First Mozilla Boot to Gecko Devices Launching by 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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  • koga73
    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.
  • esrever
    Maybe eventually you will be able to choose your web browser on all smart phones to the one you prefer.
  • koga73
    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.