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First Mozilla Boot to Gecko Devices Launching by Early 2013

By - Source: ZTOP | B 10 comments

The first devices with Mozilla's Boot to Gecko OS will arrive in Brazil sometime between the end of 2012 and early 2013.

Mozilla is reportedly launching its HTML5-based mobile platform Boot to Gecko between the end of 2012 and early 2013.

The news arrives by way of Mozilla CEO Gary Kovacs who made the announcement in Sao Paulo, Brazil. According to Kovacs, this is where the OS will initially launch, as its reliance on HTML5 and open web standards will be a practical way to get smartphone features on low-end devices. Mozilla has partnered with Telefónica to release the unannounced devices which, thanks to Brazilian law, will be unlocked when they go retail.

Mozilla's Boot to Gecko mobile OS is basically a Linux kernel with device drivers, and doesn't feature any additional layers of software. Jay Sullivan, vice president of products at Mozilla, recently said in an interview that the equivalent on Google's popular android OS would be that there is no Dalvik, and there is no Java machine.

"It's just the Gecko rendering engine," he said. "It's a Linux kernel and uses the same device drivers that Android uses. So if you're an OEM, you can get this thing set up in a few days, because it's using all the same drivers and stuff. All we wanted was the smallest possible kernel because we wanted the whole thing to be powered by JavaScript interfaces."

Mozilla's plan is to offer complete ownership and control of apps to the device owner. Unlike "silo" platforms that only allow the user to access their apps on a specific platform, Mozilla wants users to have the ability to access them on their smartphone, PC, tablet and more. This is where the Mozilla Marketplace comes in.

"The apps on B2G are normal HTML5 apps or sites that have been wrapped up with a little metadata information that says, 'Hey, I'm an app. Here's my icon. Here's my name,'" he said in the interview. " So what we're trying to do is make it so that users have choice and that developers can just freely develop whatever they want without worrying about stores and gatekeepers."

"We're going to have a market because people want ratings and discoverability," he added. "But what's unique about our system is that anyone can have a market for web apps, and also, you can self-publish them and the browser can help [the user] discover those web apps."

So far there's no word on when Boot to Gecko will be launched on devices in other territories. Even more, phone makers have yet to reveal the first Boot to Gecko devices that are slated to arrive in Brazil. However they're expected to be sold at feature phone prices.

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  • 0 Hide
    koga73 , April 20, 2012 7:20 PM
    There are too many mobile OS' and browsers
    As a developer when I build a mobile site I just cant make something that will work on Android, iOS, IE Mobile, Opera Mini, Firefox Mobile, Blackberrys, etc. It's just not possible meaning I only support devices with the highest market share. As for the other devices they will eventually die off when people don't want them because sites don't render correctly.
  • 5 Hide
    esrever , April 20, 2012 8:53 PM
    Maybe eventually you will be able to choose your web browser on all smart phones to the one you prefer.
  • 4 Hide
    koga73 , April 20, 2012 9:01 PM
    If we had a single runtime environment for web code it would simplify everything. This is what flash and java do and why plug-ins are great because you can make something that renders the same across all devices no matter the platform. By each browser having their own javascript and html rendering engine we are taking a step backwards.
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  • 0 Hide
    madooo12 , April 20, 2012 9:35 PM
    koga73There are too many mobile OS' and browsersAs a developer when I build a mobile site I just cant make something that will work on Android, iOS, IE Mobile, Opera Mini, Firefox Mobile, Blackberrys, etc. It's just not possible meaning I only support devices with the highest market share. As for the other devices they will eventually die off when people don't want them because sites don't render correctly.

    actually most work on webkit (android, IOS, nokia....) and trident is like the desktop version, opera mini stuff is prerendered so it wouldn't be able to make dynamic content anyway

    BTW most are quite similar
  • 0 Hide
    koga73 , April 20, 2012 11:34 PM
    While most do use webkit not all do. I was working on a mobile site today that looked great on Android and iOS but was broke as shit in IE mobile... and I thought getting a site to render correctly in IE for desktops was a pain in the ass
  • 0 Hide
    __-_-_-__ , April 21, 2012 12:54 PM
    worthless without open drivers. perfect with trully open source everything. sky is the limit.
  • -1 Hide
    freedas , April 22, 2012 12:54 PM
    You're on top of it.
  • 0 Hide
    arlandi , April 23, 2012 4:06 AM
    it's good to see competition, but without a lot of support from hardware manufacturers and later software developers, this platform could simply be another meego. no matter how good it is.
    but i wish mozilla good luck. i've been using their browser as my main browser for years.
  • 0 Hide
    sam buddy , April 24, 2012 6:30 AM
    This will surely be my mobile OS of choice, because Mozilla respects its users privacy.

    koga73If we had a single runtime environment for web code it would simplify everything. This is what flash and java do and why plug-ins are great because you can make something that renders the same across all devices no matter the platform. By each browser having their own javascript and html rendering engine we are taking a step backwards.


    I think HTML5 and open web standards is the step forward. If you stick to compliant code, and test it using the same tests browser makers use (Tom's Hardware, too, on browser Grand Prix), then, as you already said:

    koga73... the other devices they will eventually die off when people don't want them because sites don't render correctly.


    It's them who have to try harder to comply. I think stiff competition will make them (see Tizen, maybe Chromium, etc.). Of course, it'll be of help if users make the right choice (i.e. open standards and, hopefully, at a later point in time, this could lead to open drivers, too).
  • 0 Hide
    WyomingKnott , April 24, 2012 7:19 PM
    Oh, Boy! Yet another mobile phone OS!