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18 Carriers Sign Up for Firefox OS Phones

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the attacking-the-market-where-it's-weak dept.

Cellphones 107

Several readers sent word of a Mozilla announcement that 18 carriers have committed to launching phones running Firefox OS. The carriers are primarily from markets in South America and Europe. They include Deutsche Telekom, Telefonica, and Sprint. The devices running Firefox OS will be made by LG, ZTE, Huawei, and Alcatel, and all will be powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset. The new mobile operating system is built to allow HTML5 apps to run directly on the device, a solution Mozilla thinks will give it an edge when playing catch-up to all the software available for Android and iOS devices. "Developers are busy and don't have time to learn a new programming language. We believe that the only remaining eco-system is the web and there are more developers for the web than for any other platform in the world," said Jay Sullivan. According to Reuters, "Mozilla will initially look to compete in so-called 'emerging economies' in Latin America, Eastern Europe and Asia, where many people still use older phone models and have yet to upgrade to more expensive smartphones that feature touchscreens and high-speed Internet connections."

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107 comments

This is great news (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42997605)

... but when will the developer phones be shipping?

Re:This is great news (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42997725)

Yes, great news. Part of the cartel that scammed everyone with SSL is getting into phones. Oh, joy.

"...the only remaining eco-system..." (4, Funny)

kc9jud (1863822) | about a year ago | (#42997613)

We believe that the only remaining eco-system is the web...

Didn't we already know this? http://xkcd.com/934/ [xkcd.com]

Re:"...the only remaining eco-system..." (1)

theVarangian (1948970) | about a year ago | (#42997723)

We believe that the only remaining eco-system is the web...

Didn't we already know this? http://xkcd.com/934/ [xkcd.com]

I don't know that, but then I'm one of those dinosaurs who doesn't do everything through a browser.

Well, Gopher (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42998663)

Isn't for everyone...

And then... (4, Insightful)

gigaherz (2653757) | about a year ago | (#42997617)

... the quality of the average App will be about as good as the quality of the average website. Not like the existing ones are much better, though.

Re:And then... (2)

obarthelemy (160321) | about a year ago | (#42997707)

good thing averages (like totals) don't matter, and only best-of-breed does, then.

BUT (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about a year ago | (#43000293)

The average user knows jackshit about "best-of-breed". He's going to use any trashy bit of crap that amuses him, no matter the consequences.

"Do you want to run Dancing Pwnies? It is asking for root permissions, user permissions, web permissions, phonebook permissions, and more - granting all these permissions will seriously compromise your phone's security!"

User says, "Dammit, I just want to watch the dancing pwnies, yes, yes, yes, show me dancing pwnies!"

Re:BUT (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43001085)

And how is that different from the Dancing Pwnies native app, that the user clicked through the permissions screen on without checking and downloaded?

Re:BUT (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year ago | (#43001817)

Because all they have to do now is find a browser vulnerability and they'll own the entire phone without making the users click through anything? and remember most phones don't get updated constantly like browsers are so basing an OS on a browser is probably not the smartest move you could make. it'll be interesting to see if FF is a small enough fish to not get any major bullseye painted on it or if the malware guys will think its an easy target and hit it with a vengeance.

remember Android is on its way to its millionth infection by this summer and Google has a hell of a lot more money for security researchers than Moz has so it'll be interesting how long this approach will be able to go without getting pwned.

Re:And then... (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | about a year ago | (#42997937)

The SNR level will go up, but now being able to afford a smartphone in a BRIC nation makes that an entirely moot point. Not everyone can afford an iDevice or fancy Droid. On that note; did you know that just half the global population lives on average $2.50 a day. The market for selling stuff is vast. The problem is finding people that can afford said stuff.

Re:And then... (1)

tehcyder (746570) | about a year ago | (#43003005)

On that note; did you know that just half the global population lives on average $2.50 a day. The market for selling stuff is vast. The problem is finding people that can afford said stuff.

If they can only affford to pay you $0, it's irrelevant how vast the potential number of customers is.

Seriously.. no. (-1, Flamebait)

Dynamoo (527749) | about a year ago | (#42997627)

Allowing a web page to have complete access to the device.. what could possibly do wrong? Oh that's right.. pretty much everything. Firefox OS is likely to follow in the miserable footsteps of Java, ActiveX and .NET when it comes to security nightmares.. assuming it every becomes popular. When everybody else is trying to sandbox the browser from the OS, Mozilla go and do the opposite. Bad move [mobilegazette.com] .

Re:Seriously.. no. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42997649)

Since when has .NET had security nightmares? The .NET runtime is far, far more secure than ActiveX or that shitty Java plugin.

Re:Seriously.. no. (3, Funny)

binarylarry (1338699) | about a year ago | (#42998089)

It's easy to be secure when no one uses it.

Re:Seriously.. no. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42998173)

lol you really are in denial aren't you, i know you're clearly anti-microsoft (from your regular posts), but you you *can* have that position without also being ignorant, it would give you much more credibility and you won't look like a religious nutbag.

Re:Seriously.. no. (2)

WillKemp (1338605) | about a year ago | (#43001181)

[......] i know you're clearly anti-microsoft (from your regular posts) [......]

You must be one of the Microsoft Slashdot monitors.

Re:Seriously.. no. (1)

tehcyder (746570) | about a year ago | (#43003079)

[......] i know you're clearly anti-microsoft (from your regular posts) [......]

You must be one of the Microsoft Slashdot monitors.

Isn't the term Microsoft Shill?

Re:Seriously.. no. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43003379)

Nah, binarylarry is a well-known troll.

Re:Seriously.. no. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42999559)

Yeah, and JRE is far more secure than ActiveX or that shitty (and mostly not used and not installed) Silverlight plugin.

Apples, oranges, same thing.

Re:Seriously.. no. (4, Insightful)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about a year ago | (#42997795)

No-one is talking about allowing random web pages complete access to the device. They're talking about letting people write apps in HTML5/JS. Still a bad idea, but not for any reasons related to browser security.

Re:Seriously.. no. (1)

pandronic (1275276) | about a year ago | (#43001161)

Have you ever heard about a little thing called permissions? If you have a phone capable of installing applications check it out. It's marvelous.

Why are there 10 bajillion phone OS's? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42997631)

Just give me one damn phone that lets me answer and make phone calls, send/receive text messages, and has a calculator.

Who needs all that other crap?

Seriously, does nobody remember that iPhone that sucked ass at making phone calls? I'll bet Obummer was directly responsible for that one.

Re:Why are there 10 bajillion phone OS's? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42997825)

Just give me one damn phone that lets me answer and make phone calls, send/receive text messages, and has a calculator.

Why should I give you anything? Just go and buy one, like everyone else has to, you whiny bastard

Re:Why are there 10 bajillion phone OS's? (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about a year ago | (#43000309)

"Just give me one damn phone that lets me answer and make phone calls, send/receive text messages, and has a calculator."

Available at WalMart, for as little as about sixty dollars. Net10, StraightTalk, Verizon - all of them sell such phones. Most have a built-in crappy browser, but you don't have to actually use it. Calling plans for said phones start at about a dollar a day, or you can get $45 to $60 prepaid plans with unlimited everything. Again, the browser sucks so bad that you won't want to waste time browsing.

Re:Why are there 10 bajillion phone OS's? (1)

tehcyder (746570) | about a year ago | (#43003133)

Just give me one damn phone that lets me answer and make phone calls, send/receive text messages, and has a calculator.

A calculator? Whydoes a phone need a fucking calculator? It's just feature bloat.

Really, Slashdot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42997635)

Uhm... If you've got Chrome on your Android, you've got the same "built to allow HTML5 apps to run directly on the device".

Seriously, guys...the quality of the posts being put up here are going waaaay downhill- you're posting some of the most IDIOTIC crap from the Pundits as if it were gospel.

Re:Really, Slashdot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42997887)

Aaand...we won't get into the fact that WebOS was all about HTML5 type function, "directly on the device"...

Re:Really, Slashdot? (2)

aztracker1 (702135) | about a year ago | (#42998739)

I *REALLY* liked WebOS... my Touchpad was the first tablet I had that I actually liked... when HP finally released the source (but no drivers for existing devices) I went with a Nexus 7... You can see the influence on the UI that came from the former Palm/HP guys that Google hired... Not quite as seamless as WebOS but at least the apps and browser are updated.

On with the number inflating. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42997641)

In true Mozilla style they'll be 19 by the end of the day, 20 by the end of tomorrow... This number of carriers thing is just another number inflation scam just like their version numbers.

Re:On with the number inflating. (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about a year ago | (#43000367)

Ho-hum. So, some people still haven't figured out how to read versions? You haven't adapted from the old days? Go on, just reinstall Firefox version 3.14159 and stick with it.

Re:On with the number inflating. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43000853)

woosh to both you and the fail mod. grats.

The iPhone killer. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42997645)

It is finally here. Goodbye, Apple.

Re:The iPhone killer. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42997683)

The iPhone can already run all those HTML5 crApps and 100s of thousands of native apps. Why would anyone switch from an iPhone to something only marginally better than a feature phone? The iPhone has a browser and far, far more.

Re:The iPhone killer. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42997843)

Whoosh.

closed source parts ? (1)

bug1 (96678) | about a year ago | (#42997691)

I believe the snapdragon boards have binary only components.

Are they trying to reinvent android ?

Re:closed source parts ? (1)

Myen (734499) | about a year ago | (#43000007)

Pretty sure they're running on Androids guts, so kinda?
(I think they took out the UI/Java/whatever layers and are using the Linux kernel that Android uses, plus their own UI layer. See info on Gonk [mozilla.org] .)

Re:closed source parts ? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43000965)

I find it hard to consider it "Android guts" without all that Java shit. Linux+a few patches+framebuffer+GL...not all that much Android, IMO. Most of Android is the class library.

Re:closed source parts ? (1)

WillKemp (1338605) | about a year ago | (#43001193)

I think they took out the UI/Java/whatever layers and are using the Linux kernel that Android uses, plus their own UI layer.

I want that on my phone! That java shit makes the 1.4GHz quad core processor run like a 486!

Why is there so much interest in Firefox OS ? (5, Interesting)

obarthelemy (160321) | about a year ago | (#42997699)

Unless this is baseless hype, but still, I'm seeing a lot about this one OS.

I understand operators not wanting to be beholden to an iOS-Android duopoly, but why pick Firefox as the 3rd player ? Are there no other reasonnably OSS, reasonably good, more proven mobile OSes ? MS, RIM, Bada are proprietary, but what about Meego, Tizen, even Ubuntu ? Why not just fork Android ?

Re:Why is there so much interest in Firefox OS ? (1)

Threni (635302) | about a year ago | (#42997907)

Does this constitute `much interest`? How hard is it to run Firefox OS on a phone? I'd have thought the developers of the OS have made sure it'll run on the same sorts of hardware which runs all the other OSes, so it's probably not much work/risk for the phone companies to have a punt. If it doesn't work out then they'll drop it and that'll be the end of that. Some manufacturers are forking Android, and/or skinning it and trying to stand out that way, and many of them produce phones for Android, Windows etc. I don't really see this as much of a big deal, and I'm also unsure how much of a big deal the 'we support the web' thing is either. This OS is going to struggle against Android/iPhones, so it's hardly going to drive any new standard forward.

Re:Why is there so much interest in Firefox OS ? (3, Insightful)

Atomic Fro (150394) | about a year ago | (#42997923)

Why not just fork Android ?

Because then they would still beholden to the Microsoft tax [computerworld.com] .
Why its Firefox OS, I have no idea. From this article here it sounds like its just doing what WebOS did. And given Mozilla's history, this is exactly something Netscape would do. Thinking like a telecom CEO, I could see them being slightly afraid of Meego as it came from Nokia, and it didn't save them. Firefox is probably something they have heard of and used as opposed to the likes of Ubuntu or Tizen.

Microsoft Tax (2)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year ago | (#42998131)

Because then they would still beholden to the Microsoft tax

The Microsoft Tax, is about patents...mainly those that concern interfacing with Windows Computers/Services, Microsoft Bully Boys are going to be knocking on your door whatever OS you choose. Although considering these companies are already heavily involved (and successful) with android its unlikely they are not prepared for Microsoft.

Re:Why is there so much interest in Firefox OS ? (1)

jonwil (467024) | about a year ago | (#42998627)

Given that Microsoft has claimed that they have patents covering the Linux Kernel (but refuse to actually tell anyone which patents they are without a NDA) I suspect they would sue anyone in the mobile space using the Linux Kernel if they thought it was worth doing so

Re:Why is there so much interest in Firefox OS ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42998833)

Given that Microsoft has claimed that they have patents covering the Linux Kernel (but refuse to actually tell anyone which patents they are without a NDA) I suspect they would sue anyone in the mobile space using the Linux Kernel if they thought it was worth doing so

If the patents are invalid then why would any company pay?
It's not size: Samsung fought Apple and Apple is much larger than Microsoft.
It's not dependence: Microsoft depends on Samsung more than the other way around, and even with Apple as a huge customer Samsung didn't back down on Apple's litigious threats.
I'm not saying the patents are valid or invalid, but a company like Samsung certainly isn't going to knuckle under to the likes of Microsoft.

Fighing patents in court costs lost of money, (1)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year ago | (#42998959)

If the patents are invalid then why would any company pay?
It's not size: Samsung fought Apple and Apple is much larger than Microsoft.
It's not dependence: Microsoft depends on Samsung more than the other way around

Except those things aren't true, Apple wanted Samsung Phones banned from being sold...or worse to produce Windows Phones, While Microsoft simply wants to make Android less attractive to manufacturers of Android products.

The bottom line is the whole thing is about *cost* we suspect Samsungs Price involved buying Windows licenses [as Samsung is dependent on one supplier for its OS :)] for their PC hardware and producing a Windows Phone, instead of actual money,

Re:Fighing patents in court costs lost of money, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42999175)

Except those things aren't true

so Samsung didn't fight Apple? Apple isn't bigger than Microsoft? you think Samsung actually has a dependence on Microsoft? Windows PCs are a comparatively tiny part of Samsung's profits, Microsoft has no leverage over Samsung.

I'm tired (1)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year ago | (#42999249)

so Samsung didn't fight Apple? Apple isn't bigger than Microsoft? you think Samsung actually has a dependence on Microsoft? Windows PCs are a comparatively tiny part of Samsung's profits, Microsoft has no leverage over Samsung.

Reread my comment its on the money. Samsung simply fought Apple because apple threatened its lucrative revenue stream...Android Phones. Samsung negotiated with Microsoft...because it could be bought off with few windows licenses and a slapping Windows Phone on one of its models.

So yeah irrelevant questions [and silly and...just plain wrong]. If your question had been what gets Samsung stuffing more dollars in its g-string?

Re:I'm tired (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42999367)

Reread my comment its on the money.

no it is not. those statements are true and you just present an alternative, but ultimately unsupported, reasoning for the actions.

Samsung negotiated with Microsoft...because it could be bought off with few windows licenses and a slapping Windows Phone on one of its models.

citation required. i understand such a thing would support your agenda but it seems very unlikely given the relatively tiny contribution Windows makes to Samsung's business compared to Linux based systems.

Re:Why is there so much interest in Firefox OS ? (2)

AHuxley (892839) | about a year ago | (#42997965)

I would guess freedom over the range of cheap to mid to expensive phones - hardware and software.
With Firefox you have an easy to write for interface and more open hardware.
Add in voice, video and text chat via a browser with the same look and feel over the hardware range - Firefox looks interesting on every device.
Who wants to be trapped in a unique hardware software upgrade cycle per phone, per revision over years of the device been in use?
Having to do battle with some US OS devision telling you the cheap camera is off limits to 3rd party software in the low end phone unless you use their OS... or pay up big time?
Firefox will just sit on hardware vs the hardware reaching up into a per phone 'crafted' OS.

Re:Why is there so much interest in Firefox OS ? (5, Insightful)

pesho (843750) | about a year ago | (#42998031)

Runs on cheap hardware, the OS is offered for free and somebody else takes care of developing the ecosystem with no strings attached. So if you are a carrier you can offer a "good enough" smart phone for the price of a feature phone. I bet it will be an instant success in developing countries markets and as a first phone for kids in developed countries (hence the Sprint and DT interest in it). The only serious competition it can face is from Android. It will be interesting to see if Google will bother maintaining android codebase that can run on low end phones or just pay to be the default search engine on the Firefox phones and make money on ads and clicks.

Re:Why is there so much interest in Firefox OS ? (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about a year ago | (#42999565)

The expensive part of the phone seems to be the screen and battery. You can get tiny Android PCs withe almost the same specs as a very capable Android phone for $50. If you are offering a Firefox OS phone for the price of a feature phone, then you're going to get the screen and battery of a feature phone, which there are already plenty of Android handsets that exist like this. If you think you are going to get a 4+ inch hi-res display with a battery that doesn't have to be charged throughout the day, you aren't going to be paying "feature phone" prices.

Updates are different too (2)

caspy7 (117545) | about a year ago | (#43000029)

Also providers will only need to worry about writing changes to the Linux underpinnings (Gonk) for their hardware *once* and then leave all the Gecko updates to Mozilla.
Instead of leaving their users behind in features, stability and security because they're not willing to provide the resources to update their Android branch, they can theoretically leave most of the heavy lifting to Mozilla.

Mozilla has truly separated Gonk (Linux) from Gecko and Gaia (the UI) so that updates can be delivered separately.

Re:Updates are different too (0)

exomondo (1725132) | about a year ago | (#43000391)

Also providers will only need to worry about writing changes to the Linux underpinnings (Gonk) for their hardware *once* and then leave all the Gecko updates to Mozilla.

So how is that different from running the latest browser on an older version of Android?

Re:Why is there so much interest in Firefox OS ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43001157)

I live in a 3rd world country. Carries do not dictate what mobile i buy. Do not think it would be an instant hit.

Re:Why is there so much interest in Firefox OS ? (2)

hobarrera (2008506) | about a year ago | (#42998039)

Meego was (regrettably) abandoned my Nokia, and until Jolla releases anything, it's a dead end. MS has a very poor image, and fails horribly as mobile phone sales. RIM is dying.
Ubuntu doesn't have any hardware yet AFAIK, and I think Bada is semi-abadoned.

An Android fork? By whom? Operators have no interest in investing in an OS, they'd rather pick an existing one.

Re:Why is there so much interest in Firefox OS ? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year ago | (#42998219)

Meego and Tizen are the same thing: stuff that has wandered too long to ever successfully go anywhere. Ubuntu, are you kidding? They have totally jumped the shark with this spyware nonsense, you still trust them? Why not fork Android, now that is the question. Gingerbread is still a credible operating system and lots of apps run on it, so they don't even have to be current about it.

Re:Why is there so much interest in Firefox OS ? (1)

amiga3D (567632) | about a year ago | (#42998349)

Tizen isn't done yet I think.

Re:Why is there so much interest in Firefox OS ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43001121)

They did just release tizen 2.0, don't know how ready it is, but intel is running that show, so companies using ARM will need to do some work to get it to run on ARM, but who knows why they don't.

Re:Why is there so much interest in Firefox OS ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42998701)

cuz it's FOSS.... Look what happened to Symbian. At least this way the carrier's aren't beholden to some other behemoth corp.

Re:Why is there so much interest in Firefox OS ? (1)

WillKemp (1338605) | about a year ago | (#43001215)

[......] what about Meego, Tizen, even Ubuntu ? Why not just fork Android ?

Android's crap! (It's been my exclusive phone/tablet OS for about 3 years). It's not worth forking. Meego didn't do much for Nokia. Ubuntu's interesting - but it might be a bit brown for mass consumption. Firefox has made a big mark with their browser, i guess people think that might translate into a usable phone. So long as it starts up quicker than the Firefox web browser does, they could be onto something...

Clearly, it works? (4, Interesting)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about a year ago | (#42997827)

Developers are busy and don't have time to learn a new programming language. We believe that the only remaining eco-system is the web and there are more developers for the web than for any other platform in the world

You know where I've heard this before, almost word-for-word? It was how HTML5/JS Metro apps were pitched for Win8 on the BUILD conference two years ago.

And before that, it's what RIM has been saying about HTML5 apps for Playbook.

And before that, it was the killer feature of WebOS.

And, as we all know, all of the above are shining examples of a healthy app ecosystem, with thousands of useful, well-written, fast apps in their stores. Right?

Re:Clearly, it works? (1)

WiiVault (1039946) | about a year ago | (#42998021)

To be fair Apple took the same stance pre-Appstore, and they managed to build a healthy ecosystem.

Re:Clearly, it works? (1)

jader3rd (2222716) | about a year ago | (#42998151)

To be fair Apple took the same stance pre-Appstore, and they managed to build a healthy ecosystem.

The healthy ecosystem was built after they abandoned that stance.

Re:Clearly, it works? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42999451)

The main difference here being; Mozilla has done this before. The Mozilla addons ecosystem is very healthy and has been around for nearly a decade. They have very good tools in-place that analyze addons submitted by developers and a team of reviewers who also go over the code and make sure nothing malicious has been submitted. They've also built a pretty neat SDK for addon developers which sandboxes addons from the rest of the browser. So yeah I think Mozilla is the best company to push this type of HTML5/JS App ecosystem.

Re:Clearly, it works? (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about a year ago | (#43000039)

The main difference here being; Mozilla has done this before. The Mozilla addons ecosystem is very healthy and has been around for nearly a decade.

There is a very big difference between browser add-ons and general-purpose mobile apps. I have not heard of Mozilla doing the latter before.

hey have very good tools in-place that analyze addons submitted by developers and a team of reviewers who also go over the code and make sure nothing malicious has been submitted. They've also built a pretty neat SDK for addon developers which sandboxes addons from the rest of the browser.

None of what you've listed has been a problem with past attempts by other companies to push for an HTML5-based mobile SDK.

Re:Clearly, it works? (2)

wvmarle (1070040) | about a year ago | (#43000003)

The basic idea is great (and in a way what Java was purported to be, back when it was first concieved): write once, run anywhere. It runs in the browser, so you don't develop for Android phones or iPhones or Ubuntu phones or whatever. The exact same app runs in any recent browser.

Now of course it's not an ideal world, and there will be differences between browsers (the apparent lack of a reference implementation and still-not-standard-status of HTML5 is a big issue). I also don't think HTML5/JS is up to the task of writing apps as rich as what can be found now in the app stores (even though those apps are still nothing compared to full fledged deskopt apps). And I'm quite positive Mozilla themselves are aware of that - but being primarily a web browser developer that is exactly what they could help fix along the way.

And the difference with other vendors in those respects?

MS is not trusted any more with their proprietary "standards" for browsers, and are prone to ship half-baked solutions withotu clear direction.

RIM has no control over the quality of the web browsers themselves, they depend on third parties.

WebOS was premature. At the time HTML5 was promising, but far from ready, and JS was just slow.

HTML5 and JS have come a long long way in the past few years. JS execution speed has gone up orders of magnitude, not any more slowing down web browsing to a crawl or giving those "Firefox is not responding" messages (later replaced by "non-responsive script" by Firefox) for heavy scripts.

I have no idea whether Firefox can succeed where the others failed. Web technology has improved immensely, making a lot more possible now. Is it good enough? No idea, I don't develop HTML. But dismissing them outright based on past failures, that's not fair to say the least.

Re:Clearly, it works? (1)

WillKemp (1338605) | about a year ago | (#43001257)

I also don't think HTML5/JS is up to the task of writing apps as rich as what can be found now in the app stores [......]

I think it could be - given the right infrastructure and a good API.

Re:Clearly, it works? (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | about a year ago | (#43001659)

It could be - but is it?

I have so far not seen a single web site that comes close to the apps that I have on my phone in graphical features. I'm sure that part of the reason is that when you develop an in-browser application, the general requirements are far different than for say some game on a smartphone.

The richest in-browser stuff that I have encountered is stuff like Google Docs - and those mimic what you see on a normal desktop. I have never seen anything like say Angry Birds. That I haven't encountered it of course doesn't mean it can't be done, it's just that the web (a content delivery platform) is so different from a smart phone (a general purpose computing platform).

But as I said it's the folks of Mozilla that are behind this OS, making it primarily a browser and secondarily a general purpose OS. That may make a difference. But then, maybe not. I hope they succeed. Having a serious third player in this market is definitely a good thing. Especially if they can provide the same quality of apps as other platforms, but then effectively platform-independent.

liars (4, Insightful)

Tom (822) | about a year ago | (#42997909)

the only remaining eco-system is the web

Right. Which is why there is about one million apps for iOS and Android.

The Web is not, never was and never will be the only eco-system. What about the many, many non-web Internet applications? Not everyone uses webmail, and even webmail uses SMTP, not SOAP or REST to deliver its messages. There are calender services, bittorrent, games and thousands of other protocols and services, none of which have anything to do with the web.

There's a lot that is a website these days, granted. But you are a total idiot if you think that nothing that is not a website exists, that HTML/JS is the only programming language left etc.

Heck, Apple even tried this already when they released the original iPhone and told us that Web Apps are where it's at and we don't need native apps.

How about a little more realism and modesty? The web is one eco-system, and a very strong one. Why this obsession with being "the only", this desire for monopoly and dominance? WTF is wrong with being one among many?

Re:liars (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42998905)

It's insightful to say that not literally every single application in existence is written in HTML? Really, Slashdot?

Re:liars (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43000069)

You got a problem with that?

Re:liars (3, Informative)

jbeaupre (752124) | about a year ago | (#42998995)

I think you parsed that wrong. The qualifier was "remaining." They were being realistic and modest. They realize that that HTML5 apps are the only remaining ecosystem they can influence.

IOS? managed by Apple. Android? Dominated by Google. They could have started a new ecosystem or tried one of the dying ones. But in the end, they saw that HTML5 apps are their only remaining option.

Developers are too busy not writing HTML5. (1)

goruka (1721094) | about a year ago | (#42997979)

"Developers are busy and don't have time to learn a new programming language. We believe that the only remaining eco-system is the web and there are more developers for the web than for any other platform in the world"

Yes, developers are busy writing native applications for iOS and Android, or using some sort of toolkit/engine for portability. HTML5 is an option in all the other platforms too, yet it's not as popular as C++, C#, Java or Objective C. I don't get the point of this OS.

Re:Developers are too busy not writing HTML5. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43001149)

Maybe the thing behind HTML5 not been used much is because there the browsers are missing features or they are buggy and do not get fixed or jsut there aren't good tools for it. I don't know, i'm not a mobile app developper, but i would think some or all of those options above are the reason they are doing native apps.

I do not want them to sign (4, Insightful)

houghi (78078) | about a year ago | (#42997983)

I want the manufacturers to sign. The carriers should do what they do: be carriers. They should not be hardware and software providers.

Re:I do not want them to sign (2)

hobarrera (2008506) | about a year ago | (#42998045)

Agreed. I'm actually curious if these phones will be sold clean or if they'll only be available locked-down by operators, since mozilla isn't mentioning this at all.

Re:I do not want them to sign (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42999005)

The fact that the availability of a software update for the basic phone os is carrier dependent should make everyone's skin tingle as if would be bombarded with RF from a Soviet early warning radar.

Less is more (3, Interesting)

Blaskowicz (634489) | about a year ago | (#42998279)

While I'm usually not fond of "web apps", the Firefox OS way of doing web only means you never deal with native apps. Many posts seem to lament this but this lack of a native ecosystem actually is something good for me : I don't want to maintain yet another computer, and be "forced" to carry it 24/7, and I don't want to lock myself into either existing "app" ecosystem. Even if a lock-in to e.g. the Android platform is not a very strong one, it's still a lock-in and has its own complexities (Android 2.x vs 4.x, ARM vs x86, Google app store vs sideloaded apps).

I actually have no smartphone, If I get a Firefox one it would be my first one. And who cares if I check mail or take text notes etc. in some web interface instead of a native application? I've only ever used webmail anyway, since about 2001. I wouldn't have any strong performance requirements (I am not interested in 3D games on a device that doesn't even have suitable controls) and I think low end smartphones will at least have a single core 1.x GHz CPU, be it MIPS, ARM or x86 and those will be enough to deal with the inefficiencies of running a card game on javascript and showing me pictures and maps in a web browser.

Re:Less is more (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42999905)

Take the advice from a Smartphone owner, don't ever buy one if you have never owned one before.

They are an enormous tool for invasion of privacy, and once the novelty wears off after about 3 years you begin to break it down to the bare essentials and just buy a tablet and use the phone as a PHONE.

If you want a camera, get a Kodak Zi8 or something, if you want an mp3 player, get an mp3 player.

A smartphone is neither a good camera/video camera or a good mp3 player, the battery life is just not long enough.

addons would make things interesting.... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42998371)

adblock, noscript, greasemonkey......... ;p

Is it running on freedom friendly hardware? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42998633)

Or at least less privacy invasive /w free software drivers and a modem that can't spy on you? Unless this is the case I don't care that much. Freedom in the phone world sucks. It is non-existent. We need another company like ThinkPenguin to get off the ground in the phone world and promote free software and protect users.

Unfortunately too many people care only about the practical benefits of having the source code. That isn't helping. I am after practical benefits like better support but outright ignoring the non-free parts is detrimental.

Does no one see this? (1)

sootman (158191) | about a year ago | (#42999223)

> Developers are busy and don't have time to learn a new
> programming language. We believe that the only
> remaining eco-system is the web and there are more
> developers for the web than for any other platform in the world...

Developers aren't lazy slobs who follow the path of least resistance. Developers who want to get paid will go where the money is. That requires many things; chief among them, a way to collect money. iOS delivers this in spades; Android delivers a little bit. [techpinions.com] Making money with a web app will be exceptionally hard. Yes, there are advantages to web technologies, but not enough to make a web-based OS on a phone take off.

clearly superior (1)

rubycodez (864176) | about a year ago | (#42999319)

instead of flamboyant saturated colored squares as in Android, Windows 8 or Unity, we have disks! square tiles should be relegated to the bathroom and snooty sushi restaurant tableware!

Ubuntu, now Firefox? (1)

davidvkimball (2849609) | about a year ago | (#42999441)

So let's see, what's going on in the mobile world: BlackBerry slowly going under and being replaced by Windows Phone (Symbian is going away, too). iOS and Android continue to dominate the market. Ubuntu is starting to make tablet and smartphone OSes. How does Mozilla figure Firefox OS is going to stand out?

Beta test it somewhere besides the USA (1)

p51d007 (656414) | about a year ago | (#42999529)

Ok by me. I'd prefer for them to work the kinks out in places that have no expectations, like emerging markets. Once they have matured a bit, then bring them to the U.S.

Or.... (1)

updatelee (244571) | about a year ago | (#42999541)

They could stop making OS's that require you to use specific programming languages and go back to the desktop model that lets you program in whatever language you want to.

I write apps in Linux in C as well as C++, but Ive also wrote a few apps in Python. Others use Perl, Cobol, pascal, Java, asm and many others.

UDL

They will kill it if it shows any signs of stamina (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about a year ago | (#42999679)

Firefox does not have deep pockets. So it does not attract patent trolls that much. But it also means, it can not defend itself against a deep pocketed entity that is threatened by its emergence. So it will be killed by the big players if it shows any sign of stamina.

Wait, wait, I hear you say. We are talking about firefox, firefox the giant slayer who took on IE like David took Goliath! That happened because millions of users faithfully downloaded and installed firefox with great determination and perseverance, IE had many security holes, Microsoft took its users for granted. Now in the smart phone arena, iPhone takes the place of IE, but without that many known and visible security holes. But a strong alternative to iPhone exists, by a well funded opponent, Android. There simply are not enough determined firefox fans left to make a big dent. In fact firefox has ceded dominance to Chrome even in the browser arena. Firefox peaked at 47% share in 2009. Chrome has been gobbling up the market share of both firefox and IE. Firefox is still the second most popular platform, though.

Love this post (-1, Flamebait)

terrymanguyguy (2824063) | about a year ago | (#43000235)

Love this post alot about Firefox and other related things.Million thanks for sharing it.Will bookmark this great website for future reference.Very informative and so helpful this website content and page.This page also regarding the remaining eco-system is the website.Great to know it also.May god bless you.Amen Cesar millan puppy training [webs.com] eforex india [webs.com]

Disney, EA, Facebook, MTV support Firefox OS (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43000655)

The list of developers providing content goes on and on.

If you’ll permit me a humblebrag, this is all the work of the content BD team, one of the best BD teams around and which I’m honored to say I lead (or I’m the overhead, depends on who you ask.)

Here’s what some of the biggest developers in the industry are saying about FirefoxOS:

“Every device is better if it’s social and we’re excited that Firefox OS users will have easy access to the mobile Web-based version of Facebook that will take advantage of our current and future features,” said Vaughan Smith, VP of Mobile Partnerships at Facebook.

“Firefox OS provides us with a great opportunity to reach new consumers in emerging markets,” said Glenn Roland, VP of New Platforms and OEM at EA. “We’re pleased to bring HTML5 versions of top games including Poppit! from Pogo, as well as several popular mobile titles to the cross-platform Firefox Marketplace this year.”

“Bringing such popular titles as Where’s My Water? and Where’s My Perry? to the Firefox Marketplace is a great opportunity to increase our network of players in developing markets,” said Bart Decrem, SVP of Disney Mobile Games. “Having worked with Mozilla in the past, I’m especially enthusiastic about the potential of Firefox OS.”

“Firefox OS enables the new MTV Brasil app to give people access to all of the news, video and multimedia content developed for mobile devices, including shows that are currently on air,” said Robson Gomes, MTV Brasil Technology Manager. “Firefox OS makes it easier to give people the content they want and this is another important tool to access MTV Brasil’s universe of humor, music and lifestyle.”

Firefox OS or Ubuntu Touch, who will prevail? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43000673)

I’m betting on Firefox OS considering their platform is mature. has a great line up of apps, and perhaps the better development tools when compared to Ubuntu Touch, which seems to be building its platform on using a mashup of Cyanogenmod and demo applications that are mostly just a UI shell and for all purposes are demoware.

I have tried out the Ubuntu Touch image on a Galaxy Nexus device. I have also had multiple opportunities to test the Firefox OS platform on development devices, Comparing the two, I found the Firefox OS UI not only to be much faster and more fluid to the Touch, but months ago, when I was playing around with Firefox OS, it was much more mature than the Ubuntu Touch platform is today.
Apps

Firefox OS already has a impressive line up of apps available in the Firefox Marketplace, many of which are officially supported by the service providers. Ubuntu Touch mostly has non-functional demo applications and has no official support from the likes of Twitter, Evernote and other major services. In fact, just a few days ago I asked someone at Canonical whether they even had permission to use the trademarked branding of Twitter, Facebook and Skype and they had no clue and thought that the trademark policies of these brands would openly allow them to use the brands and make a show like there was official support from these brands for the Ubuntu Touch platform.

Firefox OS set out from the start to not only provide excellent developer tools to contributors but also to host events worldwide to support and accelerate app development by supporting its local communities worldwide through the Mozilla Reps program. Ubuntu has yet to use and empower its LoCo’s (Local Communities) to host events and bring potential developers into the fold.

Firefox OS boasts a emulator for the Ubuntu Desktop yet Ubuntu Phone has no comparable emulator so developers can test their apps and see how they function.

Firefox OS has been an open platform from the start and has had a very open dialogue with its community while Ubuntu Touch has seen a lot of behind the scenes privacy and limited involvement with the Ubuntu Community. It would seem this walled garden approach that Canonical has taken in launching the Ubuntu Touch platform may have actually hindered progress.

Firefox OS being a project of Mozilla, which is a non-profit, is also better geared to be a more open and transparent platform considering that Mozilla does not have the same commercial aspirations that Canonical has.

Mozilla has been touted as one of the most trusted internet companies when it comes to user privacy while Canonical has faced criticism both from its community and from the greater open source community for privacy fails in its Unity dash. It is unclear what impact the privacy concerns that were raised by the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Free Software Foundation will have when it comes to consumers making decisions on whether to trust this mobile data with a platform that Canonical controls and seems unwilling to bend to community feedback.

"I’m astonished by Canonical’s blatant disregard for providing a way to opt-in to this gaping privacy hole. This is a dramatic case of “calling home”, and provides a large amount of information about the user, in real-time.” pointed out Kees Cook, Google Developer and Former Ubuntu Security Engineer in his blog post.

I think Canonical has a long way to go not only from the app development aspect and refining their platform, but also in ensuring that end-users and the community feel like Canonical is being receptive to their concerns, because at the end of the day, Canonical is not buying the product. It’s the users and community members that have the buying power and the power to advocate for the platform being more greatly adopted.

As for Firefox OS, I believe all the right moves are being made and that’s clearly being shown with how remarkable the product is becoming already and how much interest has already been built surrounding the platform and the fact that Firefox OS has a thriving developer community while Ubuntu’s is still in an infancy stage.

Notably, I have been very critical as of late towards the decisions Canonical has been making with Ubuntu. These criticisms are not a result of my distaste for Canonical, but instead because Canonical has made poor decisions of which they have admitted to me in private. I think Canonical has an excellent opportunity to make excellent choices going forward. These choices will allow Ubuntu to be the platform that Mark Shuttleworth fondly talks about with buzzwords and the same platform that Ubuntu community members like myself and others also envision.

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