Mozilla Eyes Smartphone OS

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BARCELONA, Spain (UPI) — Mozilla, the maker of the Firefox Web browser, says it wants to take on Google and Apple in the smartphone arena with an operating system it thinks is better.

At the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, the non-profit organization announced it has created a new smartphone platform called “Boot to Gecko.”

Major European cellphone carrier Telefonica has already said it wants to sell devices using the operating system, CNN reported.

Between them, Google and Apple hold a combined 77 percent share of the U.S. smartphone market, with other operating systems — from BlackBerry and Nokia and even Microsoft — far behind.

Mozilla says what’s different about its platform is that it’s really not a new platform at all: it’s the Web, plain and simple.

“Developers aren’t willing to rewrite all their apps for yet another proprietary system,” Brendan Eich, Mozilla’s chief technology officer, said. “That’s why there won’t be another successful custom operating system after iOS and Android.

“So the next logical step is to make the Web an OS.”

A Web-based OS would offer significant benefits, experts said.

Web apps are platform agnostic, meaning they can run on an iPhone, an Android, a BlackBerry, a Windows Phone, or — now — a Boot to Gecko device.

A user switching phones wouldn’t lose apps, they would travel with the user apps.

And Web apps are attractive to developers, who can write one version of their program and have it work on every device.

“Everything in Boot to Gecko is optimized for the browser,” Todd Simpson, Mozilla’s innovation chief, said.

“Boot to Gecko is the first truly open Web platform,” he said.

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