5 reasons to try Mozilla’s new mobile OS

5 reasons to try Mozilla’s new mobile OS

If you’re confused by the never ending Android/iPhone/Windows Phone debate, then Mozilla’s new mobile operating system Boot to Gecko (B2G) may come as a breath of fresh air.

Announced last summer, it was premiered for the first time at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona and promises some exciting possibilities for the mobile market:

Works on any mobile device

B2G works on any phone because it runs via your web browser. It’s based entirely on HTML 5, Javascript and CSS which are web standards that work on any mobile device.  This means no more frustrations being locked into either Android, iOS or Windows 7 – apps on B2G work on any smartphone. It’s also completely open source meaning developers are free to modify and customize it as they like unlike other platforms.

It’s extremely fast

In a recent test on a Samsung Galaxy SII, B2G booted in less than 6 seconds – try getting even close to that on Android or iPhone. Scrolling and launching of apps was also super quick with a slick interface that’s been described as a mix between Windows 7 and iOS. According to the test however, gaming in HTML 5 wasn’t particularly smooth but this will probably change as HTML 5 develops. Which leads onto…

Easier to create apps

Anyone who knows how to program in HTML 5 – a relatively accessible programming language – will be able to create apps for B2G. And unlike the iPhone App Store or Android Marketplace (now Google Play) you won’t be locked into one payment method for paid apps and games. You’ll be able to use Paypal, Visa etc in  Mozilla Marketplace. Of course, once you’ve created your app, it will work on any mobile device so you’re not locked onto Android, iPhone or Windows 7.

Doesn’t consume much battery power

The small footprint of a browser based operating system means that B2G should significantly extend battery life before re-charging. However, this remains a claim by Mozilla and can’t be verified until B2G has been extensively tested over long periods on Android devices and iPhones.

Provides more privacy than other platforms

B2G will be the first mobile OS to use Do Not Track at the operating system level. This simply inserts a header into the OS that stops user being tracked by advertisers and websites collecting your data and sending it on the third parties – a measure that simply doesn’t exist in Android, iOS or Windows 7. In addition, because B2G is based on a Linux kernel, it brings Linux level security to mobile devices.

Of course, web based OS systems like B2G haven’t exactly been a big success so far. Google’s Chrome OS is a prime example and it’s possible that B2G may suffer the same problems. However, it’s arguable that it should be easier to make a success of on a mobile device than a PC.

It looks like the first B2G phones will be released in late 2012, most probably in Spain by Telefonica. Until then, you can see it here in action at the World Mobile Congress. However, those with technical know-how can try it for free at Github.

[Image courtesy of Unwiredview.com]

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