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Jan 23, 2013

Firefox OS is Nearing Reality

Firefox LogoDoes the world need another mobile operating system? With iOS and Android, one might thing not. But developing native applications for both those platforms requires some pretty specific knowledge of their programming languages (Objective C and Java respectively) and APIs. But with Firefox OS, all you need to know is standard HTML, CSS and JavaScript programming to make a "native" app. And, Firefox OS is open source all the way.

In February, the first Firefox OS phones will be available for developers to start testing with. From the reviews I have read, the Mozilla Foundation is not targeting the high end, but more inexpensive hardware and markets with these devices. It will be interesting to see what kind of traction the OS will get.

As an aside, I am still amazed at just how sucky most native applications are compared to their web alternatives. Case in point, why should I way 1 minute for the Wall Street Journal to download content into its native app, when I can read the same content instantly on the Web? I have found the same to be true for just about any native app produced for a web site. The best case for native apps are games. Beyond that and a few desktop replacements like Mail, Pages, or Keynote, there isn't much that would work just as well as a web application.

Will open win out? Android certainly seems to be catching up with iOS very quickly. In the end, we could see a repeat of the Apple - Microsoft battle of the 1980s. Can't wait to see how it works out.

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