Mozilla first introduced a prototype for a gatekeeper-bypassing, open app ecosystem back in 2010; close to the time Google voiced releasing its own Chrome Web App store. The open source company said then that it intended to make its apps available for any desktop or mobile browsers be it IE, Chrome, Opera or Safari. Currently, the Marketplace test run is live, though closed off to new registrations. For the future, with some “Mozilla-proposed APIs” and a little HTML5, developers will be able to “write once, deploy everywhere,” which the non-profit organization believes will be appealing due to the reduction of cost and maintenance of applications.
On its blog, Mozilla announced recently that the Mozilla Marketplace would be open for developer submissions next week during Mobile World Congress. Submitting the app would reserve the app name, as well as give the app priority when the app store finally launches. Mozilla says the Marketplace will be open to consumers later this year, though there’s no details on even which quarter the app store will be launched in.
“The Web is the largest platform in the world. We are enabling the Web to be the marketplace, giving developers the opportunity to play on the biggest playing field imaginable,” said Mozilla’s chief of Innovation, Todd Simpson. “By building the missing pieces, Mozilla is now unlocking the potential of the Web to be the platform for creating and consuming content everywhere.”
Firefox, the browser that took down Internet Explorer’s 90 percent market share, has been losing market share to Google Chrome. Stunted on the desktop-front, Mozilla has also had a hard time gaining entrance into the rapidly expanding mobile browsing landscape. As Geoff Duncan has pointed out, Android is the only platform where Mozilla is welcome, and even then, Firefox doesn’t seem to match up to the Android native browser. In the mobile world, Safari has more than half the market share, with Firefox registering only 02 percent of the browser market share according to Net Applications. Apple
In order to compete in the mobile arena, Mozilla is bringing its own ball. In its published 2012 product road map, the organization is planning to launch Boot to Gecko, a fully Web-based mobile OS for mobile—everything on-screen would be an app. According to the San Jose Mercury, Mozilla may unveil a prototype of the software at the upcoming Mobile World Congress in Spain, with plans for Boot 2 Gecko to reach the “productization” stage in quarter two of 2012. Supposedly, Mozilla is currently in talks with manufacturers and wireless carriers for an upcoming Mozilla phone.With its own phone and the Marketplace product, Mozilla seems poised to once again, become a significant alternative.
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