Twitter has repurposed its mobile web app for Firefox OS
Twitter took the time to announce that it was building a "native" Firefox OS client. Mozilla had already announced that a Twitter client would be available, but Twitter took the time to explain that it was an official client and listed some of its features."Similar to our other mobile apps, Twitter for Firefox OS has a rich interface, featuring the Home, Connect, Discover and Me tabs, as well as the search and compose Tweet icons, so you can easily find and send Tweets from anywhere in the app," Twitter explained.
Calling the app "native" is a bit misleading. It's native in that it is built for Firefox OS specifically, but much of the app is repurposed from mobile website.
You'll be hard pressed to spot any difference between the Firefox OS app and the Twitter mobile site for smartphones.
That's not necessarily a bad thing, the Twitter mobile website is more than capable and Twitter is adding a few Firefox OS specific features under the hood, such as integrating with the operating system and the other apps via "web activities," the equivalent of Android intents.
"We've also implemented support for a feature unique to Firefox OS: Web Activities. This lets you tweet photos directly out of any app that also supports web activities such as the built-in photos app," Twitter added.
Mozilla hasn't missed a beat so farMozilla's Firefox OS doesn't have great odds at succeeding. If Microsoft with all its billions can't make a dent into Google's and Apple's duopoly, a non-profit organization best known for making a browser certainly shouldn't stand a chance.
But Mozilla seems to know what it's doing, it announced a relatively long list of partners for Firefox OS, both hardware makers and operators. That's one big piece of the puzzle, but an even bigger one is app support.
Without apps, Firefox OS can't go head to head with Android or iOS and without scale, developers won't spend time on the platform, the catch 22 of building a mobile OS.
Granted, Mozilla isn't positioning Firefox OS directly against Android or iOS, not at first anyway, since it's aiming at the low end market, competing with a few underpowered Android smartphones at most.
The majority of Firefox OS buyers will be first-time smartphone buyers, so apps won't be as important to them.
Still, the fact that Mozilla has been able to ramp up interest in the developer world, even if it's only because relying on web technologies for the apps creates a very low entry barrier, can only be a good thing.