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Meet the OS Google and Apple should worry about

Jun 04, 2013
<h1>What is this?</h1>
Firefox OS is a lightweight, inexpensive operating system for phones being developed by the Mozilla Foundation, the group that makes the popular Firefox web browser. Why is Firefox going in this direction? After all, <a href="http://money.cnn.com/quote/quote.html?symb=AAPL&amp;source=story_quote_link" title="">Apple</a> and <a href="http://money.cnn.com/quote/quote.html?symb=GOOG&amp;source=story_quote_link" title="">Google</a> combined control over 90% of the mobile OS market. Attempts by <a href="http://money.cnn.com/quote/quote.html?symb=MSFT&amp;source=story_quote_link" title="">Microsoft</a> and <a href="http://money.cnn.com/quote/quote.html?symb=BBRY&amp;source=story_quote_link" title="">Blackberry</a> to <a href="http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2013/05/16/windows-phone-surpasses-blackberry-for-third-place-in-smartphone-shipments/" title="">cement third place</a> -- with market share in the low single digits -- have proved expensive and not-so-successful. Firefox OS isn't going after the top of the market -- at least not yet. Introduced earlier this year, the operating system is initially aimed at low-cost handsets in developing markets.

Firefox OS is based on Linux and is open source. It is designed to allow web-like HTML apps to directly control a device's hardware using JavaScript and so-called web API's. Mozilla's interest is in establishing or cementing web technologies, as opposed to some of the closed approaches of other big players. So far, initial Firefox phones have been low-frills affairs. But Taiwanese giant Foxconn -- the world's largest manufacturer of electronic devices -- is going to put some weight behind Firefox OS. (Foxconn, of course, puts together devices for Apple and <a href="http://money.cnn.com/quote/quote.html?symb=NOK&amp;source=story_quote_link" title="">Nokia</a>.) Here's a closer look at the revolutionary operating system.

What is this?

Firefox OS is a lightweight, inexpensive operating system for phones being developed by the Mozilla Foundation, the group that makes the popular Firefox web browser. Why is Firefox going in this direction? After all, Apple and Google combined control over 90% of the mobile OS market. Attempts by Microsoft and Blackberry to cement third place -- with market share in the low single digits -- have proved expensive and not-so-successful. Firefox OS isn't going after the top of the market -- at least not yet. Introduced earlier this year, the operating system is initially aimed at low-cost handsets in developing markets. Firefox OS is based on Linux and is open source. It is designed to allow web-like HTML apps to directly control a device's hardware using JavaScript and so-called web API's. Mozilla's interest is in establishing or cementing web technologies, as opposed to some of the closed approaches of other big players. So far, initial Firefox phones have been low-frills affairs. But Taiwanese giant Foxconn -- the world's largest manufacturer of electronic devices -- is going to put some weight behind Firefox OS. (Foxconn, of course, puts together devices for Apple and Nokia.) Here's a closer look at the revolutionary operating system.

What is this?

Firefox OS is a lightweight, inexpensive operating system for phones being developed by the Mozilla Foundation, the group that makes the popular Firefox web browser. Why is Firefox going in this direction? After all, Apple (aapl) and Google (goog) combined control over 90% of the mobile OS market. Attempts by Microsoft (msft) and Blackberry (bbry) to cement third place -- with market share in the low single digits -- have proved expensive and not-so-successful. Firefox OS isn't going after the top of the market -- at least not yet. Introduced earlier this year, the operating system is initially aimed at low-cost handsets in developing markets. Firefox OS is based on Linux and is open source. It is designed to allow web-like HTML apps to directly control a device's hardware using JavaScript and so-called web API's. Mozilla's interest is in establishing or cementing web technologies, as opposed to some of the closed approaches of other big players. So far, initial Firefox phones have been low-frills affairs. But Taiwanese giant Foxconn -- the world's largest manufacturer of electronic devices -- is going to put some weight behind Firefox OS. (Foxconn, of course, puts together devices for Apple and Nokia (nok).) Here's a closer look at the revolutionary operating system.

<h1>Making calls</h1>
The built-in dialer is conventional.

Making calls

The built-in dialer is conventional.

Making calls

The built-in dialer is conventional.

<h1>Apps ... sort of</h1>
Firefox's apps are actually self-contained websites or web apps.

Apps ... sort of

Firefox's apps are actually self-contained websites or web apps.

Apps ... sort of

Firefox's apps are actually self-contained websites or web apps.

<h1>Text messaging</h1>
This is what the relatively simple texting app looks like.

Text messaging

This is what the relatively simple texting app looks like.

Text messaging

This is what the relatively simple texting app looks like.

<h1>Music</h1>
The operating system comes with a built-in music app that scans on-board media for files it can access and play.

Music

The operating system comes with a built-in music app that scans on-board media for files it can access and play.

Music

The operating system comes with a built-in music app that scans on-board media for files it can access and play.

<h1>Browser</h1>
Naturally, Firefox OS comes with the Firefox web browser.

Browser

Naturally, Firefox OS comes with the Firefox web browser.

Browser

Naturally, Firefox OS comes with the Firefox web browser.

<h1>Store</h1>
Firefox's marketplace is much like Apple's App Store.

Store

Firefox's marketplace is much like Apple's App Store.

Store

Firefox's marketplace is much like Apple's App Store.

<h1>Apps</h1>
This is what the Twitter web app looks like running on Firefox OS.

Apps

This is what the Twitter web app looks like running on Firefox OS.

Apps

This is what the Twitter web app looks like running on Firefox OS.

<h1>More</h1>
And Wikipedia.

More

And Wikipedia.

More

And Wikipedia.

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