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Firefox OS – New Pictures Emerge

Peter Judge has been involved with tech B2B publishing in the UK for many years, working at Ziff-Davis, ZDNet, IDG and Reed. His main interests are networking security, mobility and cloud

The Mozilla phone platform is changing – while TechWeekEurope readers give it a thumbs up

When we published a set of screenshots of Firefox OS, Mozilla’s in-development mobile operating system, the open source giant quickly told us the images were not representative of what the final version would actually look like.

We now have a new batch of images, and there are some very obvious changes. Firfox OS is due to arrive later this year, initially on phones from Telefonica in Brazil – and TechWeekeurope saw a prototype in London this month. Mozilla has  promised an operating system that will be more open than Apple’s iOS or Google’s Android.

The home screen seems to have moved from icons to square tiles, which gives it a little of the look of Windows Phone – something which we saw hints of in the previous batch of images, particularly in the call-handling screens.

FirefoxOS_HomeThe ringing and camera screens look “simplified”, as do the screens for the message list and contacts. It is possible that these images may be from a version intended for low-end devices which might not display the sort of fine typeface we saw in the first batch – but we would hesitate to draw any sort of conclusion from that.

The images include a “Do Not Track” screen, which might have been released to underline Mozilla’s long-standing support for the privacy feature it runs in Firefox, which has since been adopted by other browser makers.

Finally, there is a cute “peel” happening in the last image, suggesting that Mozilla may use some funky animation  when switching between screens. It’s only a concept still, but it’s nteresting to see some raw HTML5 revealed by the peeling screen.

Getting developers onto Firefox OS

Mozilla Europe head Tristan Nitot told us recently that the OS should attract many developers, owing to the ease of working with HTML5 and Mozilla’s promises that the OS will run faster than comparable systems.

He also promised that Firefox OS would be more open than Android. Google has sometimes delayed the release of source code for recent versions of its OS.

TechWeekEurope readers seem ready to give Mozilla credit here, according to a poll on our site.

Nearly half (about 44 percent) of the 1000 people who have voted in our poll so far, say they are already developing apps for Firefox – in effect – because they already use HTML5.

Almost a third (31 percent) say they will develop for Firefox OS if it starts to attract enough users, while  around a quarter rejected the idea, either saying there are too many mobile operating systems already (16 percent) or doubting Mozilla’s promise that it will be very easy to develop for (9 percent).

For those keen to get stuck in right away can , Mozilla has put up a developer build of Boot 2 Gecko – the project morphing into Firefox OS – which can be downloaded.

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