The likes of Android and iOS have already made a mark so deep in users that's usually hard for all of us to suddenly jump operating systems. Android users keep using Android, and iOS users "aren't able to use anything after iOS," and very little opt for others. However, in that scenario, we again have a new OS. This time, its Firefox.
The Firefox OS has made a small yet careful entry into the native market with the launch of two low budget smartphones- Intex Cloud FX and Spice Fire One Mi-FX 1. And although the overall specifications of the handsets aren't that, well, eye-catching, users still have queries about the new OS in particular.
The OS and its corresponding handsets were launched by Mozilla foundation with the tag of being the world's first "open Web Devices." The Firefox OS-based smartphones have an aim: To offer feature phone users with a low cost yet good enough OS for their first smartphone.
While the Firefox mobile platform has just made an entry in the Indian market, it's already present in parts of Europe and Latin America via Alcatel OneTouch Fire and ZTE Open smartphones. And as expected, the OS has caught the attention of smartphone gurus across the planet.
But what exactly is the deal here? Is is similar to Android or iOS? Questions are many. So let's just jump into the only features of the platform that you will ever need to know.
The OS That Upgrades in Bits and Parts
The Firefox mobile platform's architecture is such that its always changing characteristics have been pushed down to the what they call at Mozilla a "Gecko layer" (a web browser engine used in many applications developed by Mozilla Foundation).
So there's no issue with lower layers affecting the functionality of the system. Hence OEMs upgrade devices faster and accordingly reduce OS fragmentation. And this is for both new and old devices.
Yes! It Supports Everything
If you are the social media sorts, you should be thrilled to know that the the Firefox OS supports all the major social networking apps like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Quora, Pinterest and more.
Search Goes Dynamic
One great thing about the Firefox OS is the fact that is doesn't distinguish between either its Firefox OS apps or the other mobiles sites. This means that whenever you are searching with a certain keyword, you will be offered a workable combination of the apps and mobile sites (region specific). In fact, some of these sites may even have their own web apps embedded inside.
Then onwards, the user may run the application directly from the webpage and should have the option to only download the app if needed further in the future.
Understanding the Difference -- in Apps
Know that the Firefox OS (powered by Gecko engine) only runs websites that will be in the form of apps. These are known as web apps and are built using HTML. And in case you aren't sure, it's the same technology that lights up the Web for you everyday. But the good news is that these web app will indeed run on many other OSs apart from the handsets running the Firefox platform.
It's Open Source. Yay!
In case you are a nerd (like most of us around here), you should let go a huge sigh of relief knowing that the OS is open source. I can already listen the cheers afar!
For the mobile platform, There is no SDK (Software Development Kit) for you to download and install. Rather, all the OS developmental segments have been tagged under GitHub projects and are open to public. Indeed, "Web is the platform" remains as the central theme of Firefox OS.