Mozilla, the non-profit organisation behind Firefox, has today announced its plans to unlock the ‘power of the Web' for mobile devices.
Speaking with Mozilla representatives today at MWC in Barcelona, it was clear to see that the organisation is fully focused on tearing up the iOS and Android rule books. The official line from Mozilla is "Mozilla believes that the mobile Web has evolved primarily through closed platforms, which has limited consumer choice and stifled participation, competition and innovation - locking the industry to a few OS and device makers." See all MWC News.
That's why Mozilla is working on a project it is calling Boot to Gecko which is essentially an operating system for mobile devices. Boot to Gecko is an open-source operating system that relies on your phone connecting to web to work – even using your mobile device to take a picture will require HTML5 coding and the use of a ‘web app'. B2G (Boot to Gecko) seems to have hit the ground running as it was also announced that the major phone networks Telefornica and Gualcomm have signed up to Mozilla's mobile OS dream and will soon sell phones pre-loaded with Boot to Gecko.
Mozilla demonstrated Boot to Gecko for us on a Samsung Galaxy S2 today, and made a phone call using a HTML5 based web app, and although we've seen and phone call being made millions of times before, it was impressive to know (and witness) it was all being done by pretty basic HTML5 coding, and really sends the message home that B2G really does unlock your phone! What's impressive too is that B2G uses less processing power than traditional mobile operating systems, so not only should it speed up your phone's performance but it should also improve battery life (never a bad thing!)
The potential of Boot to Gecko is endless, if it gets picked up by more major networks and smartphone manufacturers, it could mean better apps for all smartphone and more efficient mobile computing for all. A good way of looking at it is as the opposite to Android's fragmentation problem. With boot to Gecko installed on your handset (whatever handset it is) it will make the web a level playing field - so in theory, if BSkyB developed its Sky Go app for Boot to Gecko OS' anyone with anyone using with B2G installed on their mobile device could access the app; solving a highly publicised problem BSkyB is experiencing with Android fragmentation.
Boot to Gecko would be a developer's dream, which in turn can only be a good thing for end users. I'll leave you with the words of Mozilla's Chief of Innovation, Todd Simpson as he sums up Boot to Gecko perfectly: "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. By building the missing pieces, Mozilla is now unlocking the potential of the Web to be the platform for creating and consuming content everywhere."