Mozilla targets mobile with Android-based OS

Taking a leaf out of Google’s Chrome-book, software developer Mozilla has unveiled plans for a web-based operating system of its own that will be targeted at mobile and portable devices.

Boot to Gecko (B2G) is designed to be a “complete, standalone operating system for the open web,” and will be based on the lowest level elements of the Android platform – the kernel and device drivers. However, the dev team will use as little of the actual Android code base as possible and the finished platform will not run Android compatible apps.

The team will then build prototype APIs for exposing device and OS capabilities to content, including telephony, SMS, camera, USB, Bluetooth and NFC, with a focus on basic platform integration and access to hardware, so web apps can access the device’s capabilities in a standardised fashion.

“Mozilla believes that the web can displace proprietary, single-vendor stacks for application development.  To make open web technologies a better basis for future applications on mobile and desktop alike, we need to keep pushing the envelope of the web to include — and in places exceed — the capabilities of the competing stacks in question,” the developers wrote.

The team referenced recent work done on the development of HTML5, which goes towards making it a superset of PDF, and added: “We want to take a bigger step now, and find the gaps that keep web developers from being able to build apps that are — in every way — the equals of native apps built for the iPhone, Android, and WP7.”

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