been less than stellar to put it kindly and I don't quite feel up to paying for an iphone so this will definitely be something I look at. Plus it would be nice to support someone who isn't interested in locking me in or stealing all my data to sell me stuff.

Re:Definitely interested (1)

PRMan (959735) | about 2 years ago | (#40519625)

What's less than stellar about Android? I've had good success on my phone and tablet, and so have my family. In fact, the device that is the worst to use and gets the most complaints is my daughter's iPod with iOS.

Re:Definitely interested (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | about 2 years ago | (#40520511)

I've had to deal with the whole corrupt account cookie bug that leaves buttons not working (which in itself seems odd) and no error so I'm first thinking my phone is busted, a few updates left maps working weirdly, quite frankly I find it annoying the market shows me things that just won't work on my phone but nothing implies my phone's not up to the job and when I try to download it gives an error that implies it's a connection issue rather than it's not going to give it to me because I shouldn't have it.

I'm sure newer versions are better but I'm finding it hard to justify giving it another go but there's nothing out there I really care to buy so if something new comes out and looks like a decent contender then yes I'd be willing to consider it.

WebOS achilles heel? (4, Informative)

vivek7006 (585218) | about 2 years ago | (#40518837)

The last OS based on HTML (WebKit to be more specific) was WebOS, and was deemed slow because of that http://nyti.ms/KOMpBx [nyti.ms] . Wouldnt a HTML5 based OS face the same hurdles?

Re:WebOS achilles heel? (1)

jlebar (1904578) | about 2 years ago | (#40519711)

I think part of the problem facing WebOS was that they lacked the WebKit expertise necessary to optimize their platform. We at Mozilla do not have the equivalent problem.

The first lawsuits have been announced as well (2)

kaizendojo (956951) | about 2 years ago | (#40518931)

Apple, Samsung, Oracle.... LOL

Native application development (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40519067)

If it supports native application development (using c/C++/Python + Qt,SDL, etc.) out of the box, I'm interested. Otherwise not so much.

Hahahah Fuck That (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40519271)

Given the shitty state of Firefox development lately, along with the ongoing problems with stability and quality, I'll just say "fuck no" and move on.

Amazing o/s, if only it had a good browser (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40519309)

Queue up all the old jokes about the EMACS o/s not having a good text editor...

Seriously. Mozilla needs to get their other shit in order before starting on an O/S. Ten years ago I loved it. Now... well... the damned thing tries too hard to be helpful. It and Chrome are trying too hard to be the damned AOL of browsers. I don't need your autocomplete, your newtab previews, your weird layouts, your removed status bar... your horribly broken and weird SSL warning implementation. Just give me a browser, bookmarks, and the ability to run plugins without them crashing everything.

What problem does this solve? (2)

cwgmpls (853876) | about 2 years ago | (#40519437)

Android phones are already more than affordable. It is the data plan costs that make smartphone ownership out-of-reach for many people. This phone won't solve that problem, and will probably make it worse as they will primarily be used as give-aways to entice people into an over-priced 2-year data contracts. What problem does this new OS solve?

Re:What problem does this solve? (1)

Zantetsuken (935350) | about 2 years ago | (#40520345)

give-aways to entice people into an over-priced 2-year data contracts

It solves the problem of where carriers are required (due to their pockets) to 2x profits every year but claim huge net losses. It solves the problem of their networks being so utterly congested that they have to move to tiered data to make you use less data, so that they can push more VCast streaming video, crappy carrier branded GPS navigation (when you've got the already really good and free Google one), and now where the entire UI and home screen is constantly being re-downloaded.

Re:What problem does this solve? (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 2 years ago | (#40521895)

The problem it solves are OS maker lockins. [zdnet.com]

Got that nice Windows RT device from work? oops you have to use IE no other browser is supported. How about the shiny IPAD? Oops Safari only as Chrome is just a skin of Safari with a very crippled javascript engine, no dart support, other Apple lockins etc.

Firefox will be dead by the time WIndows 9 is out if MS kills the desktop as FF has to use the trident IE rendering engine in METRO mode.

Re:What problem does this solve? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40522203)

It's already been said that the cost of these phones will be $50 *off contract*. B2G is targeting lower end hardware than iOS or Android will run well on. Turns out having a highly optimised rendering engine running well on low end SoCs these days isn't impossible.

Re:What problem does this solve? (1)

PuZZleDucK (2478702) | about 2 years ago | (#40524343)

I know at least one person who uses android on wifi only... I've done it with a tablet too. Data isn't everything.

How to I set $X? (2)

DeadlyBanana (888719) | about 2 years ago | (#40519595)

I can't imagine how unruly the about:config will be for a whole OS

My hopes aren't high (1)

Turmoyl (958221) | about 2 years ago | (#40520477)

Considering the craptastic experience of Firefox on Android I have little faith that an entire phone OS built by the same crew will come out of the gate in a usable state.

Great! (1)

Runefox (905204) | about 2 years ago | (#40522807)

Just what we need, more market fragmentation! It's not like iOS, Android, BlackBerry OS / QNX, Bada, Windows Phone, and the plethora of Java-powered phones out there is enough.

Let's not forget the main reason why WebOS failed - Lack of platform support. Very few apps available, with little developer interest because they're already splitting their focus primarily between iOS and Android, which is already a huge drain. By comparison, even BB OS and Windows Phone have tiny developer followings and very small market penetration.

TL;DR, a Mozilla phone is a terrible idea, at least in theory. We'll have to see when they ship how they do, but I doubt they'll be able to make a dent in an already-saturated market with developer focus already split at least two or three different ways. It's hard to even imagine Mozilla on the radar for devs and consumers alike.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...