back to article Firefox OS starting small but thinking big says Mozilla CTO

There's much talk in the mobile operating systems market about a third player breaking the Android and iOS duopoly. BlackBerry and Windows Phone 8 certainly want to be that player, but Mozilla's CTO Brendan Eich tells El Reg that Firefox OS might have the secret sauce that could severely disrupt the market. "We're being open …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    An opportunity, but not a slam dunk

    Operators certainly don't want to be paying the tax to Apple or Google, given that both platforms bite deeply into their traditional revenue streams (look at what iMessage has done to SMS revenues for example, and paying Google when Google are destroying the telco margin model is exquisitely painful for carriers).

    However, the carriers are also quite capable of taking a platform and tripping all over it, negating all the benefits of the platform in the first place. The mozilla folks will have to tread very carefully here.

    1. Irongut Silver badge

      Re: An opportunity, but not a slam dunk

      What do you think the carriers are paying Google for?

      Google charges the manufacturers to include the Google suite of apps but afaik it doesn't charge the carriers anything and I fail to see how / why it would do so.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: An opportunity, but not a slam dunk

      Ahhh, more Open Source OS fragmentation - just what made Linux such a success on the desktop. Oh. Wait....

  2. Robert Grant Silver badge


    So to add it to the list of iOS, Android and BB10, that looks like a grid of icons. Any nice UI bits, or not really?

  3. Steven Roper

    Ticks the right boxes so far

    Having gone over the privacy policy for Firefox OS, it certainly doesn't look nearly as invasive as Android or Windows 8.

    One thing I really like is the ability to use the OS without having to "sign in" to an online account, thereby assuring that the OS isn't "phoning home" about everything I do. This is a disturbing trend I've seen of late from all the major OS vendors, so it's gratifying to see Mozilla isn't jumping on the "we want to monitor everything you do" bandwagon.

    The Do Not Track integration is a good point as well, and I really hope that this will also entail more effective granular control of permissions for apps than is afforded on Android, e.g. a weather app wants access to my contact list despite a weather app having no need to do so, but if I refuse the permission I can't use the app. I'm hoping Firefox OS won't allow this bullshit "forced permission" policy.

    So I'm definitely interested at this stage, I've got an el cheapo Android tablet on the way from China which I'll be using as a testbed for Firefox OS when it arrives, and we'll see where it goes from there.

  4. Chairo

    Why dissing Android?

    I wonder why he picks on Gingerbread? It might not be the newest and most shiny, but it has already proven a few million times, that it is indeed "a fully functional mobile OS".

    Does he think Firefox OS cannot compete on it's own merits?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm definitely getting one of these next time I'm in Spain...

    As consumers our only option is to vote with our wallets.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: I'm definitely getting one of these next time I'm in Spain...

      It's €69 on prepay... hopefully it won't be operator locked.

      Here's a walkthrough video by Movistar. You can turn on automatic subtitles in Spanish (first level of mangling) then get them automatically translated into English (second level of mangling).

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Privacy at last?

    I'm still using a dumb-phone because

    a) I'm a miser who delights in getting as much use as possible out of things that still work.

    b) Charging once a week suits me better than every day.

    c) I'm waiting for a phone with a camera that impresses me at a price that makes it silly not to buy.

    d) I'm so wary of privacy and tracking issues that I've never looked into what Android and a Google account really means.

    So if this new F-OS brings me a smart phone that finally allows digital freedom, it's looking at least 25% more appealing :)

    1. mitch 2

      Re: Privacy at last?

      I also have a dumb phone and frequently leave it turned off. I have a very unexciting life but I still dont want it monitored and GPS tracked. Does that make me tinfoil hat brigade? So far I have not taken the app candy.

  7. BrendanEich

    Gingerbread as "the IE6 of mobile"

    Chairo: GB is ancient and Googlers have been "dissing" it in favor of Android 4, while turning a blind eye to GB's role in helping silicon and device manufacturers use lower-yield wafers and keep their lower-end lines going. It will be put on phones in significant volumes in 2013 and into 2014.

    Worse, GB's WebKit is old and buggy, the "IE6 of mobile" -- ask any developer -- and not updated.

    But mainly, and the point of this story: GB leaves a hole in the market which Firefox OS aims to fill. This is news, apparently.


  8. Shagbag

    "the Android Linux kernel"

    That's like saying "British English". It doesn't exist. There's just English. And there's the Linux kernel.

    1. Luke McCarthy

      Re: "the Android Linux kernel"

      Nope. The Android kernel is a fork.

      1. gribbler

        Re: "the Android Linux kernel"

        Android merged back into the main Linux kernel about a year ago.

  9. Jason Hindle

    Surprised at the fairly positive reaction

    Come to think of it, I'm surprised I don't actively dislike it. Curiosity might just drive me to buy one of these.

  10. Mark .

    I don't know where this duopoly stuff comes from - with close to 80% share, that's a monopoly - one dominating OS, with a few other smaller players.

    I find it curious that we only hear the idea of it being a duopoly when it's IOS that's 2nd place - in all the years it *was* a Symbian and Android duopoly, instead we heard about all the other platforms like IOS...

    More choice is good. There was far more choice in the market in the past - I see no reason why there can't be more than 2, or 1, OS in the market.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    New tech?

    What is this CCS you speak of?

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