Mozilla Release Firefox OS Mobile Simulator

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iOS and Android will shortly receive more competition when Mozilla release Firefox OS for mobiles. A couple of manufacturers are reported to be launching devices in 2013.

Firefox OSBefore you comment “meh, whatever”, Firefox OS opens a few exciting avenues for web developers. The whole OS and all native applications are coded in HTML5, CSS and JavaScript. A few CSS styles can change the look of the operating system and there’s none of that Java or Objective-C nonsense. In addition, Firefox OS applications are based on the Open Web App (OWA) standard; they should run on any desktop or mobile browser. Your app should work on iOS Safari, Android Chrome or anywhere else. In theory. But don’t bet on it just yet.

Admittedly, there’s no guarantee that Firefox OS will be a success, but it has a few benefits in its favor:

  1. It’s open. That’s really open, rather than Google’s Android-like open which restricts options. Smartphone manufacturers can do what they like with the OS.
  2. Performance is likely to be better than Android on less powerful devices. In essence, Firefox OS is a bootable browser; there’s no reliance on Java VMs or other components.
  3. Mozilla are creating a Marketplace which will allow developers to submit, promote and monetize apps for the Firefox browser and OS.
  4. Firefox OS is free. Hardware vendors will like that.

Try Firefox OS in Firefox

Firefox OSWhile you can’t buy a Firefox OS phone just yet, Mozilla has released a simulator which can be installed as a Firefox plugin. Head over to http://people.mozilla.com/~myk/r2d2b2g/ and click the appropriate link for your OS. You’ll need to allow the add-on and be aware that it weighs in at almost 70Mb. Once installed, select Firefox OS Simulator from the Web Developer menu and set it running; the OS will open in a pop-up window.

Note the simulator is an experimental release. It’s not stable, it’s not complete, it’s slow and buggy. That said, it’s usable, has a selection of apps and you can install your own. Long term, it should provide a viable tool for Firefox OS developers and anyone interested in testing their site on a mobile device.

While desktop emulators are no substitute for testing a real device, few OS vendors release cross-platform mobile simulators or development tools. Let’s hope Mozilla’s efforts go some way to rectify that situation.

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  • http://webninjamobile.com Keithics

    I hope firefox OS will be a better OS and this will give chills to iOS and Android. Thus resulting to a good competition. Good luck Mozilla!

  • http://marchelovargas.wordpress.com/ Marcelo

    At a glance, run with a good speed (compared with android simulator in eclipse) is incredible, great work, go ahead Mozilla

  • http://www.three60mktg.com Three60 Markerting

    Awesome! but gonna be more headaches for developers.. more things to look out for…

  • http://www.trivial.ly Nicholas Johnson

    I am so excited about this. The whole phone is just one big webpage. Dialer, SMS, email, etc. You write your app in native HTML/CSS/JavaScript. I’m sitting close to a guy who’s working on this at the moment. They have a really good team including Brendan Eich, the creator of JavaScript. It should be something special.

  • http://www.cegs.edu.pk Ghulam Mustafa

    Good Luck!!!! Moziiii

    New Day New OS. :P
    Its challenging for developers