Mozilla Makes Prototype of Firefox OS Available
Mozilla released its annual report last week, with a PDF available at the bottom of this page, and the organization's finances are clearly in order as it moves toward the next chapter in its story: the delivery of Firefox OS. It's become clear that the next frontier for Firefox is on smartphones, especially in emerging markets. Even though the operating system hasn't arrived in a version for smartphones and tablets just yet, it is available as a prototype module that you can run on Windows, Mac or Linux computers. You can try it here.
Meanwhile, Mozilla has been making some noise about its entry into the mobile OS business. The Guardian has reported that Andreas Gal, director of research at Mozilla, spoke at a conference and said:
"Mobile is an entirely different environment...Android is often called open source, but it's not really open in the terms that Mozilla talks about open. Like iOS you have basically a silo. It's controlled by Google."
According to Gal, Mozilla is very focused on HTML5 and open standards with its mobile OS. The initial Firefox OS phones will arrive in 2013, and it's been reported that Alcatel and ZTE are the first manufacturers on board.
The real question is how welcome a new open mobile OS will be in the smartphone market. Mozilla and its partners Qualcomm and Telefonica are hoping that low-priced phones will be appealing in emerging markets.
If you're not inclined to try the desktop prototype of Firefox OS, Robert Nyman, a Technical Evangelist for Mozilla, has posted a Flickr gallery of screenshots of it, and it's seen below: