What MWC Taught Us About Firefox OS
This week marked the beginning of Mobile Web Congress in Barcelona, Spain. This is a giant event in the mobile world and is the kickoff event for Firefox OS. Mozilla CEO Gary Covacs, joined by hundreds of fellow Mozillians, made the official announcement about Firefox OS and was greeted by giant interest. Here's a recap of what was unveiled about this new mobile operating system.
People are Excited
Covacs gave his MWC presentation to a packed house in Barcelona. Anything Mozilla does gets attention but this event highlighted just how excited the tech world was. In addition to the countless reporters and developers that made their way to Spain, the incredible Mozilla booth at MWC has seen countless droves of tech geeks descend upon it, looking to try out Firefox OS and its front-end-powered apps. An open source, client-side-powered mobile operating system -- what's not to like? Firefox OS is the first operating system to launch with millions of apps already created!
Mozilla is Launching with Major Carriers
The first carrier partners include Deutsche Telekom, Qualcomm, Telefonica, and Telenor -- major players in the European and South American mobile markets. Having relationships with these well-known, large entities show the true seriousness of Mozilla's mobile effort. Firefox OS isn't just an experiment or side-project of Mozilla; Firefox OS will become a major player in the mobile OS market.
European and South American Nations are Targeted
The first countries to get Firefox OS include Brazil, Colombia, Hungary, Mexico, Montenegro, Poland, Serbia, Spain and Venezuela. Some countries on this list are developing mobile nations that aren't accustomed to intelligent mobile operating systems, so Firefox OS will be their introduction. Because Firefox OS is client-side-based, it can efficiently run on low-tech, low-cost devices; this being a giant boon to many developing nations. Firefox OS was built with these ideas and mind and has been tested to meet the highest expectations.
HTML5 is Ready
Mark Zuckerberg famously said that Facebook's big mistake was relying too much on HTML5. Of course Sencha dispelled the myth that HTML5 wasn't ready by creating Fastbook, an ultra-fast HTML5-based Facebook app. Firefox OS boasts loads of nice apps, ranging from very simple tech to more advanced tech like the Cut Rope game demoed by VP of Products Jay Sullivan at MWC. Furthermore, if you have a web site/app that already works well in a device's mobile browser, you can simply add an app.manifest file to the domain root and submit it to the Firefox Marketplace. BOOM -- you just created a Firefox OS app with incredibly little effort.
Mozilla Worked Incredibly Hard on Firefox OS
While I submitted a few bug fixes to gaia (Firefox OS' front-end), I wasn't directly developing Firefox OS. But it isn't just the Firefox OS project team members that deserve congratulations for the creation of Firefox OS -- the entire organization worked incredibly hard to get to this moment. Documenters, web developers, designers, managers, marketers -- everyone played a big part in Firefox OS thus far. And of course I cannot forget to mention the countless community members that wrote code and tested Firefox OS -- those people, perhaps, deserve the most credit.
Target US Date is 2014
The big question I kept hearing before this announcement was "When will Firefox OS be available in the United States?" Of course that's a touch question to answer, considering the whole of Firefox OS is open source, and you can install the mobile operating system yourself with the right device. All that said, Covacs revealed that Firefox OS' ideal US launch is sometime during 2014. If you ask me, the US' mobile market could use a competitor to the two companies currently dominating the mobile market.
I'm incredibly happy that Firefox OS has been formally announced and some of the release date and country details have been revealed. The tweets and journals have all been incredibly positive and I look forward to helping Firefox OS grow. The open web wins with Firefox OS!