Mozilla’s Boot 2 Gecko ‘web-based’ mobile operating system is looking like it will make an initial appearance in late 2011/early 2012 followed by a release later on in the year (potentially Q2).
The MozillaWiki states that a product demo could take place as early as Q4 2011, where a developer phone will be unveiled showcasing B2G’s system (known as GONK), the platform’s user interface and how Mozilla has integrated web-based technologies into a mobile platform.
So what is B2G? Put simply, B2G is based on the web and aims to give ‘web developers the same capabilities as those building for OS-specific stacks’ (like Android or iOS). Mozilla believes that the next frontier for Web applications is full device integration.
But why is Mozilla doing this? Simple: it ‘believes that the web can displace proprietary, single-vendor stacks for application development.’ The end result, according to Mozilla, will be a fully functioning PC/mobile operating system that will co-exist with Android, iOS and the rest.
Mozilla is also keen to dispel any similarities one might perceive between B2G and Google’s Chrome OS:
‘We’re aiming at mobile/tablet devices rather than a notebook form factor. This is an early-stage project to expose all device capabilities such that infrastructure like phone dialers can be built with Web APIs, and not only “high level” apps like word processors and presentation software.’
It added: ‘we will of course be happy to work with the Chrome OS team on standards activities, and indeed to share source code where appropriate.’
B2G developers are currently working on these aspects of the platform:
- New web APIs: build prototype APIs for exposing device and OS capabilities to content (Telephony, SMS, Camera, USB, Bluetooth, NFC, etc.)
- Privilege model: making sure that these new capabilities are safely exposed to pages and applications
- Booting: prototype a low-level substrate for an Android-compatible device
- Applications: choose and port or build apps to prove out and prioritize the power of the system
There’s even been some UI designs leaked online, which we have to say look a lot like Apple’s iOS set-up – lets just hope Mozilla has a good team of lawyers in place.
All in all this is a very interesting development and we’re seriously excited about what Mozilla is attempting to do here – it’s a seriously bold move and it takes guts. The market is pretty much saturated at present, even Microsoft is having a tough time breaking its Windows Phone 7 platform – and its got billions to spend on advertising as well.
Nonetheless, we always welcome some new innovation in the world of mobile technology. Let’s just hope Mozilla comes to the table with something impressive.
Please note: Mozilla has specifically stated that it has no intention of releasing a Mozilla-branded smartphone. This will be a platform first and foremost and not a jump into the world of hardware – that will probably come later.