Mozilla's Boot2Gecko OS has now morphed into Firefox OS as the project continues to mature. Mozilla announced several new partners for the project, both prominent carriers and phone makers, the Chinese ZTE and the company behind Alcatel phones.
There aren't that many new details
, Firefox OS is expected to surface in Brazil in early 2013 and in several other places later in the year.
As expected, Firefox devices will be targeting the low-end, so expect these phones to be quite cheap but also quite underpowered. That's not a problem if the OS is optimized for the low-end hardware, but the web isn't.
So, even if the bundled apps will work flawlessly, the same can't be said for the mobile web at large. An even bigger problem is that the mobile web is now almost exclusively optimized for WebKit-based browsers, i.e. Safari or the Android browser and the newer Chrome for Android.
Still, it is interesting to see a pure web approach to mobile apps and even an operating system. Firefox OS is more like Chrome OS than Android in that it is a browser on top of a Linux kernel and various libraries.
What is interesting about Facebook OS though is all the work Mozilla has put into creating standard APIs for web apps to access fundamental functions of the device, i.e. the camera, the gyroscope, local storage and so on.
Mozilla is pushing to make these APIs a W3C standard, meaning that other mobile browser and OS makers may adopt them. This is very big news as developers will be able to build an app using web technologies and even running on the web which will be able to compete with native mobile apps.
It all depends on how successful Mozilla is at standardizing the APIs and getting browser makers to play along. But even if its Web APIs are a success, there's no guarantee that Firefox OS will be the same, in fact the OS is facing some very tough odds.