In attendance at the Pepcom Holiday Spectacular in New York City last night was Mozilla Firefox, and we got some hands-on time with the operating system the open-source web browser is currently developing. The Firefox OS (working name, as far as we know) is still in a heavy beta mode, and is built entirely on HTML5. The rep we spoke to demoed the OS using an unbranded ZTE phone, noting that Firefox has stripped the Android out of the phone and created its own operating system from the ground up.
What what we can see, the OS is fully web-based in that every app and functionality runs off the web browser. Making phone calls is equivalent to calling on Skype, taking pictures is akin to snapping flicks with Apple’s Photo Booth, searching straight from the homepage is like having a shortcut to the Firefox search tool bar. There’s also a cartoony game built into the phone that uses a tap to perform actions interface, and it’s clear that the OS still has a bit of a way to go before its scheduled release date early next year.
Mozilla even tried to build a glasses-less 3D rendering that you can see, touch, and move… but this feature was still a bit buggy and did not respond too well to touchscreen interface just yet. We’ll cut it some slack considering it has several months to go, but web developers should definitely gear up for some fun programming time once the open source OS becomes available for your modding pleasures.
The Firefox OS is all part of a collaboration between ZTE and Mozilla to roll out its own system that doesn’t rely on Windows or Android. The finished OS is slated to arrive overseas first, with mobile network operators Deutsche Telekom, Sprint, Smart, Telecom Italia, Telenor, and Etisalat backing the experimental platform, reports Reuters. We hope to catch up with the development team in a few months and see how their work comes along, and whether it’s got something entirely different to offer that truly distinguishes it from the rest.