Mozilla Releases Firefox OS 2.0 With NFC Support

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Firefox OS 2.0 is made available to developers using the ‘Flame’ reference smartphone

Mozilla has made Firefox OS 2.0, the latest version of its mobile operating system, available to the Flame ‘reference’ smartphone as an over-the-air update, bringing a raft of improvements including support for Near Field Communication (NFC).

The non-profit organisation says that more than 400 developers contributed 5,300 patches in the 24 weeks between the release of Firefox OS 1.3 and 2.0 and 157 of those were first-time contributors.

The NFC support was contributed by developers from both Mozilla and Deutsche Telekom, while other major updates include H264 hardware encoding and decoding support allowing developers who have made Web Real Time Communications (WebRTC) apps for Firefox or Chrome to repackage them as Firefox OS apps.

Firefox OS 2.0

Firefox-OS-Flame-Reference-Device-smallDevelopers will also benefit from a new Developer HUD, which visualises measurements like performance, memory and usage of applications.

Additionally, Firefox OS 2.0 enables a ‘Find my device’ feature, allows users to create custom ringtones using their own music and offers  visual refresh of the email, calendar and clock apps alongside a simplified home screen.

The first Firefox OS devices were launched in 2013, with the 4.5-inch Flame device revealed at Mobile World Congress (MWC) earlier this year. Users can check for updates manually through the settings app, although they may have already received a notification alerting them to the upgrade. It is unclear when Firefox OS 2.0 will be made available to other devices.

Firefox OS, which aims to offer an open, affordable alternative to the likes of Android and iOS, is available in 25 markets and it is expected that the first devices will be released in Africa after Mozilla secured three carrier partners on the continent, where Android and Nokia 40 phones are popular.

“We are proud to see that with Airtel, MTN South Africa and Tigo, Firefox OS gains additional support to soon extend the Firefox OS footstep into Africa”, says Rick Fant, Mozilla’s vice president of planning and ecosystem. “The continued growth of Firefox OS holds great promise for enabling millions more people to access the mobile Web at an affordable cost, while helping to remove control points in today’s closed mobile ecosystems.”

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