Some news on the Firefox OS - launching in South America First

From a reddit IAmA

fwiw, I have a b2g handset, and am pleasantly surprised at how well it works even today.

There are a few things to keep in mind.

  1. FirefoxOS is going to be launching in South America first, where data plans for mobile phones are crazy expensive, and wi-fi hotspots are not ubiquitous. iPhones are a non-starter for the Brazilian middle class, and many android phones are in the same boat. FirefoxOS is aiming to run on lower spec hardware and include data usage controls which can warn you and cut off bandwidth if you don't want to go over a certain cap (and avoid the expensive bill).

The emerging market in South America is a really interesting niche to try and focus on. If Mozilla tried to make a premium smartphone OS that went head-to-head with iPhones in the USA, they would fall far short.

  1. Gecko (the browser engine) and Gaia (the UI) are architected well enough that over the air system updates should be painless. It won't be every 6 weeks with Firefox desktop app, but it also won't be handset version lock-in or once-per-year updates from the OEMs. Being able to keep the latest UI on an older phone is going to be a nice win.
  2. The web is the platform. The web isn't going anywhere. FirefoxOS is well on its way to having the largest developer ecosystem for mobile apps, and it hasn't even released yet. Making an 'official' OpenWebApp is stupid simple, and standard websites work just as seamlessly. There are new Javascript APIs for all the things webapps couldn't do in the past which includes p2p voice and video streaming, camera access, gps, gpu acceleration, etc. OpenWebApps truly act like native apps. It is awesome. Because:
  3. At some point, you will be able to 'log in' to your Firefox profile and have Firefox Sync will give you all the apps you have installed/purchased, from any computer you sit down at, alongside your bookmarks and the like. Think Steam, but built on open web standards.

There is also an FM radio player, written in javascript. It is pretty sweet. :)