Firefox OS Ecosystem: Ambitions and Limits of an Open Source Operating System for Mobile Devices

Firefox OS Ecosystem: Ambitions and Limits of an Open Source Operating System for Mobile Devices

Ewa Janczukowicz (Orange Labs, France), Ahmed Bouabdallah (Institut Mines-Telecom, France), Arnaud Braud (Orange Labs, France), Stéphane Tuffin (Orange Labs, France) and Jean-Marie Bonnin (Telecom Bretagne / IRISA, France)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3422-8.ch024
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Abstract

Firefox OS is an operating system for mobile devices. It is developed by Mozilla and is based on web technologies. Developed applications are therefore not tied to a given type of hardware. Mozilla works on standardisation of Web APIs, so that the device hardware could be accessed more easily. It also introduced its sign-in system for the Web and furthermore, it wants to redefine the way payments work for mobile applications. Firefox OS is not directly competing with Android and iOS, although it has some common target markets with Android. It could be an opportunity to weaken the iOS and Android duopoly. For now it targets users that don't have smartphones yet and is mostly used on low-end devices. The biggest challenge of Firefox OS is to assure a stable position in the mobile OS ecosystem and to get a large volume of users. Mozilla has an ambition to improve the web and make the web the platform. However developing the Firefox OS and ensuring its important place on the market is difficult because of technological and business limits that will be discussed in this chapter.
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Firefox Os Environment

Firefox OS (Mozilla Developer Network: Firefox OS, n.d.) is an operating system for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. It is developed by Mozilla but it aims to be free from any proprietary technology.

Firefox OS uses a Linux kernel and boots into a runtime engine that lets users run applications developed entirely using web technologies, like HTML5, JavaScript, CSS. Thanks to this solution, the entire user interface is a web application that is capable of launching other web apps, which are just web pages with enhanced services and access to device’s hardware.

According to Mozilla evangelists, the founders of Firefox OS do not want it to compete with other actors, but it is supposed to improve the web in general, since for the Mozilla community the web is the platform (The Mozilla Blog, 2012). “Mozilla is dedicated to putting the power of the Web in people’s hands, and Firefox OS frees consumers, developers, mobile providers and manufacturers from the limitations and restrictions of proprietary platforms,” said Dr. Li Gong, Chief Operating Officer of Mozilla (The Mozilla Blog, 2014a).

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