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Boot to Gecko, Mozilla's New Mobile Operating System

It seems that soon (hopefully end of 2012) we might have a "powered by Mozilla" logo on our smartphones, as our favorite open source organization is developing its own mobile operating system called "Boot to Gecko" (B2G). As its name implies, it is powered by the same engine that powers all Mozilla products, called Gecko.

Boot to Gecko apps

Although, it uses Linux as its foundation, B2G is not based on or related to Android. In fact, no existing mobile applications will run on this platform. As a result, Mozilla plans to roll their own app store. For now they are in a registration phase where developers can sign up and start submitting their apps. Speaking of which, B2G apps will be entirely based on open technologies - HTML, CSS and JS - topped with specific APIs for accessing the underlying hardware.

The project is aimed at the low end market for now, with the goal of offering smartphone features on devices is as low as 600Mhz processors.

From the first pictures and videos, B2G looks really promising. While not revolutionary in any way, the interface is quite attractive and simple.

B2G supporters

During the Mobile World Congress, which took place at the end of February, Mozilla announced a close partnership with Telefónica, one of the biggest telecom companies in the world. At the same time, chipset producer Qualcomm, also announced their support and Deutsche Telekom will chip in by allowing the use of its testing facilities.

Adobe, also stated their support for the project, which is no surprise considering that they can offer the whole software stack needed for B2G app development.

Finally, there were some rumors prior the congress, that LG was developing a Boot to Gecko device, but a Mozilla spokesman dismissed the information. Still, many times such rumors were proven right and in this case, manufacturers might be waiting to see if Mozilla can deliver on their product, before formally announcing their participation.

Exploring the interface

The new interface is called Gaia and the cool thing about it is that it runs in your Firefox browser. Just download the ZIP file, unpack it, upload it to a webserver, resize your Firefox's window to resemble the aspect ratio of a mobile phone in portrait mode and open the file homescreen.html

There's a lot of unfinished stuff, but the bits that work are lightning fast and show a lot of promise. Here are some screenshots:

Boot to Gecko lock screenBoot to Gecko MarketplaceBoot to Gecko Web Browser