Mozilla Boot to Gecko (B2G). Hey, look, it actually works! The first Telefonica phone coming this year

Back in July, when Mozilla announced their Boot to Gecko mobile OS initiative, I thought: “What the heck?! How on Earth are they going to do it? How long will it take? Is it even possible to build phone OS on open Web technologies like HTML 5 and Javascript?And how can they even hope to succeed against well-funded iOS and Android juggernauts?”.

Well, today we have the answers to at least first three questions. Mozilla already has a working prototype of Boot to Gecko running on Samsung Galaxy S2. And, for the OS that was born half a year ago – it’s pretty impressive.

Turns out – even before Mozilla started on B2G, a lot of APIs and technologies for the new Web-based OS were already available. The presentation layer, access to camera and various sensors, OpenGL/GPU APIs for accelerated graphics and video – all this developers were already doing with their Web apps. Mozilla just brought  the  tech together, and focused on building the missing pieces. Like dialer  so Boot to Gecko handset can make a phone call via the phone’s radio, SMS, Contacts as JavaScript APIs/Web apps.

Mozilla still has a long list of things like Bluetooth, Wi-Fi connectivity, NFC, etc; to build. But they are moving with a very good speed, and even promise to have the first phone available by the end of this year. They are also lining up carrier support, having already signed-up Telefonica and Deutsche Telekom (T-Mobile). And while I was waiting to do a hands-on video, a rep from another major European carrier came over to the booth to explore getting Boot to Gecko for their customers.

Unfortunately, build it and they will come approach does not work in mobile telecom any more. iOS and Android have the next generation mobile computing pretty much locked up between them. Even stronger competitors like Windows Phone/Nokia are having very hard time breaking in. So at this point, the chances for Boot 2 Gecko to succeed are below slim.

Still, at least to me, Mozilla’s B2G looks much more real than it did just a week ago. And with mobile industry’s pace of change – who knows what might happen in the next few years.

Author: Stasys Bielinis

While I like to play with the latest gadgets, I am even more interested in broad technology trends. With mobile now taking over the world - following the latest technology news, looking for insights, sharing and discussing them with passionate audience - it's hard to imagine a better place for me to be. You can find me on Twitter as @UVStaska'

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